Arsenal fans name their club’s biggest rivals – and their answer will come as a big surprise to Stoke City, Liverpool and Manchester City


Arsenal supporters consider Stoke City to be more fierce a rival that some of their closest and most competitive Premier League opponents, a survery has revealed.

Fans of 18 of the 20 top flight teams were asked to name their club’s biggest rivals for Reach Sport’s League of Love and Hate, with all the answers then added together to complete a top five run-down for each side.

And the Gunners named Stoke as their fourth biggest rivals, ahead of Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham United.

It is no surprise that their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur were named as their most hated opponents by 87% of Arsenal fans who took part in the survey.

Manchester United were joint-second on the list, tied on 62% with Chelsea.

And Stoke were fourth, with 22% of Arsenal supporters naming them on their own top five list, just beating Premier League leaders Liverpool (21%).

Stoke fans enjoyed Arsene Wenger’s visit to the Potteries rather more than the Arsenal manager

Arsenal’s rivalry with Stoke City goes back to way before the days of Tony Pulis and Arsene Wenger.

The Potters lost back-to-back FA Cup semi-finals to the Gunners in the 1970s as the North London side twice proved to be the ultimate cup nemesis.

But the rivalry really heated up after Stoke’s promotion back to the top flight in 2008.

Wenger’s team routinely struggled against a physical Stoke side, and the Frenchman went as far as to call the Potters a rugby team, prompting Pulis to respond: “I’ve got nothing against foreign ­managers. They are very nice people. Apart from Arsene Wenger.”

Things got serious between the two sides in 2010 when Ryan Shawcross’ challenge on young star Aaron Ramsey left the Welshman with a horrific double leg break.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis said of the incident: “I know Shawcross, he has no bad blood in him whatsoever. It is a desperately sad day for football, for Aaron and for Arsenal. I accept that.”

And the following season, as Wenger once again saw his side come unstuck at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke fans all ‘did the Wenger’ by sarcastically waving their arms in frustration to mimic the title-winning French boss.

The only other Premier League side on the survey whose fans named Stoke City amongst their top five biggest rivals was Wolverhampton Wanderers, with the Potters rankled fifth (31%) behind Coventry, Birmingham, Aston Villa and West Brom.





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