What is the English Premier League’s “Classic” matchup?

Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

In Spain they have El Clásico (Barcelona vs Real Madrid), in Germany, they have Der Klassiker (Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund), in France, they have Le Classique (PSG vs Marseille), in Argentina, there is the Superclásico (Boca Juniors vs River Plate). But what about the Premier League?

Well, it seems to be constantly changing. At the moment it is Manchester City vs Liverpool. However, it was not always like this…

What was the traditional Premier League classic?

The traditional rivalry of Manchester United vs Liverpool, as we have seen this season with an aggregate scoreline of 9-0 across both Premier League matches, has lost its competitiveness.

The start of the Premier League era saw a fierce rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal. This rivalry had it all with Roy Keane vs Patrick Viera and Sir Alex Ferguson taking on Arsene Wenger. A more fierce fixture than today’s City vs Liverpool which has mutual respect among players and managers.

Then the arrival of Chelsea as a title contender at the start of the Roman Abramovich era with the likes of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry led by Jose Mourinho saw their matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal all become the biggest fixture of the season.

Manchester City came onto the scene like Chelsea with immense spending power and particularly during the 2011/10 season with Mario Balotelli scoring in the 6-1 win at Old Trafford, which saw the team from the City of Manchester Stadium evolve into more than just “noisy neighbours”.

Chelsea vs Spurs in the late 2010s saw some memorable encounters including Mauricio Pochetino’s side winning 5-3 in 2015 and the 2-2 draw where Antonio Conte’s side gave Leicester the title in 2016.

At present time the Premier League Classic would be…

Currently “The Classic” would be Manchester City vs Liverpool. However, the fluidity of the football pyramid in England makes it so that any team could make it to the top and their respective fixture against their biggest rivals become the biggest game in England. Something that was nearly taken away with the Super League plan of last year.

Cynically now we think that one needs a takeover from a multi-billionaire to make it to the top. With the recent takeover of Newcastle United, it is looking likely they will follow in Chelsea and City’s path up the division.

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We will note down the fixture of Newcastle vs Liverpool or Manchester City as being the biggest game in England in the late 2020s.