Are Arsenal and Chelsea faring well in the unofficial London Championship?

"It was a far bigger deal in my day," says ex-West Ham striker Clyde Best

BY Raf Diallo 19:22 Thursday 2 February 2017, 19:22 2 Feb 2017

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (left) and Chelsea's N'Golo Kante battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture by Adam Davy PA Wire/PA Images

In his recent book The Acid Test, former West Ham striker Clyde Best shared a few anecdotes from a long career in the game during the 1960s and '70s.

One insight with relevance to the London clubs is the importance of an unofficial intra-city competition between teams in the English capital.

In it he writes, he writes about an end of season game between his own West Ham and Arsenal in 1971-72 that on paper was "meaningless" given there was little riding on it. But in those days, victory in any London derby was more than just about pride.

"The game would decide the season's unofficial 'London Championship', which is based upon results of top flight games between clubs in the capital," he explains on a page that also includes a league table of London clubs only in the lead up to the West Ham vs Arsenal game at Highbury.

The table was based on head to head results between the London sides rather than their finishing position in the old English First Division. Aside from West Ham and Arsenal, that season saw Chelsea, Tottenham and Crystal Palace involved as the other London based top flight clubs - the same combination of capital sides in this season's Premier League.

Best continues: "It was a far bigger deal in my day than now and we were disappointed, therefore, to lose by the odd goal in three against the Gunners". 

Arsenal and Chelsea are the two most successful clubs in London when it comes to domestic trophies.

But as they go head to head on Saturday in the Premier League, who's winning this season's London Championship and perhaps, are Tottenham now top of the tree?

Well, here's this season's table so far in games between Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham:

Team

Points

Played

Goal Difference

Arsenal

10

4

+9

Tottenham

10

5

+3

Chelsea

9

5

-2

West Ham

6

5

-2

Crystal Palace

0

5

-8

A few bits from that do catch the eye like Crystal Palace losing all five of their London derbies without  scoring a single goal, while Arsenal's 5-1 thrashing of West Ham was the biggest head to head win.

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