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Rivalry Watch: All the latest on the teams we love to hate

Keeping tabs on the rest of the league, so you don’t have to

Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Editor’s note — a hearty welcome to Jonathan Liebling, the newest contributor at Cartilage Free Captain. Jonathan is a Spurs fan who has written for a number of SB Nation sites including Brace the Hammer, Hudson River Blue, and AC Milan Offside.

West Ham United

It’s a bit of a funny rivalry, isn’t it? I mean, the West Ham fan contingent will skip their sister’s wedding just to be up for the London derby. Lately though, it’s not reciprocal. I have a few West Ham fan friends who will text me weeks in advance, already clamoring and revving up for the big showdown. I usually respond with old Carlos Tevez clips or remind them that Geoff Hurst is dead, you know, the usual bantz. But if I’m being completely honest, I’m already looking towards the Chelsea/United/Arsenal/Liverpool/Crystal Palace match the following week. I just don’t seem to care as much about West Ham, as West Ham does about me.

Until today.

Signing Jack Wilshere has been classic Twitter fodder. It’s like the sequel to breaking hit film Andy Carroll, only it’s AC2: The Wilshere Files. People can’t get enough of it, and I have to admit, I’m enjoying the thousands of injured Jack memes.

Yet, it did catch my attention. I started to wonder what else has this cheeky Manuel Pellegrini has been up to? Ryan Fredricks from Fulham? Not a bad start. Breaking the bank for the young and talented Issa Diop? Very interesting. About to sign Felipe Anderson from Lazio for €40m? Oh sh—t. Add Jack Wilshere into the mix and we have a very different West Ham side.

The Hammers might have earned back my attention.


Largely nothing to report here outside of the surprising amount of “English football fans against England”. Our friends over at The Short Fuse have joined the social media induced anti-Spurs frenzy, stating they are finding it rather difficult to support an English team harboring so many Tottenham players. Personally, I get it. I can’t imagine rooting for an Arsenal player in the English starting XI. No, not in some existential crisis kind of way. I mean I can’t imagine it because they are bad. All of them. Even you, Danny Welbeck... even you.


While exiled owner Roman Abramovich was phoning Napoli head man Aurelio De Laurentiis to speed up the Sarri transfer talks - Antonio Rüdiger did this:

chicka chicka Slim Shady

Looks like you copied Tiémoué Bakayoko’s style. Here’s to hoping you also copy his stellar season of last year.


We all know how impactful Kieran Trippier and Harry Maguire have been so far this World Cup, but how about that Jordan Henderson?

Rory isn’t wrong. Liverpool fans have been a tad impatient when it comes to Henderson but even Spurs fan need to admit he’s been great. Sure, the real test will come against Croatia’s terrifying midfield, even if Modric and company will be gassed 38 minutes into the match. Thanks, Russia.

Also we may have a leaked third kit? Not loving it. Looks like the 8th desktop background choice for Windows 95.

Manchester City

City have emptied the coffers (lol) for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. While nothing has been officially announced on the team’s site, Mahrez hasn’t yet joined Leicester on their preseason tour in France. Why not, right? It’s only €60 million.

It seems the core of City’s plastic loyal fanbase and many considered “in the know” expect the announcement shortly.

Manchester United

For our American contingent, it looks like we lost a good one to the devils in the north. Will Vint of Real Colorado will be playing alongside Phill Neville’s son Harvey for Manchester United’s U18 squad. The 16 year old will need to convince Academy boss Nicky Butt (who names these people?) if he intends to stay. Just another American talent who needed to leave the country to develop.

Romelu Lukaku is still in the race for World Cup golden boot with four, two behind living legend Harry Kane. Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe are trailing right behind with three to their names. So naturally tomorrow I’ll be rooting for a 1-0 France win, with a winner scored by everyone’s favorite young perm, Benjamin Pavard. Sorry Jan, Toby, Moose and (forever in our hearts) Nacer – but I love me some Hugo Lloris.