While you’re in London, if you’re a sports fan, you’re going to want to take in a British football (soccer) match, cheering for the home side alongside thousands of screaming fans.
If you don’t already support a particular team, though, know that there are currently 5 teams from London in the Premier League, England’s top level of football: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Fulham and West Ham United.
To help you choose, here’s a little information about each team.
Known as “Gunners,” Arsenal FC plays at the Emirates Stadium in North London, one of the most modern stadiums in England. One of the country’s legendary “Big Four” (along with Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool), they hold the distinction of being the only side to ever go undefeated for an entire Premier League season.
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They also play one of the most attractive styles of football anywhere in England, and so for first-timers to the game, they can be a great choice.
>> Get your Arsenal tickets early – they can often sell out.
In West London, another Big Four side, Chelsea FC plays their home matches at the famous Stamford Bridge. Often referred to as the “Blues,”Chelsea is one of the country’s most exciting teams to watch. With a mix of foreign stars like Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, along with English talent like Frank Lampard and John Terry, they have no shortage of star power.
Other teams’ fans will tell you that Chelsea has only been recently successful in the league, largely due to huge amounts of money spent by their billionaire owner; however, regardless of how they got there, the Blues are one of the best teams in both England and throughout Europe.
>> Like the Emirates, Stamford Bridge can sell out for big matches. Get your Chelsea tickets early
Arsenal’s local rivals in North London, Tottenham (known simply as the “Spurs”) has risen in recent years from the “other” North London team to a real threat to the Big Four. They finished the 2009-10 season only one place behind Arsenal, and beat out big-spending Manchester City to reach the European Champions League for the first time in club history. Spurs have a very talented team, and an always entertaining manager in Harry Redknapp, and are a team on the rise.
>> Get your Tottenham tickets early
Fulham has been an interesting story in London football for the past ten years. Like Chelsea, their closest local rivals, they benefited from a billionaire buying and investing in their team, and have only been in the top flight consistently for the past ten years. But no one could reasonably accuse Fulham of having a lack of history. They are the oldest continuously operating professional club in England, having first been established back in 1879. For American travelers, there is an additional reason to consider Fulham – they have recently been home to several US players, and are currently the home of American World Cup star Clint Dempsey.
>> Get your Fulham tickets early
West Ham United
West Ham, or “the Hammers” are currently the least successful of the London top flight sides, so if you’re looking for an underdog, look no further than Upton Park in East London. They have struggled to stay in the top league for the past few seasons, and several managers have come and gone, but with former Chelsea boss Avram Grant now in charge, they are hoping to find a bit more consistency and get back to former glory years, when they won 3 FA Cups and a European trophy, the Cup-Winners Cup.
>> Get your West Ham tickets early