Most competitive English derby is...Wigan Athletic-Bolton...official!

Wigan Athletic vs Bolton Wanderers is the most competitive derby in English football history, according to a new study.
Nick Powell scores an overhead beauty against the old enemy in December, 2013Nick Powell scores an overhead beauty against the old enemy in December, 2013
Nick Powell scores an overhead beauty against the old enemy in December, 2013

The research from Paddy Power looked at every professional fixture against the local rival for each of the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs, finding nothing can separate Wigan and Bolton, as well as Wycombe and Oxford.

Latics and Wanderers are both tied on 17 wins each, while their higher proportion of games drawn makes the match-up even closer than Wycombe and Oxford’s clashes (11 wins each).

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The closest historical rivalry to feature a current Premier League side is the Tyne-Wear Derby, which Sunderland edge with a 0.6% higher win rate than Newcastle.

Crystal Palace vs Brighton is the most closely fought tie where both sides are currently in the top flight (2.9% in favour of Brighton).

Other derbies where the bragging rights have been shared historically include the Steel City Derby and the East Anglian Derby.

By contrast, Accrington Stanley vs Morecambe is the least competitive of all local clashes, with Accrington winning 61% of ties and the Shrimps claiming victory on just 13% of occasions.

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The rivalry between AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons has also been relatively one-sided in favour of the Dons, with the sides only recently reaching the same division (18% vs 64%).

Chelsea vs Fulham is the biggest dud fixture to feature Premier League sides (57% vs 13%).

Looking to other major Premier League clashes, the North London derby is the closest contest (41% vs 33% in favour of Arsenal), while the Merseyside Derby is least competitive (42% vs 29% in favour of.

Historically, the Manchester Derby also hasn’t been much trouble for United – winning 41% of ties, compared to City’s 30%.

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Spokesman Paddy Power said: “Derbies may be about the bragging rights between fans on opposite sides of the local divide, but some supporters also just like to brag about how fierce their local rivalry actually is. A bit like when kids argue over whose dad is the hardest.

“But if you’re a fan of Accrington Stanley or Morecambe, there’s not much of a competitive element to get excited about for those ties. They must be about as entertaining as watching a José Mourinho team trying to see out a game for 90 minutes.”

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