Lehmann reflects on 'exciting' Arsenal-Spurs rivalry

Arsenal versus Tottenham is the premier London derby due to its historical resonance according to ex-Gunner Jens Lehmann.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann believes the historical association between his old club and Tottenham lends a special edge to the north London derby.

The two local rivals meet in the third round of the League Cup at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.

Lehmann never finished on the losing side in eight appearances against Tottenham and has particularly fond memories of their ground, having been part of the Arsenal side that secured the Premier League title there with a 2-2 draw in 2004.

"The game between Arsenal and Tottenham is the most exciting derby in London because the history is quite long," Lehmann told Omnisport.

"It is different now with Chelsea, which came in just 10 years ago when Roman Abramovich took over.

"With Arsenal and Tottenham there is a geographical proximity and there is the rivalry just out of historic clashes which have taken place.

"I remember myself becoming English champion at White Hart Lane and the Spurs supporters didn't really like that! They were always very decisive games between those teams."

Arsenal are playing in the Champions League for the 18th consecutive season, while Tottenham's 2010-11 quarter-final run remains their solitary outing at Europe's top table since 1962.

Nevertheless, Lehmann is optimistic that the near neighbours could soon find themselves trading blows at the highest level.

He added: "I think Tottenham is a great club – it is traditional, historic. But it was always missing the last bit to break into the dominance of the top four clubs.

"They are always trying every year and I would like them to qualify for the Champions League. Why should Manchester City or whoever else always qualify for the Champions League?

"Of course I wish it more to Arsenal [that qualifies] but next year I could see a game between Arsenal and Tottenham in a Champions League semi-final or quarter-final. Why not? It would be great."