The north London derby
The north London derby may not be the fiercest in English football, nor the most historic. Yet one thing’s for sure: few other tussles between local rivals have produced as many entertaining matches as Arsenal vs Tottenham.
We’ve done our best to pick out the 10 most memorable meetings between the two capital clubs, starting with a one-sided mauling in 1983…
10. Tottenham 5-0 Arsenal, 1983
If there's nothing worse than suffering a heavy loss at the hands of your rivals, then there's nothing better than the subsequent revenge.
In 1978, an Arsenal team led by Alan Sunderland and Liam Brady hammered five past Spurs, but Tottenham were an entirely different proposition five years later. Chris Hughton opened the scoring at White Hart Lane and Alan Brazil netted his first for the club as Keith Burkinshaw’s charges powered to a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes.
Two superb strikes from Mark Falco added the icing to the cake – and the margin of victory could easily have been more.
9. Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal, 2004
In a campaign which saw Arsenal at their most imperious, Spurs would have relished being the only team to beat Arsene Wenger's side. But when the Invincibles visited White Hart Lane in April, they only needed a point to secure the Premiership crown.
They got it, but only just. Arsenal went 1-0 up after three minutes through a typically fluid counter-attack, before goalscorer Patrick Vieira turned provider for Robert Pires's clipped finish. But a goal from Jamie Redknapp kick-started a spirited Spurs fightback and a late Robbie Keane penalty levelled the scores.
Nevertheless, Spurs supporters were still forced to watch on in envy as Vieira & Co. celebrated the perfect end to a magnificent season.
8. Tottenham 5-1 Arsenal, 2008
Tottenham stormed into the League Cup final with a sparkling semi-final second leg, to the considerable anger of Arsenal fans (and players, judging by the arguments between William Gallas, Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner).
Jermaine Jenas's low drive in the third minute eroded memories of the late Gunners goal from the first leg and paved the way for his team-mates to run riot. Bendtner then powered a header into his own goal and Robbie Keane neatly finished Aaron Lennon's lobbed pass, before returning the favour to assist the winger's bottom-corner drive. Despite Adebayor's consolation, Steed Malbranque's late fifth reinstated the four-goal cushion.
7. Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal, 1971
Thirty-three years before a Thierry Henry-inspired Arsenal side won the title at the Lane, Ray Kennedy's goal gave the Gunners an equally enjoyable title-clincher on their adversaries’ patch.
Battling with Leeds at the top of the table, Bertie Mee’s men needed a win or a goalless draw to claim their first championship crown in almost two decades – so you can imagine the tension as a nail-biting Monday night game reached the 88th minute still goalless.
But just in the nick of time, Kennedy nodded home a winner after Pat Jennings had denied John Radford. Five days later, the Gunners beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final to become only the fourth club in history to do the Double.
6. Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham, 1995
This was a wonderfully open end-of-season game featuring brilliant displays from shot-stoppers Ian Walker and David Seaman, although neither was able to keep a clean sheet as both Jurgen Klinsmann and Ian Wright found the net.
The result may have been disappointing for a Spurs side who, a month previously, seemed destined to reach the FA Cup final, while Arsenal (despite the goals of free-scoring Wright) were struggling in the league under caretaker Stewart Houston.
But the match was a typically exciting derby with end-to-end action, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn narrowly avoiding red cards and, unsurprisingly, trouble on the terraces.
5. Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal, 1988
Rule No.1 of any derby: never go for a pie while the game is going on as you might miss a goal. If you choose the wrong queue and the wrong derby, you might miss five.
All five strikes came in the space of 12 thrilling first-half minutes in this 1988 encounter, with George Graham's Arsenal matching the expansiveness of Terry Venables' Spurs. Nigel Winterburn opened the scoring, but Chris Waddle responded quickly for Spurs, who were then left shell-shocked when Brian Marwood and Alan Smith made it 3-1 to the visitors.
Paul Gascoigne threatened to spark a comeback when he halved the deficit, but Arsenal tightened up and hung on for a narrow victory.
4. Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, 2004
This nine-goal thriller holds the record for being the highest-scoring north London derby. Spurs controlled the opening period with Noureddine Naybet's close-range volley breaking the deadlock and Jens Lehmann forced into numerous good stops, but a Thierry Henry effort in first-half stoppage time inspired a much-improved Arsenal showing after the break.
A Lauren spot-kick put the Gunners in front just before the hour, and though Jermain Defoe and Ledley King responded to goals from Vieira and Freddie Ljungberg respectively, Pires’ clever finish restored the Gunners’ two-goal advantage.
The shambolic defending continued, however, and the visitors allowed Freddie Kanoute to provide a nail-biting last few minutes for nerve-shattered Gooners.
3. Tottenham 1-2 Arsenal, 1987
The League Cup semi-final third leg. Eh? Well, Spurs had won 1-0 at Highbury and were ahead in the home leg when, according to legend, an announcement aired giving home fans details about tickets for the final.
Two quick Arsenal goals brought the sides level, extra time couldn't separate them, and with penalty shootouts yet to be introduced in domestic competitions, a coin toss decreed a play-off at White Hart Lane.
Again, Tottenham went a goal up; again, Arsenal came back late on. With eight minutes left on the clock, Ian Allinson produced a fine near-post finish to level the scores. Then Allinson's blast from the left found its way to David Rocastle, whose effort sent the Gunners to the final.
2. Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 2008
David Bentley set the tone with an early volley as stunning for its outrageous opportunism as its execution. Spotting Manuel Almunia marginally off his line, the ex-Arsenal winger hammered the ball home from just outside the centre circle.
The goal paved the way for an incredible 90 minutes of entertaining exchanges and giggle-inducing goalkeeping. Heurelho Gomes' aerial eccentricities confused his defenders and delighted the Arsenal team, who twice headed in from set-pieces. Almunia was as guilty for Spurs' second, patting out a simple rebound chance for Darren Bent.
But it was the final moments of the game that defied belief. With Arsenal 4-2 up, Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon struck late on to earn Spurs a scarcely believable point.
1. Tottenham 3-1 Arsenal, 1991
An FA Cup semi-final venue for the first time, Wembley provided a fitting setting for one of the most unforgettable derbies – a match that will forever be remembered as Paul Gascoigne’s game. The mercurial Spurs midfielder underwent a hernia operation a month earlier that had only allowed him 60 minutes of football before the clash, but he came back with a bang.
With only five minutes gone, the inspirational Geordie powered a 30-yard free kick into David Seaman's top corner. Poacher Gary Lineker then netted a brace and Spurs were through to a final in which they would beat Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest, despite Gascoigne being stretchered off with a career-threatening knee injury.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.