Arsenal v Tottenham: The Greatest North London Derbies
With the North London derby just around the corner, I decided to look at previous meetings between two of the Premier League's biggest sides and the history they have between themselves. With 168 games played between these two, it is no doubt one of England’s fiercest rivalries. Arsenal boast 70 wins, whilst Tottenham can claim 45. The remaining 53 have been draws. At home, Arsenal have 41 wins out of the 80 played, and will be looking to increase that statistic come Saturday. Arsenal won the last encounter at the Emirates 5-2, with a typically thrilling scoreline which has made this fixture a real exciting contest.
The last five games between these two sides show an even record between the two, with 2 wins each and a draw. With 26 goals between the two, the North London derby promises goals. Although the likes of Robin van Persie, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart are missing form the tie, this sort of fixture gives the opportunity to players such as Giroud, or Dempsey to real kick-start their careers for their respected sides.
Arsenal's recent biggest win over their arch rivals was the 5-2 drubbing they gave Harry Redknapps men last season. The Gunners recovered from two goals to dominate Tottenham in an enthralling North London Derby. For the first time in the Premier League, Tottenham looked like finishing above Arsenal. A massive statement from Redknapp's men. Tottenham were 10 points clear prior to the game, however eventually succumbed to the pressure of Arsenal and finished fourth, along with the amusement of Arsenal fans as they ended up failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Louis Saha and former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor gave Spurs a 2-0 lead 34 minutes in. However, a Bacary Sagna header, a world class strike from Robin van Persie drew Arsenal level. Tomas Rosicky eventually put Arsenal in front before the rout was complete by a quick fire double by Theo Walcott.
Tottenham however have had much success in the tie, although having won less that 25% of the fixtures away they have won 31% overall against Arsenal. There most recent and arguably famous victory would be the 5-1 annihilation in the League Cup, 2008. A pulsating Tottenham performance saw them run riot against Arsenal, and book a place in the Carling Cup Final – now Capital One Cup. Just three minutes in and Tottenham took the lead courtesy of Jermaine Jenas, the 21 time England international saw his driven shot across goal go in off the post. Nicklas Bendnter soon scored an own goal, until Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon soon added to Arsenal's misery. Steed Malbranque finished the rout in the 90th min which booked Tottenham's spot in the final, which they went on to beat Chelsea.
However, arguably the most exciting recent North London Derby must be the 4-4 draw between the two sides on the 29th October 2008. In Harry Redknapps first game in charge of the Tottenham Hotspur, the new gaffer did not let the Spurs faithful down. Aaron Lennons injury-time winner capped a stunning fightback from Harry Redknapp's men against Arsenal. David Bentley's brilliant early striker put Spurs ahead, but Mikael Silvestre headed Arsenal level before half time. Bentley's audacious opener gave Redknapp the perfect start to his first official game in charge, but that early optimism soon disappeared as Arsenal took total control of the North London derby. William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor eventually made it 3-1 to Arsenal, before Bent fought back for Tottenham and made it 3-2. Robin van Persie looked to have settled the tie at 4-2, before Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon scored in the 89th and 90th minute respectively. This sent the Tottenham fans wild, and they knew under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, after the recent turmoil of Juande Ramos, they club were definitly on the up.
Going back a few years now to the '04 season, the 'Invincible Era' as some of you may re-call. Tottenham hosted Arsenal at White Hart Lane and the two sides did not fail to deliver. This was the 135th game between the two sides and Martin Jol's first as Tottenham Hotspur coach. With Arsenal coming out on top as 5-4 victors, this game will be remembered due to the nine goals scored, where by nine different scorers. Arsene Wenger's side got the best of the nine-goal thriller, a game that see-sawed all afternoon. Tottenham took the lead despite Arsenals early domination, but with goals from Henry, Lauren, Vieria, Ljungerg and Robert Pires, the visitors left White Hart Lane temporarily, top of the league. Arsenal took the lead three times throughout the game, and credit to Tottenham as they kept pressing at Arsenal. However, referee Steve Bennett eventually blew the whistle after a late strike from Freddie Kanoute, which saw Arsenal further cement their authority of the number one team in North London.
When Tottenham Hotspur went 1-0 up in the first five minutes against Arsenal in the '91 FA Cup semi final, the Spurs faithful knew there side were on to something. Spurs fans will never forget Paul Gascoigne's spectacular free kick, which opened the scoring after only five minutes. Gazza's proudest moment, leaving David Seaman stunned from all of 35 yards, is still regarded as one of the finest free-kicks ever to grace Wembley. Gary Linekar made it 2-0 inside ten minutes with a typical poachers goal, that scrambled over the line after some confusion in the Gunners box. Arsenal fought back with a headed goal from Alan Smith, but despite having the majority of the ball in the second half, failed to capitalise. Linekar made it 3-1 to Tottenahm after an astonishing solo effort. Practically running straight at the Tottenham goal from the half way line, before unleashing a power shot that sealed a famous victory. Spurs went on the lift the FA Cup that season, preventing Arsenal of a famous double.
With the two sides even in the last five outings, who do you think will come away with three points this weekend? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!
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