As a 29 year old Arsenal fan I am not ashamed to admit that the North London derby has been very kind to me. For over 2 decades I have seen Arsenal dominate Tottenham home and away. With so many fond memories to choose from I have narrowed my favourite North London derbies down to just 4 games. The older generation reading this will soon realise that all of these games have been selected from the Wenger era. I feel it is only fair to include games that I witnessed at the time and the knock on effect these had.
4. Arsenal 5 – Spurs 2 – Mind the gap
Mind the gap, now there is a saying I find funny. Harry Redknapp’s Spurs side looked destined to finish above Arsenal for the first time in nearly 20 years. It was late February and Spurs walked into the Emirates with a healthy 10 point lead. Goals in the first half hour from Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor meant at that point, the points difference would be 13. Surely an unassailable lead for Arsenal to catch.
However a quick response from the head of Bacary Sagna and the left boot of Robin Van Persie ensured that the game was all square at the break. The momentum was now with Arsene Wenger’s men, of which they successfully carried through to the second half. 3 more goals were added by Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott. Tottenham had been blitzed, they were truly shell shocked. The effects of the result were clear on the Spurs player’s faces after the game. Unable to shake off the shock of the defeat, Spurs fell apart and Arsenal eventually reeled Tottenham in.
3. Arsenal 2 – Spurs 1 – Arsenal rule North London in Manchester
The whole of North London ascended on Old Trafford for the third FA cup semi-final between the two clubs in 11 years. The 1991 match up will always be remembered for a Gazza rocket, whilst the 1993 edition was won by a towering header from Tony Adams.
A Gary Doherty strike gave Spurs a shock lead in Manchester, but what followed was one way traffic. Arsenal turned the screw and eventually evened things up through Patrick Vieira. After the break Arsenal piled on more pressure on the Tottenham goal, however it took until the 72ndminute for Pires to grab a winner.
The significance of this game cannot be understated. It was a true indication of how far apart the two clubs were. An indication that did not go unnoticed by Spurs captain Sol Campbell, who then decided to run his contract down and join Arsenal that summer.
2. Arsenal 3 – Spurs 1 – Walking in a Bergkamp wonderland
The reason this has made the list isn’t because it was Arsene Wenger’s first ever NLD. It’s made it because of one particular goal, a goal that made the whole of the Premier League really stand up and notice one man; Dennis Bergkamp.
Arsenal were leading 2-1 with just a couple of minutes left to go. Ian Wright appeared to be playing for the corners, an obvious time wasting tactic. But as we all know Ian Wright didn’t do boring. Instead he beat his man and then lofted a ball to far post, straight to the Dutchman’s left foot. What followed can only be described as pure genius. The most perfect of touches transferred the ball from left to right foot, sending his defender Stephen Carr into a daze. Now all that stood in his way was Ian Walker in the Spurs goal. As expected Bergkamp whipped the ball beyond walkers left glove into the far corner with ease.
It was at this point the Highbury faithful knew they had been graced by a truly special player.
1. Arsenal 2 – Spurs 2 – Champions
Not a win but arguably one of the best moments in the entire history of Arsenal Football Club. After Chelsea dropped points earlier that day to Newcastle, Arsenal knew they had an opportunity to achieve a feat not often afforded to football teams; win the league at your bitter rivals home ground.
After racing out to a 2-0 lead through goals from Pires and Vieira, the Gunners were eventually pegged back by an impressive Jamie Redknapp strike and a later Robbie Keane penalty, but it mattered not. The point was enough to secure the Gunners 13th top flight title, and their second title celebration party at White Hart Lane.