History of the North London derby as Arsenal and Tottenham set to clash in battle for supremacy & ambition

History of the North London derby as Arsenal and Tottenham set to clash in battle for supremacy & ambition

Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby (NLD) this weekend, looking to renew one of football’s fiercest and oldest rivalries.

The clash promises to be another riveting showdown, so we’ve taken the chance to explore the history of the NLD, along with some of the most cracking games this fixture has produced over the years.

History of the North London derby

The Gunners first faced Tottenham in 1887, and 137 years later, they are about to clash for the 209th time. 

Fans eager to secure their Arsenal tickets for the latest installation of this storied rivalry can grab them from seatsnet.com and witness the drama unfold firsthand.

Despite playing each other in 1887, the rivalry did not kick off until 1913 when Arsenal moved their ground to North London from Woolwich, south of the River Thames.

There was bound to be tension between the clubs after the Gunners encroached on Spurs territory, practically Tottenham’s backyard. 

The rivalry was already brewing, and the English league only managed to fan its flames in 1919. 

Back then, both clubs were struggling. Arsenal were hovering around fifth or sixth place in the second division, while Tottenham were at the rock bottom of the first division, facing relegation to the lower league.

However, that year, the league decided to add more teams. This increase meant there were extra spots up for grabs. 

Chelsea, who finished just above Tottenham at 19th, got lucky and avoided relegation because of the expansion. 

But there was one more spot left, and it wasn’t going to be decided by performance. Instead, all the struggling teams, including Arsenal and Tottenham, had to fight for it in a vote.

Arsenal took the most votes, gaining promotion, while Spurs were relegated. 

The rivalry has been brimming since then, culminating in several heated clashes over the years, even though the Gunners have generally had the upper hand.

Arsenal and Tottenham have played 194 games between themselves since their first game in the Football League in 1909.

The Gunners have won 81 of these ties, while Tottenham have tasted victory 61 times and they have drawn 52 matches. 

If we add games played before the Football League, they sum up to 208 matches, with Arsenal winning 86, Tottenham 67, and 55 drawn.

Top 5 Best NLD games of all Time 

April 2010 (2-1 Tottenham win at White Hart Lane)

There have been some cracking derby matches between these two foes, and one of the most riveting clashes was their meeting in April 2010. 

Tottenham had not tasted victory in the North London derby for 11 years and were desperate for a result.

White Hart Lane erupted with overflowing joy when Dany Rose, making his debut, volleyed in the opener from outside the box before Gareth Bale doubled the lead in the second half.

Nicklas Bendtner pulled one back for Arsenal late on but Spurs stood firm to claim a 2-1 victory.

November 2004 (5-4 Arsenal win at White Hart Lane)

In November 2004, the Premier League witnessed another classic NLD at White Hart Lane, but Arsenal clinched the win this time in one of the most chaotic football matches you’ll ever watch. 

Noureddine Naybet, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Defoe, Freddie Ljungberg, Ledley King, Robert Pires, and Frederic Kanoute all got on the score sheet at the N17 as the game yoyoed between the two teams.

Arsenal were at their dazzling best and overcame the heroic effort from their archrivals, 5-4.

October 2008 (4-4 draw at the Emirates)

Four years later, they played out another fiercely contested clash peppered with goals. Former Arsenal man David Bentley gave Spurs the lead from some distance, but the Gunners responded with three goals.

Arsenal would make it 4-2, but Spurs refused to back down and eventually tied the game at 4-4 in one of their most memorable comebacks. 

April 2011 (3-3 draw at White Hart Lane)

Another famous comeback happened in April 2011, when Spurs overturned a 3-1 deficit to claim a point (3-3) in the crucial top-four race. 

Rafael van der Vaart bagged a lovely brace, with Tom Huddlestone netting a belter, and in truth, this one could have ended 5-5.

February 2012 (5-2 Arsenal win at the Emirates)

Arsenal clinched the EPL title at White Hart Lane in 2004, but even that feeling cannot trump the 5-2 win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium in February 2012.

Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor gave Spurs the lead, and Arsenal looked like they would go down with a whimper.

However, Bacary Sagna gave Arsenal a lifeline with a brilliant header, and they took it. Robin Van Persie, Tomas Rosicky, and Theo Walcott (x2) scored to turn the tie around.

Interestingly, the clubs next met 265 days later, and Arsenal won 5-2 again.

Tottenham vs Arsenal Preview

Tottenham welcome Arsenal on Sunday, looking to bounce back from a morale-sapping 4-0 loss to Newcastle United in their last game. 

At one point, Spurs were in pole position to clinch the coveted fourth Champions League slot but have fallen behind Aston Villa after winning only two of their last five games (W2, L2, D1).

Spurs have two games in hand to close that six-point gap the Villains have opened, but their wretched form does not inspire great hope.

Historically, Spurs haven’t fared well against their North London rivals, with Mikel Arteta’s team winning 60% of their last five encounters (W3, L1, D1).

To make matters worse, Arsenal are also the best away team in the league. They have not lost any of their last five games on the road (W4, D1).

Arsenal are motoring away and ruthlessly demolishing any side in their path. In their last game, they mullered Chelsea 5-0, showing their title credentials. 

The Gunners have lost only once over their past 14 league games (W12, D1, L1) – a defeat to former manager Unai Emery’s Villa.

The pressure is on Tottenham to pull off an upset and reignite their Champions League hopes. 

Opinion on Potential Outcome

All signs point towards a dominant Arsenal victory. The history books have the Gunners as favourites, and recent results make them an overwhelming choice.

The Gunners are desperate to end their 21-year wait for a PL trophy and look more resolute than at this stage last season when they faltered. They are steamrolling to the finish line this term.

Arsenal have scored the most goals in the league and conceded the least. They also boast a comfortable lead on the goal difference log.

Arsenal blew Chelsea away at the Emirates, with Ben White and Kai Havertz bagging doubles against the West Londoners. 

Martin Odegaard has been stellar this season, and the Norwegian playmaker delivered one of his finest showings in red and white against the Blues.

No player has created more chances from open play in a Premier League game this season than Odegaard against Chelsea. He will be the key to unlocking Tottenham’s defence. 

However, Tottenham can’t be discounted – they are a wild card. They might view this as a chance to upset their rivals, just like they did at the Emirates earlier this season. 

In that match, Spurs showed immense resilience by twice coming back from a goal down to secure a draw, a fighting spirit they’ll be eager to replicate this weekend.

This match promises an intriguing clash. Arsenal appear destined for glory, but Tottenham have the potential to throw a wrench in their title aspirations.

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