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Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: Top 10 most memorable Premier League North London derbies

This weekend, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal will go head-to-head in the 194th North London derby.

The rivalry dates back to 1913, when The Arsenal moved 11 miles north from Woolwich to Highbury Stadium in Islington.

Who will come out on top this Sunday?

10) Danny Rose on debut- 2010

Back in 2010, Tottenham were without a victory in the North London derby for 11 years.

Step forward Danny Rose who, on his Premier League debut, broke the deadlock with this amazing volley.

Gareth Bale doubled Spurs’ lead just after half time, with Nicklas Bendtner unable to spark a comeback late on.

9) Two strikes as quick as lightening- 2009

Earlier that very season, Spurs endured a Halloween horror show at the Emirates.

On the cusp of half time, Arsenal broke the deadlock with Robin van Persie getting on the end of Bacary Sagna’s cross.

What’s remarkable is what happens just after or, to be specific, exactly 52 seconds later.

Immediately from kick off, Wilson Palacios has his pocket picked, Cesc Fàbregas claims the ball, skips around Ledley King and slots the ball past Heurelho Gomes.

Famously, the TV coverage almost missed Fàbregas’ goal, emphasising how quickly it came about.

The Gunners prevailed 3-0 that day, finishing five points clear of their rivals, despite that aforementioned defeat at White Hart Lane six months later.

8) Thierry Henry’s solo goal- 2002

Outside Emirates Stadium, four Arsenal legends have been commemorated by statues, including the club’s all-time record-goalscorer: Thierry Henry.

The Frenchman has been cast in bronze doing a knee slide celebrating, possibly, the greatest goal in North London derby history.

In 2002, the champions are taking on Spurs at Highbury, and the breakthrough is made after just 13 minutes.

Henry picks up the ball mid-way inside his own half, holds off Matthew Etherington, side-steps Stephen Carr and lashes the ball beyond Kasey Keller.

Having run around 60 yards with the ball, Henry then runs even further to celebrate right in front of the away supporters in the Clock End.

The Gunners cruised to a 3-0 victory against ten-men that day, with that goal subsequently immortalised for ever.

7) Rafael van der Vaart competes the comeback- 2011

By the early 2010s, Arsenal’s decline and Tottenham’s rise meant that North London derbies were a much more close affair.

Spurs had qualified for the Champions League for the first time ever in the previous season, and are battling Arsenal for a top four spot once again.

With the race for fourth on, this clash at White Hart Lane in April 2011 was always going to be decisive.

Astonishingly, there were three goals in the first 12 minutes and five in the opening 45, with Arsenal leading 1-0, 3-1 and then 3-2.

With Arsène Wenger’s side seemingly set for a massive victory, Wojciech Szczęsny brings down Aaron Lennon and Spurs are awarded a penalty.

Rafael van der Vaart lashes home from 12 yards, salvaging a point, and keeping his team’s top four hopes alive.

In truth, that game could’ve seen about a dozen goals but, in the end, Arsenal held onto fourth, despite only winning one of their last seven that season.

6) It’s Lucas Torreira… It’s four!- 2018

A modern-day Premier League classic took place at the Emirates on 2 December 2018.

This game produced six goals, two penalties, a red card, an on-pitch scuffle and a comeback victory.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke the deadlock from the spot but, by half time, Tottenham led with Eric Dier and Harry Kane the scorers.

Dier’s celebrations in front of the North Bank sparked a large disagreement between the two teams, with Dier infamously telling substitute Aaron Ramsey to go and sit back down.

Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette were then introduced at the interval, with Unai Emery’s team switching from a 5-2-3 to a 3-4-1-2 to great effect.

Aubameyang’s stunning volley made it 2-2, before Lacazette’s shot deflected in off Dier of all people.

Mere seconds after that go-ahead goal, Lucas Torreira burst through and completed a memorable comeback for the Gunners.

Three months later, these two drew 1-1 at Wembley, with Aubameyang’s stoppage time penalty saved by Hugo Lloris.

This would prove to be decisive as Spurs finished fourth, one point above their rivals.

5) Younès Kaboul completes the comeback- 2010

Tottenham have, to date, only one once in the league at Emirates Stadium, with this actually their only away league victory in the derby since 1993.

Harry Redknapp’s team secured this victory in the most dramatic way possible, going 2-0 down in the first half; Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh on target.

Gareth Bale’s cool finish made it a contest just after the interval, before Rafael van der Vaart penalty got it back to 2-2.

Then, with just two minutes to play, van der Vaart’s free-kick is flicked home by Younès Kaboul, thereby snatching the victory.

Not a bad way to end a 17-year wait for a derby victory on the road.

4) 5-2: the original – 2012

Sticking with the theme of comebacks, Arsenal enjoyed a rather remarkable one of their own the following season in February 2012.

Spurs take the lead at the Emirates after just four minutes, Louis Saha the scorer, before Emmanuel Adebayor doubles their lead from the penalty spot.

The Togolese striker is one of just two players to score in the North London derby for both clubs, with Jimmy Robertson in the 1960s the other.

In this game, the Gunners looked dead and buried, only for Bacary Sagna’s towering header and then Robin van Persie’s spin and curler to make it 2-2 out of nowhere.

Then, in the second half, with the wind in their sails, Tomáš Rosický pokes Arsenal in front, before Theo Walcott scored twice in three minutes to complete the comeback.

What’s most amazing is that when the clubs next met 265 days later, Arsenal won 5-2 again, again coming from behind to do so.

3) Lennon makes it 4-4 – 2008

Back in October 2008, the joint-highest-scoring North London derby ever took place; more on the record-holder shortly.

Four days before the game, Juande Ramos had been sacked as Tottenham manager, with the team bottom of the Premier League and still searching for a first win.

Harry Redknapp had watched from the stands as his new team had enjoyed a much-needed 2-0 victory over Bolton, but his first game at the helm was to be a mid-week North London derby.

Spurs struck first with David Bentley, who Arsenal had sold two years earlier, scoring from all of 40 yards.

Despite this, going into the closing stages, the Gunners led 4-2, following a four minute period in which Emmanuel Adebayor, Darren Bent and Robin van Persie had all scored.

The vast majority of the visiting Tottenham supporters had headed for home, thereby missing a remarkable comeback.

Jermaine Jenas set up this grand-stand finish before, with the last kick of the night, Aaron Lennon smuggled home an equaliser.

This point sparked Spurs into life, eventually finishing eighth, despite accumulating just two points from their first eight matches.

2) Nine-goal thriller- 2004

The only North London derby to produce 9+ goals came at White Hart Lane in November 2004.

This wasn’t even the Gunners’ most famous trip to N17 that year, more on that in a moment, but this was peak Arsenal at their very best.

Seven of the goals came in the second half, the pick of which was scored by Patrick Vieira, the captain charging through midfield.

Thierry Henry, Lauren, Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pirés were all also on target, only for Frédéric Kanouté to set-up a nervy finish for the visitors.

It may be some time until we see another derby with quite this many goals.

1) We won the league at White Hart Lane- 2004

In their history, Arsenal have a habit when it comes to clinching the league at the home of their rivals.

They’ve done this at Stamford Bridge (1933), Anfield (1989), Old Trafford (2004) and White Hart Lane twice.

In 1971, Arsenal secured the title on the final day, with Ray Kennedy the only scorer in a victory at Spurs.

33 years later and Arsène Wenger’s team need just a point, following Chelsea’s defeat at St James’ Park earlier in the day.

Patrick Vieira breaks the deadlock after just three minutes, before Robert Pirés doubles the advantage before half time.

However, Spurs fight back and earn a point, courtesy of Jamie Redknapp’s long-range strike and then Robbie Keane’s penalty.

Henry recalls being bemused at the fact Tottenham fans were wildly celebrating a draw even though ‘we had just secured the title at your ground’.

So, when asked by a Premier League official not to celebrate as it might aggravate the Spurs support, Henry politely declined and the Arsenal players ran over the away section and partied on the pitch.

That season, the Gunners went through the entire campaign unbeaten, with this their 13th and most-recent title.

A victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday could go along way as Mikel Arteta’s team dream of ending that 19-year wait.

Picture of Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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