The four memorable north London derbies between Tottenham and Arsenal at White Hart Lane that I’ve selected won’t come high on the list of any Arsenal supporter but will have Spurs’ fans dreaming of a repeat this Sunday afternoon as the teams prepare for what could prove to be the most significant derby for many years.
Memorable North London Derbies at White Hart Lane (from a Tottenham perspective)Last Season:
Sept. 2011 PL (h) Won 2 – 1 Van der Vaart, Walker
Kyle Walker made himself an instant Tottenham hero with his first goal for Spurs to win the north London derby at White Hart Lane. As if that wasn’t enough, the very nature of the strike from thirty yards made it even more special.
Going into this game Spurs were looking for their fourth successive Premier League win while Arsenal were hoping to end an away sequence of seven games without a win in the League, dating back to the previous April. Emmmanuel Adebayor was due to face his former club for the first time in a Tottenham shirt and Spurs were favourites to win a North London derby for the first time in Premier League history.
Rafael Van der Vaart put Spurs ahead five minutes before the interval when he controlled a chipped pass from Adebayor to volley home, his fourth goal for Spurs in three games against Arsenal. He also had the distinction of scoring Tottenham’s 10,000th competitive goal. There were claims that he had used his arm to control the ball but the officials saw nothing wrong and television evidence was inconclusive although the ball may have struck his arm after he controlled it on his chest. It took only six minutes of the second half for Arsenal to draw level. As they built up pressure on the Tottenham defence, a clearance from Younes Kaboul was picked up by Song and he raided down the right and his cross was converted by Aaron Ramsey. With 17 minutes to play, Walker struck with his memorable goal.
Team: Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto; Van der Vaart (Sandro), Parker (Corluka), Modric, Bale; Defoe, Adebayor (Livermore)
Apr. 2010 (PL) (h) Won 2 – 1 Rose, Bale
Spurs were desperate for the points to ensure a fourth place finish in the League and so qualify the Champions League for the first time. The previous weekend they had lost at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final against Portsmouth. Tottenham spirits were low going into the game but Danny Rose, on his debut, put Spurs ahead after ten minutes when he struck a beautiful shot from a corner that had been cleared to him. That lifted the whole team and when Gareth Bale added a second immediately after half-time, White Hart Lane was rocking. Arsenal pulled one goal back but with the aid of some outstanding saves from Heurelho Gomes, Spurs took the three points for the first time in the League since the 1999-2000 season and gained a momentum that took them to fourth and their Champions League place.
It was Tottenham’s first League win against Arsenal in over ten years so Tottenham supporters made the most of the occasion.
Team: Gomes; Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Rose (Bentley), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Pavlyuchenko (Crouch), Defoe (Gudjohnsen)
Nov. 1999 (PL) (h) Won 2 – 1 Iversen, Sherwood
Spurs were victorious over Arsenal who ‘suffered a day of shame as they crashed against arch-rivals Tottenham.’
In an explosive game Spurs were two ahead inside twenty minutes. Steffan Iversen scored after six minutes with Tim Sherwood getting the second. Arsenal pulled one back just before half time but in the second they had Ljungberg and Keown sent off and a total of six players booked as the ‘red mist’ descended over the team.
Spurs had played with passion in a game that was described as ‘brutal and unremittingly ferocious.’ It was a good win for Spurs who displayed a new level of commitment and determination under former Arsenal boss, George Graham.
Team: Walker; Carr, Campbell, Perry, Edinburgh; Leonhardsen (Fox), Clemence, Sherwood, Ginola (Dominguez); Iversen, Armstrong
Apr. 1983 (Div. 1) (h) Won 5 – 0 Hughton (2), Brazil, Falco (2)
A result for all Spurs fans to savour and remember for ever. A result that we all look forward to seeing repeated some day, in the not too distant future. (I hope).
Spurs’ injury problems had persisted throughout the season. To strengthen the squad Alan Brazil was signed from Ipswich for £450,000. He made his debut against Watford and Spurs won 1-0, their first away win since September. Steve Perryman, however, was sent off and the second game of his two match suspension was the north London derby. Going into this Easter Monday game, Spurs were a point ahead of Arsenal but had lost at bottom club, Brighton, the previous Saturday. Spurs were also without the injured Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa and went into the game with 4 strikers – Mark Falco, Steve Archibald, Terry Gibson and Brazil.
The 92nd League game between the clubs was memorable for Spurs, described in ‘The Times’ as ‘not so much a famous victory for Tottenham Hotspur but an embarrassing humilation for Arsenal.’
Spurs were three ahead ahead within 18 minutes. Chris Hughton scored the first and third goals but the second goal after 13 minutes was a stunning volley from Falco. A goal described by Keith Burkinshaw as ‘the best goal I’ve seen in a long time.’ Falco also scored a second and Brazil spurned many opportunities to score his first goal for Spurs but eventually scored after an hour.
Team: Clemence; Hughton, O’Reilly; Roberts, Miller, Gibson, Mabbutt, Archibald, Galvin, Brazil, Falco.
Spurs finished the season in 4th place, 11 points ahead of Arsenal in 10th position – those were the days and 4 strikers, as well.
Other matches worthy of mention are:
- 3 – 3 draw in April, 2011 when Tottenham found themselves 3- 1 down, five minutes before the interval but recovered with a goal from Tom Huddlestone on the stroke of half-time and a Van der Vaart penalty midway through the second period, his second goal of the game.
- 4 – 4 draw in October, 1962 when Spurs were 4 – 2 ahead at half-time with goals from Dave Mackay, John White and Cliff Jones (2). Such was the dominance of Tottenham that they should have had even more goals. After the interval Arsenal drew level and although Spurs continued to dominate the game they failed to add to their tally.
Tottenham supporters will be hoping for another memorable result on Sunday as they continue in their pursuit of a Champions league finish and a place above Arsenal in the Premier League table for the first time since 1994-95 under Gerry Francis.