The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is, without fail, one of the most highly-anticipated games of the Premier League calendar. It almost always produces fireworks – sometimes, in more ways than just one.
Here we take a look back at some of the most entertaining, ferocious and full-blooded North London derbies in Arsenal’s history.
All of our picks fall within the Premier League era. While there were some classic games between Arsenal and Spurs pre-1992, we feel that none of them can hold a candle to these star-studded clashes. Additionally, we feel that Gunners fans will take particular joy in this brief list – none of the games we have chosen feature Arsenal losses!
Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal, 2004
This is a game that both Arsenal and Spurs fans will never forget – for both good and bad reasons. This fixture came during the famous ‘Invincibles’ season, where Arsenal won the league without losing a single game.
This was the game where the Gunners officially clinched the Premier League title – and they did it at White Hart Lane. Perhaps even more embarrassingly for their rivals, it is an achievement that Tottenham cannot boast.
The game itself was a blockbuster. The Gunners went 2-0 up after 35 minutes, thanks to goals from Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires. Arsenal were in cruise control, but Spurs fought back to 2-1 with a strike from Jamie Redknapp.
In the dying embers of the game, Robbie Keane levelled the scores with a last-minute penalty. But it was not enough to prevent their rivals from hoisting the trophy at their own home ground – and the Gunners’ unbeaten record remained intact.
Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 2008
One of the most entertaining games in Premier League history, the 4-4 draw between Arsenal and Tottenham was a joy to behold from a neutral perspective.
David Bentley opened the scoring in the 13th minute, only for his effort to be cancelled out later in the first half by Mikael Silvestre.
In the second half, the already-entertaining game exploded into life. William Gallas opened the half with a goal to put Arsenal in the lead, followed up by Emmanuel Adebayor in the 64th minute. Darren Bent pulled a goal back for Spurs just three minutes later, before Robin Van Persie scored immediately afterwards to make it 4-2.
Spurs weren’t done yet, however. In the 89th minute, Jermaine Jenas made it 4-3, as Aaron Lennon equalised with virtually the last kick of the game to wrap up one of the best games English football has ever seen.
Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, 2004
It would take a seriously epic game to match the previous entry – but in our opinion the 5-4 thrill-ride between Arsenal and Spurs in 2004 exceeds it.
Like the previous game on our list, this game was also 1-1 at half time, thanks to goals from Noureddine Naybet and Thierry Henry. The match reached its crescendo in the second half, as goals began flying in from all directions.
Lauren made it 2-1 in the 55th minute with a penalty, with Vieira giving the Gunners a two-goal lead five minutes later. However, Jermain Defoe struck back instantaneously to make it 3-2.
Freddie Ljungberg restored the Gunners’ two goal advantage, only for Ledley King to find the back of the net on the 73rd minute. Pires seemingly put the game to bed in the 80th minute, but Spurs weren’t done yet.
Frédéric Kanouté scored in the 88th minute to set up a nail-biting end to the encounter – thankfully, the Gunners hung on and took home the three points.