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Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Rivalry

afc-thfcThe football rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is one fueled by both neighborhood and team pride. Known as the North London derby, this competition is one defined by aggressive, passionate play on the pitch and loyal, loud fans in the stands. The two venues where these teams play, Emirates Stadium for Arsenal plays and White Hart Lane for Tottenham Hotspur, are within miles of one another, making this rivalry even more powerful.

Adding to the geographic closeness, is the fact that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has never finished the season below Spurs in the table, despite Tottenham going into the last month or so of the season with considerable leads over the Gunners and somehow finding ways to let their bitter rivals overtake them at the death.

The first of the north London derbies will take place at the Emirates on Guy Fawkes Night on November 5. Adding to the fireworks of the first meeting is the fact that is comes just days after what is often a crucial matchday 5 in the Champions League. The return fixture will be at White Hart Lane on April 29, 2017.

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Arsenal v Spurs History

The football rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is one fueled by both neighborhood and team pride. Known as the North London derby, this competition is one defined by aggressive, passionate play on the pitch and loyal, loud fans in the stands. The two venues where these teams play, Emirates Stadium for Arsenal plays and White Hart Lane for Tottenham Hotspur, are within miles of one another, making this rivalry even more powerful.

The initial derby between the two football clubs was held on 19 November 1887. It was played on Arsenal’s home pitch, which was in Plumstead in an area known as Royal Arsenal. The match was suspended due to darkness with the Spurs leading 2-1. In 1909 on 4 December, the clubs met for the first time in league play. Arsenal won 1-0.

The rivalry became much more heated when Arsenal moved from Plumstead to Arsenal Stadium, Highbury. This placed the Gunners a mere four miles from Tottenham’s White Hart Lane. The move made Arsenal the Spurs nearest neighbor, which gave their derbies the weight of not only deciding league standings but, also, community stature.

Statistics and Records

These two football clubs have met 160 times with Arsenal leading the derby. The gunners have earned 77 wins and the Spurs 55. There have been 48 draws. In the race for titles and honors, Arsenal leads. They have won 28 titles, including 26 domestic and two European. Tottenham Hotspur have earned 17 titles with 14 being domestic and three European. Arsenal has captured first place in the English Premiere League 13 times, while the Spurs have done so twice. In FA Cups, the Gunners have earned 12 and the Spurs 8. Both teams possess one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, while Tottenham has earned two Europa League titles. Arsenal has never won the Europa League.

Records amongst these two rivals include the biggest winning margin for Arsenal 6-0 while playing at White Hart Lane on 6 March 1935. Twice Tottenham has been the winner by a score of 5–0 (25 December 1911 and 4 April 1983) and once Arsenal has achieved that mark (23 December 1978). Those three matches were played at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal players with the most goals in the derby are Emmanuel Adebayor, Alan Sunderland & Robert Pires with eight each. Billy Minter and Bobby Smith share the honors of having scored the most for the Spurs, with nine. Adebayor, who has played for both clubs, holds the record for most goals in the North London derby, with 10.
Arsenal’s stalwart defender David O’Leary has the most caps in the derby; he’s played in 35. The record-holders for Tottenham are Gary Mabbutt and Steve Perryman who both have 31.

Important Games, Players and Managers

Since 1950, there has been only one season, 1977-1978, when the teams were not in the same division. This has allowed a continuity to develop, as each year, no matter what is at stake in terms of the English Premiere League, there’s the ongoing North London derby to win.

On 25 April 2004, the two football clubs met with Arsenal, unbeaten, looking to secure first-place on the Premier League table. The Gunners needed one point to ensure the top spot in the league. This fixture was a classic up and down and back and forth battle. Within 35 minutes, the Gunners were ahead 2-0 on goals from Patrick Vieira and Robert Pirès. Comfortably in the lead and under control victory looked certain. But in the second half, Jamie Redknapp scored on a long lick. Then in the 90th minute Tottenham’s Robbie Keane converted a penalty. The game ended 2-2, which gave Arsenal the league title.

The fixture on 31 January 2007 was played on Arsenals home pitch. It was the second of a two-leg event. The teams were vying to move onto the 2007 League Cup Final. The first derby, which was played at White Hart Lane, ended in a 2-2 tie. The final was a disappointment for Tottenham, which had given up a two-goal lead in that first leg. In this second leg both teams were tentative on offense and tight on defense. Then at the 77th minute, with the game tied 0-0, Emmanuel Adebayor put the Gunners ahead. At the 85th minute, Mido scored the equalizer. Arsenal went on top for good on a score by Jérémie Aliadière in minute 105. Arsena’s final goal came when Pascal Chimbonda scored on his own club, making the final score 3-1. Arsenal moved onto the final where they lost to Chelsea.

Tottenham managed a big win against their rivals when they met at White Hart Lane on 22 January 2008. Playing the second leg of the League Cup semi-final, the Spurs were looking for their first win against the Gunners since 1999. The first leg had eneded at 1-1. Interesting to note that this was an easy victory for Tottenham as they won 5-1. By the half it was 2-0 and two more were added by Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon in the second half. Emmanuel Adebayor tried to get Arsenal on track by scoring one, but the Spurs scored their fifth and the game’s final goal during injury time. Tottenham won the semi by an aggregate of 6-2 and went on to the finals where they won the 2008 League Cup.

Closely Situated Rivalry

Although this may be considered a neighborhood rivalry, both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have fans across England and into Europe and around the world. The fan base is one of the most diverse in the English Premiere League. This 100-plus year football rivalry is one that offers neighbors bragging rights over their friends, family members, fellow workers, and community members.

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