Tottenham vs Arsenal: Six of the best recent North London derbies

Thursday’s derby between Tottenham and Arsenal is one of the biggest in recent memory, with the prize of Champions League qualification on the line for these fierce local rivals.


The Gunners make the short trip across North London with a four-point advantage, but Antonio Conte’s Spurs can take heart from a strong performance away to Liverpool at the weekend.


Arsenal have won the last two derbies but both of those victories came at home, with Mikel Arteta’s men 3-1 victors at the Emirates Stadium in the reverse fixture back in September.


Drama is guaranteed on Thursday night – but will it match these fantastic North London derbies?


Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal, April 2004


Arsenal could effectively clinch a return to the Champions League at the home of their great rivals on Thursday, but even that would not come close to the incredible events of April 2004.


Patrick Vieira put Arsenal in front after just three minutes, finishing off a classic Gunners counter-attack, with Robert Pires then on the mark to make it 2-0 and get the party started.


Spurs almost ruined Arsenal’s day, though, with Jamie Redknapp starting the comeback and Robbie Keane converting a penalty to claim a draw.


It was not enough to stop Arsenal – who went unbeaten to become The Invincibles that season – clinching the title on Spurs soil for what was one of the great days in the club’s proud history.


Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, November 2004


A nine-goal thriller saw defending league champions Arsenal come out on top away to Spurs just six months after their celebrations at White Hart Lane at the end of the previous season.


Bizarrely, considering what was to come, it took 37 minutes for the deadlock to be broken. The hosts took the lead through a Noureddine Naybet volley but Thierry Henry hit back just before half-time to make it 1-1.


After the break, Arsenal took the lead thanks to Lauren’s penalty and Vieira made it 3-1 on the hour only for Jermain Defoe to halve the deficit for Spurs.


Freddie Ljungberg hit the fourth for Arsenal but they needed a Pires goal to make sure of the points after a reply from Ledley King, with Freddie Kanoute then completing the scoring.


Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, October 2008


One of the most dramatic matches in Premier League history saw Spurs snatch a point at the death in a breathless encounter, in which David Bentley scored a superb opening goal.


Arsenal hit back via a Mikael Silvestre header and early in the second half they took the lead, William Gallas making it 2-1, before Emmanuel Adebayor scored to seemingly seal the win. Spurs would not go away, though, reducing the deficit to one thanks to Darren Bent’s goal only for Arsenal to move clear again through a powerful finish from their talisman Robin van Persie.


Cue one of the great late comebacks: Jermaine Jenas equalised in the 89th minute and it was chaos in the away end when Aaron Lennon polished off a rebound in added time to make it 4-4.


Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham, November 2010


Spurs produced an even better comeback two years later, winning at Arsenal for the first time in 17 years to stop their rivals climbing to the top of the Premier League table.


Goals from Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh had Arsenal 2-0 up at half-time and on track to move above Chelsea in the table, but Spurs had other ideas.


The fightback was started by Gareth Bale and Spurs had a slice of luck when Cesc Fabregas illegally blocked a Rafael van der Vaart free-kick, allowing the Dutchman to level from the spot.


There was still time for a winner, however, with Van der Vaart’s free-kick met by Younes Kaboul who sent his header past Lukasz Fabianski in the Gunners goal to spark wild celebrations.


Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal, April 2011


It was goals galore again when the two teams met later that season at White Hart Lane, with Van de Vaart again influential as Spurs dealt a blow to Arsenal’s fast fading title hopes.


Theo Walcott’s early strike had the Gunners in front but Van de Vaart ensured the lead was short-lived initially, only for Nasri and Van Persie to both score and put Arsenal in control.


Tom Huddlestone netted for Spurs just before the break to make it 3-2, though, with Van de Vaart levelling it up from the penalty spot after Wojciech Szczesny fouled substitute Lennon.


The draw boosted Spurs’ Champions League ambitions but they ended that season in fifth, six points behind Arsenal in fourth. Conte’s side will have to win on Thursday to avoid this season’s story having a similar ending.

Author: Lucas Carlson