Revisionism | A Rivalry Made in the Manor


The North London Derby will take centre stage this weekend, and it may just be the most important derby ever yet. The stakes are different this time. This fixture no longer carries the simple connotations of bragging rights. The weight of this ceremonious fixture has shifted from the times where Arsenal used to systematically beat Tottenham.

Recently, this fixture has been an uncomfortable date circled on the football calendar for Arsenal. As Arsenal fans shift uncomfortably in their seats, Tottenham lick their lips salaciously being on the favourable end of their recent matchups.

So as the two teams meet on Saturday, for 90 minutes the whole of North London will come to a feverish standstill. The signs are bad viewing for Arsenal going into another top six clash after losing 3-1 to Manchester City. Spurs also lost their last top six clash to Manchester United 1-0, but to hell with the signs. Form becomes poppycock in a North London Derby where anything can happen.

Let's revisit some of the top clashes between the two teams at the Emirates:

5. Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham, 2015


As far as the previous North London derbies compare, this fixture wasn't as frantic as others, but it did offer a foreboding of how the two sides compare today.

Mauricio Pochetino's arrival at Tottenham in 2014 coincided with Tottenham's closing of the gap between them and their rivals Arsenal. The Argentine previously plagued Wenger's side when he was manager at Southampton, and now was back to do so again with a better crop of players.

In a game that Spurs largely dominated, it was Kieren Gibbs who spared Arsenal's blushes. Harry Kane opened up the proceedings during the first half, inciting chants from the away end of "He's one of our own".

Spurs stifled Arsenal's usual grip of possession by hounding them with overwhelming presses, but their one moment in lapse allowed Mesut Özil to thread a cross to the back post, where Gibbs lay waiting to equalise.

4. Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham, 2012


Arsenal emphatically swept aside claims from Tottenham that they were ready to challenge the supremacy of their north London rivals with a convincing victory at the Emirates.

Robin van Persie reacted quicker than Ledley King to meet Bacary Sagna's cross in the 42nd minute, but Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes should have done much better than fumble the ball over the line.

And worse was to follow for the visitors straight from the kick-off when Wilson Palacios gifted possession to Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas who seems to be at the forefront of most North London Derbies during his time at Arsenal was one again involved in the festivities.

The Spaniard provided us with his own adaption of Diego Maradonna, as he ran through the heart of a static Spurs defence to score past Gomes.

3. Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham, 2010

In this game, Arsenal had held a comfortable 2-0 lead on their rivals, but, as they so often have in recent years, the Gunners collapsed, handing Spurs three points, as well as their first win at the Emirates.

Gareth Bale began the comeback with a goal shortly after the break, as the Arsenal wheels of control started to break off.

Cesc Fabregas, who is no stranger to a derby game, was once gain involved when he inexplicably threw his arm up to block Rafael van der Vaart's free kick in the penalty area.

Spur's winner came from a set piece, a familiar sword that Arsenal tend to fall on. Younes Kaboul headed home the winner, and so began talks of a power shifts, and what colour North London truly was.

2. Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham, Feb 2012


Speaking of power shifts, Arsenal roundly quashed any notion that Tottenham were finally removing the shackles of their oppressors when they arrived at the Emirates in the season of 2011/12.

Down 2-0 early on, the entire stadium pointed their bloodthirsty pitchforks at Arsene Wenger's head, as it looked to a painfully historic North London derby fixture for Arsenal fans.

However, what would happen next would give birth to a new face of 'banter', as Arsenal scored five unanswered goals to emphatically drive their unwelcome visitors back to White Hart Lane, as well as their premature power shift talks and 'Minding the Gap' placards.

Nine months later, lightning would strike twice as the Gunners will inflict the same result on their North London foes.

1. Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 2008

In one of the most memorable match of all North London derbies, Tottenham held Arsenal to an eight-goal draw at the Emirates. This was another example of how form is a poor barometer for measuring the outcome of a derby game. At the time this game was played Tottenham languished in the relegation zone.

Before this game, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas added fuel to the already blazoned rivalry by suggesting that the Arsenal women's team would give the Tottenham side a good run for their money.

The standout moment of this game - and trust me, there were many - was ex-Arsenal man David Bentley's 40-yard volley over Manuel Almunia.

Aaron Lennon's equaliser just before the final whistle, was a frantic ending to Harry Redknapp's first game in charge as Spurs boss. How's that for your first North London Derby?

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