Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur at The Emirates in what is sure to be a pulsating North London derby this Sunday.
Derbies have a way of either surprising you with how stale they can be, or giving you everything you hoped for with a fiery goal-fest, which is what every neutral will be hoping for.
Will this Sunday’s derby live up to the hype? Where will it stand against the derbies of the past?
We take a look at three of the best derbies in North London history :
3) Arsenal 4 Tottenham 4 – 2008/09
Spurs weren’t the side they are today back when Harry Redknapp took over in 2008. There is still no way that you could have predicted the result of this game, though, which had twists and turns that left everyone wondering what on Earth was going on.
Arsenal reject David Bentley’s incredible opener was cancelled out by Mikael Silvestre before half-time and Arsenal then established a 3-1 lead with further goals from William Gallas and Adebayor. Darren Bent reduced Tottenham’s deficit only for Robin van Persie to almost immediately restore the Gunners’ two-goal advantage. Trailing 4-2 with just one minute remaining, everyone thought that was the end of the contest.
Far from it. Jermaine Jenas scored before Aaron Lennon dramatically equalised in stoppage time, after a deflected Luka Modric volley hit the post and fell directly into Lennon’s path, leaving the Englishman with a tap-in that left Spurs fans everywhere screaming their heads off, and Arsenal fans everywhere utterly shell-shocked.
The video below perfectly encapsulates what both sets of fans were feeling at the time, and regardless of who you support is a good watch :
2) Tottenham 4 Arsenal 5 – 2004/05
One of the most extraordinary games of recent times was played out at White Hart Lane, when Arsenal edged a nine-goal classic in front of infuriated Spurs fans. Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ of the previous season had controversially had their record-breaking run ended by Manchester United a few weeks earlier, but they showed exactly why they had remained unbeaten for 49 games with this performance.
Noureddine Naybet opened the scoring after some shambolic defending from Arsenal, and Thierry Henry then levelled the score in first half stoppage time after bringing down Lauren’s long ball and poking it past the keeper. The scores were 1-1 at half time, and no one could have predicted what was to come in the second half.
The game absolutely exploded, with Lauren scoring a penalty on the 55th minute. Vieira then put Arsenal ahead 5 minutes later, and it was starting to look like the Gunners would run away with it. Defoe then pulled one back, before a Cesc Fabregas – who at the time was 17 years old – assist meant Ljungberg restored the advantage.
Ledley King then scored with a header, Robert Pires made it 5-3, and Kanoute scored to make it 4-5. Arsenal managed to hold on in the end, and edged what will go down as one of the greatest matches between the two clubs.
1) Tottenham 2 Arsenal 2 – 2003/04
This wasn’t a game that provided the thrills that the previous ones mentioned on this list did, but it is one that stands out more. This is the season that Arsenal went unbeaten, and it was made all the sweeter by the fact that they clinched the title at the homes of their hated rivals. Tottenham were at their fiery best, doing everything they could to end the Gunners’ run and delay their title victory, but goals from Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira set Arsenal on their way to completing their greatest season in the club’s history.
There were even some players on Spurs’ side that didn’t know Arsenal had just won the title, as Henry would confirm years later.