During the last International break, we all shared some of our favourite Arsenal match day experiences. With the North London Derby this Sunday I thought we could share our memories from this fixture. As usual age of gooners vary, so no right or wrong answers so be nice to each other in the comments…
Here below are my top 10 Derby moments in my life time…
Arsenal 3-0 Spurs – FA Cup- Theo tells Spurs What’s the Score
Sometimes it’s all about the moments. We very often remember a game but it’s just the few iconic moments that stay in our head. This was heading towards another routine Arsenal victory, made all the sweeter as it was Tim Sherwood’s first game as manager. The highlight for Spurs fans seemed to be witnessing Theo Walcott get injured in front of them. This was a lengthy spell on the side-lines, so the winger must have been in pain yet as he was having things thrown at him, he calmly sat up on the stretcher and reminded them what the score was. Theo has often been viewed as one of the nice guys of the game, maybe too nice but this moment was appreciated by all gooners.
Arsenal 3-1 Spurs – Gunner’s Kids Knock Out Spurs First Team
I’m not one to normally boast about winning a League Cup semi-final (unlike Spurs who voted beating our kids as their number one North London Derby moment) but this two-legged tie could not have been more of a humiliation in terms of how big the gap had become. Arsene Wenger had made no secret of his disdain for the competition, playing the youth every round even in the final (maybe he wouldn’t have done if he knew our trophy drought would be so long). Meanwhile this tournament had always been Spurs’ most realistic way of winning silverware. So, they were never going to have a better chance when the team sheets came in. Yet the best their first team could do was chase our fringe players. Even if we hadn’t scored in extra time, we would have advanced on away goals.
Spurs 1-3 Arsenal – Youngsters Come of Age
No exaggeration this was one of our most impressive performances at the Lane coming from one of our youngest squads ever
Henry had left that summer, leaving many to wonder how we would cope with a lack of leaders. Displays like this suggest with a little more experience this squad could have won silverware. Remembered for Fabregas’s and Adebayor long range strikes, the best aspect to look at is how we dominated the ball even when falling behind
Arsenal 3-1 Spurs – ‘It’s Arsenals Day Now’
Arsene Wenger’s first North London Derby. I got to admit there is a part of nostalgia in this pick. As a child it was one of my favourite Dennis Bergkamp goals and a classic piece of Sky Sports commentary. The Dutchmen traps the ball with one touch taking the ball and himself away from the defender before smashing the ball into the net. For anyone else it be their best goal. Martin Tyler and Andy Gray offer a great sound bite. Watch it on YouTube and it will get you in the mood for this Sunday.
Arsenal 3-0 Spurs – ‘That Goal’
Okay I’m more including this because it hosted one of the greatest North London Derby goals. In terms of match quality, the visitor’s attempts were feeble. Yet we can only beat what’s in front of us. Thierry goals/ celebration is iconic, I have a canvas of him sliding in front of Spurs fans in my kitchen. The size of Highbury can be deceiving, the fact is the Frenchman ran the length of the pitch, scored, then kept running to the away end. In an era when to many foreigners kiss the badge for the sake of it, it’s nice to remember a time when someone came from
abroad and fell in love with us.
Spurs 4- 5 Arsenal – 9 Goal Thriller
The good old days when two teams played the game the right way, both trying to win, not turning the beautiful game into a chess match. A week later Jose was mocking us for conceding 4 goals, saying he much rather win a dull fixture 1-0. That’s why he and Man United are a marriage that will never work. As long as you are on the winning side, these are the type of occasions you want to be involved in. Three times we had a two-goal cushion, so this was a Derby that somewhat flattered the home side.
Spurs 1-1 Arsenal – Sol’s Return
Okay it might seem odd for me to include a draw especially given that Poyet equalised in the last few minutes.
I have picked this game though because of its context in the build-up, namely Sol Campbell’s first return to White Hart Lane. Now let’s be honest, no fan base is innocent. Gooners have been guilty of verbally abusing ex-players for what we perceived as a lack of loyalty. On this day though they took it too far, throwing objects at the visiting coach, holding up signs of Judas and jeering every touch their ex captain made. Long term though we benefited. This was the day when Spurs were letting Sol know how they feel. In reality it was the day he lost all respect for them. The irony being that he produced his best performance so far in a fixture where others might have frozen. Having not had a pre-season his first few months with us were ropey but after this game he never looked back.
Arsenal 2-1 Spurs – FA Cup Semi Final
Would have been higher on the list had it not led to the heart break of the Liverpool Final.
This is the only time in my life (old enough to remember anyway) where I experienced a North London Derby for an FA Cup Semi Final.
Because of the fear of losing the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. Even when you won you’re more relieved, they don’t have that over you. I can never enjoy these games. It’s true what they say though form goes out of the window on days like this. This was a poor Spurs side who had just sacked their manager. The hope was the presence of legend Glen Hoddle would inspire his men. It did as they scored first but from that point on, we dominated, Pires’s winner a case of when and not if. Little did we know when he hobbled off, we never would see Sol Campbell in a Spurs shirt again. Let’s just say he moved on to better things.
Arsenal 2-1 Spurs – Lauren’s penalty
In the same season as Sol’s return Spurs represented one of our biggest tests left in the title run in. Our fate was in our own hands in terms of we had games in hand, but we couldn’t afford any slip ups. With us 1-0 Spur’s wet dream came true, they were awarded a late penalty and had a golden chance to dent our Double dream. So, called professionals Tim Sherwood, Teddy Sherringham, etc took a little bit too much pleasure in a score line that meant little for them and only hurt a fellow peer. Then though …. we also got a penalty. The only problem being that Henry had this tradition of not taking the spot kick if he was fouled. Second choice Pires was injured so up stepped Lauren. The Cameroon had never taken a pen as a gunner before but was now asked to do so with minutes to go in a North London Derby with huge Premiership ramifications. If in doubt, just calmly roll it down the middle and write yourself In Arsenal folklore.
Spurs 2-2 Arsenal – we won the League at the Lane
Some of you are old enough to be able to say this was the 2nd time you saw us win the League at Spurs. Tottenham were desperate to be the side to dent out title hopes and prevent us going the season unbeaten. Our Sunday got off to a dream start with the news that Chelsea had dropped points at Newcastle.
That meant a draw would be enough to make us champions, not that it was in our style to do anything else but go for the win. At half time it looked like we were going to rub our rivals’ noses in it, Viera and Pires scoring counter attacking goals we had become famous for. Then we got complacent and yet there was some irony in us throwing away such a lead. There was something beautiful in seeing just how happy the home side were with drawing with us. Reality hit that the gap had grown so big they would celebrate a draw even though that result meant ……we were champions. This led to my favourite moment of the whole Untouchables campaign. Due to security/safety fears, we had been warned about celebrating on the pitch if indeed we won the Premiership that day. Then though, Thierry Henry watched those in white act like they had just won the World Cup, so took it upon himself to start a party at the away end. Further evidence how the French players had brought into the Arsenal ethos. I just wished Sol Campbell joined in. So, thanks to us, Spurs fans can say they saw a League won at their ground. They should be thanking us really!
So what is your favourite memories from the North London Derby?