Tottenham 5-0 Arsenal, 1983
If there’s nowt worse than a heavy defeat at the hands of your rivals, then there’s nothing better than sweet revenge – as Tottenham discovered in April ’83.
In Christmas 1978, an Arsenal side inspired by Alan Sunderland and Liam Brady had hammered five past Spurs. But by 1983, Tottenham were a different beast; here, Chris Hughton opened the scoring and Alan Brazil netted his first goal for the club as Spurs powered to a 3-0 lead in under 20 minutes.
Some hapless defending from the Gunners (and a couple of sumptuous Mark Falco volleys) helped Tottenham romp to a victory that produced five goals without reply – and the margin of victory could easily have been more.
Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal, 2004
In a season where Arsenal were at their most imperious, Spurs would have relished being the only team to beat Arsene Wenger’s side. But when the Invincibles visited White Hart Lane in April, Arsenal only needed a draw to secure the Premiership crown on their rivals’ stomping ground – just as they had in 1971.
They got it, but only just. Arsenal went 1-0 up within just three minutes through a typically fluid counter-attack goal, then got a second before half-time when goalscorer Patrick Vieira turned provider for Robert Pires’s clipped finish.
But a goal from Jamie Redknapp kick-started a spirited Spurs fightback, and a late Robbie Keane penalty levelled the scores. The injury-time winner that White Hart Lane craved wasn’t forthcoming, and the Tottenham faithful were forced to scurry home or look on in envy as Vieira & Co. celebrated the perfect end to a magnificent season.
Tottenham 5-1 Arsenal, 2008
A sparkling Tottenham performance earned them a place in the League Cup final, to the considerable anger of Arsenal fans (and players, judging by the quarrelling between William Gallas, Emanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner).
Jermaine Jenas’s low drive on three minutes quickly eroded memories of the Gunners’ late goal from the first leg – and the 21 previous unsuccessful attempts at beating Arsene Wenger’s men – and paved the way for his team-mates to run riot.
Bendtner powered a header into his own goal and Keane neatly finished Aaron Lennon’s lobbed pass, before returning the favour to assist the winger’s bottom-corner drive. Adebayor netted a consolation for Arsenal, but Steed Malbranque’s late fifth reinstated the four-goal cushion.
Spurs went on to win the cup under some bloke called Juande Ramos. Whatever happened to him?
Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal, 1971
Thirty-three years before a Thierry Henry-propelled Gunners outfit won the league title at White Hart Lane, Ray Kennedy’s goal gave Arsenal an equally enjoyable title-clincher in their rivals’ back yard.
Battling with Leeds at the top of the table, Arsenal needed a win or goalless draw to claim their first league title in 18 years – but a score draw would have sent the title to Yorkshire on goal average.
So you can imagine the tension as a nail-biting Monday night game reached the 88th minute still goalless. And then came the moment: John Radford’s shot forced a fine stop from Pat Jennings, but George Armstrong chipped the rebound back across the goal and Kennedy popped up to head home the late winner.
Five days later, Bertie Mee’s side beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final and became only the fourth club in history to do the Double – matching the 1961 achievement of their great north London rivals.
Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham, 1995
A tale of two strikers. Tottenham’s Jurgen Klinsmann and Arsenal’s Ian Wright were both striving to reach the 30-goal mark; the German had scored 27 times that season, two behind the charismatic Gunners forward who had 29.
The game was terrifically open, with fine performances from keepers Ian Walker and David Seaman, but neither could keep a clean sheet. Both star strikers netted; Wright tucking away a penalty and Klinsmann nodding in a well-directed header. “Is there nothing this man can’t do?!” cried John Motson on Match of the Day.
The result may have actually been disappointing for a Spurs side that a month previously seemed destined to be in the FA Cup final, while Arsenal – despite the goals of free-scoring Wright – were struggling in the league.
But the match was a typically exciting derby featuring end-to-end action, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn both narrowly avoiding red cards and, unsurprisingly, crowd trouble.
The football writers named ‘Klinsi’ their Footballer of the Year that season, which was the last time Tottenham finished above Arsenal in the league until Spurs finally broke the run in 2017.
Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal, 1988
Never go for a pie during a derby: you might miss a goal. If you choose the wrong queue and the wrong derby, you might miss five. All the goals in this game came in the space of 12 thrilling first-half minutes, with George Graham’s Arsenal matching the expansiveness of Terry Venables’ Spurs.
It started with Tony Adams carrying the ball 25 yards surprisingly elegantly, shimmying past a tackle before slipping in Nigel Winterburn to finish smartly with the outside of his boot. Chris Waddle responded quickly for Spurs, but a close-range Brian Marwood strike and far-post Alan Smith header rocked Tottenham.
Enter Spurs new boy Paul Gascoigne, who’d set the tone early on with a couple of dazzling dribbles, and sparked a home revival. He lost his boot in a challenge on the edge of the box, but fired a shoe-shorn effort goalwards. John Lukic parried but was unable to stop Gazza’s alert rebound, tucked away – floppy sock and all – from the angle.
This was the first Tottenham goal for a man who went on to become a football icon, and though Spurs couldn’t claw their way back into the game, it will never be forgotten by the Lane faithful.
Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, 2004
This nine-goal thriller holds the record for being the highest-scoring north London derby. The sort of match designed to offend Martin Keown, it was mocked by Jose Mourinho as a “hockey score”.
Tottenham dominated the first half and Noureddine Naybet’s close-range volley opened the scoring; Jens Lehmann was forced into several good saves too, but Thierry Henry’s strike in first-half injury time inspired a different Arsenal performance in the second period.
A Lauren penalty nudged the Gunners ahead on the hour, and though Jermain Defoe and Ledley King responded to strikes from Patrick Vieira and Freddie Ljungberg respectively, a clever sleight of foot and smart finish from Pires restored Arsenal’s two-goal advantage.
The shambolic defending continued, however, and the Gunners allowed Freddie Kanoute to make for a nail-biting last few minutes.
Tottenham 1-2 Arsenal, 1987
The League Cup semi-final third leg. Eh? But yes: Spurs had won 1-0 at Highbury and were one up in the home leg when, according to legend, home fans were given an announcement regarding ticket details for the final.
Two quick Arsenal goals brought the sides level, extra time couldn’t separate them, and with penalty shootouts yet to be introduced in domestic competitions, a coin-toss decreed a play-off at White Hart Lane.
Again, Tottenham went a goal up; again, Arsenal came back late on, this time after a Charlie Nicholas injury forced a game-turning substitution. On came Ian Allinson, and with eight minutes left he produced a fine spin and near-post finish to level the scores. Then Allinson’s blast from the left found its way to David Rocastle, who slotted the never-say-die Gunners into the final.
They produced another remarkable comeback against Liverpool, overcoming an early Ian Rush goal to win 2-1 – the first time the Merseysiders had lost a game Rush had given them the lead in. As for Allinson? He didn’t even make the squad for the final.
Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 2008
The Premier League might love to describe itself as the best in the world, but few matches have been as memorable as this eight-goal feast.
David Bentley set the tone with an early volley as stunning for its outrageous opportunism as its execution. Spotting Manuel Almunia marginally off his line, Bentley hammered the ball from just outside the centre circle which Arsenal’s furiously-backpedalling Spanish keeper could only paw at in vain.
That goal paved the way for an incredible 90 minutes of entertaining exchanges and giggle-inducing goalkeeping. Heurelho Gomes’s aerial eccentricities confused his defenders and delighted Arsenal, who twice headed in from set-pieces. Almunia was as guilty for Spurs’ second, patting out a simple rebound chance for Darren Bent.
However, it was the final moments of the game that defied belief. With Arsenal 4-2 up, Jermaine Jenas took advantage of Gael Clichy’s slip to curl home what seemed destined to be a consolation. But as the game headed into the 95th minute, Luka Modric attempted to repeat Bentley’s first-half feat, and substitute Lennon prodded home a rebound off the post to leave millions gawping in bewilderment.
Tottenham 3-1 Arsenal, 1991
An FA Cup semi-final venue for the first time, Wembley provided a fitting setting for one of the most unforgettable north London derbies – a match that will forever be remembered as Gazza’s semi-final.
The mercurial Spurs midfielder underwent a hernia operation a month previously which had only allowed him 60 minutes of football before the clash, but he came back with a bang.
With only five minutes gone, the inspirational Geordie powered a 30-yard free-kick into David Seaman’s top corner.
Arch-poacher Gary Lineker netted a brace and Spurs were through to a final in which they would beat Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest, despite Gascoigne being stretchered off with a career-threatening knee injury.
Arsenal went on to win the league, their first since the 1988 Double. But you can imagine which fans crowed louder in north London that summer…