London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and one that boasts a myriad of iconic attractions, though few will be as passionate as the sight of a good old fashioned football derby. Considering the sheer size of the English capital, they rear their heads around almost every corner, though the one contested north of the River Thames is amongst the most anticipated in the English football calendar.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have been battling it out for bragging rights since 1913, when the Gunners moved to Highbury from Woolwich and took a more fiery turn when Spurs were voted out of the First Division at their arch rivals expense.
While, over the years, it’s Arsenal who have exerted their dominance in the league and have finished above Tottenham every year since 1995 (infamously celebrated as St. Totteringham’s Day) there is little doubt Spurs are closing the gap. Under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino, they are emerging as one of the most vibrant sides on the continent, making this fixture even more mouth-watering.
As if there wasn’t enough reason to pay the Big Smoke a visit, games such as this – usually played at the highest quality – only add to the culture it spreads around England. Visit Britain are looking to find the biggest Super Football Fan in the world, and to be honest, there will be a fair few to choose from in London.
While weighing up whether or not you’ve got what it takes, here’s a look at some examples in what makes the NLD such compulsive viewing.
While the game itself was a close affair, Tottenham suffered the ultimate humiliation of seeing their bitter rivals win the Premier League title on their soil. Robbie Keane may have managed to spare a loss, though the attacking fluidity of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires saw the Gunners tear through Spurs with ease at times.
Though Arsene Wenger is a man under pressure right now, the memories stemming from this most famous of title wins surely won’t be soon forgotten.
Arsenal’s next visit to the Lane didn’t yield a league title, though it did provide fans and neutrals alike with one of the most entertaining north London derbies of all time. Indicative of the pulsating nature of this fixture, the two rivals played out a stunning nine-goal thriller.
Nine different goal scorers got their names on the scoresheet on a cold night in Enfield, with Robert Pires once again invoking the ire of the Tottenham faithful by adding to his impressive derby day record for the Gunners.
A tad older this one, but not one Spurs fans are likely to forget. The FA Cup semi-final of 1991 saw both clubs make the short trip north to Wembley to contest the first fixture of this kind between the two, an afternoon that saw Paul Gascoigne establish himself as a legend in he eyes of the Lilywhites.
He hit a wonderful free-kick that, coupled with two goals from Gary Lineker, helped Tottenham into the final of a competition they later won.
Around six years after Spurs had to watch their bitter rivals win the Premier League at the Lane, they got their redemption when they all but end Arsenal’s chances of winning it in 2010 with a famous win. Debutant Danny Rose announced himself to the world stage with an earth-shattering 30-yard screamer within the opening 10 minutes before Gareth Bale extended their lead.
Their first derby win on home soil in this competition, it went a long way in help the club finish in the top four that season.
After a miserable start to the campaign, Tottenham rather remarkably found themselves in the bottom three, prompting them to change manager when Harry Redknapp came in for Juande Ramos. Well, old ‘Arry was handed the unenviable task of a derby in his first game, though it produced a thrilling comeback.
With Arsenal leading 4-2 in the closing stages, late goals from Aaron Lennon and Jermain Jenas helped Tottenham rescue a point as the Redknapp era began in style.
So think you have what it takes to be their Super Fan? Click on the link below to find the details.