Revisiting classic North London derbies at Highbury and the Emirates Stadium

The North London derby has seen some astonishing matches over the years, but which were the best that Arsenal hosted?

Revisiting classic North London derbies at Highbury and the Emirates Stadium
Theo Walcott reminds Tottenham fans of the scoreline after being taken off injured (Photo credit: Getty Images / Clive Rose)

With another North London derby arriving this weekend, you can just sense its' presence by browsing social media alone. It's the time in which brothers become distant, friends become enemies and co-workers become rivals.

The pressure is shifted Arsenal's end this time round, as the fixture is being held at Emirates Stadium. With that being the case, why not take a look back at some previous encounters in Arsenal's ground(s)?

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur (2008)

This one was played at Arsenal's current ground, the Emirates, and it was one which they looked to be winning before the heartbreaking last minute equaliser. 

Rewinding back nine years to the clash, it was a player that both sides were familiar with that opened the scoring. David Bentley, the Englishman who spent 5 years with Arsenal, came back to haunt them with an astonishing strike.

In true North London fashion, the lead didn't last long. Just before half time, the new Arsenal signing Mikael Silvestre headed home just before the first half ended.

It was the second half that really ignited this fixture, with William Gallas heading home Arsenal's second and the game's third. David Bentley wasn't the only player who has played for both clubs to score, and William Gallas wouldn't be the last.

Who else but Emmanuel Adebayor was on hand to tap-in the third goal for Arsenal. The Gunners, who held a two-goal cushion, lost it when Darren Bent was introduced to the game, and Tottenham received a lifeline.

It was a landmark game for Robin van Persie, who on 49 goals for Arsenal waited for the right time to score his fiftieth, rifling a shot past Heurelho Gomes to surely secure the win for Arsenal. However, it was not to be.

Jermaine Jenas would soon curl a beautiful shot into the corner, which would have Arsenal fans on the edge of their seats with minutes left to play

With only stoppage time to go, Luka Modric shied at goal but it hit the woodwork. Unfortunately for Arsenal, the ball kindly fell to Aaron Lennon who took two points away from Arsenal.

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Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur (2012)

Another game which saw a team recover from a two-goal deficit, but this one is a little more joyful for the red half of North London.

An early, deflected goal from Louis Saha saw the visitors go ahead. Remember the name mentioned earlier, Adebayor? Well, he was back at the Emirates Stadium but this time dressed in Lilywhite, to score against his old club from the penalty spot.

However, a header from Bacary Sagna restored the faith in Arsenal's hearts, and it wasn't long before van Persie got on the score-sheet once more to bring Arsenal level before the half.

The pain continued for the visitors in the second half, after Tomas Rosicky scored at the near-post to complete a trademark Arsenal move.

Theo Walcott wouldn't settle for not having his imprint on the game, as he added two more to inflict an afternoon of misery on Spurs to ensure the three points stayed in Islington.

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Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur (1996)

This game is quite symbolic for a number of reasons, with the main one being that it was Arsene Wenger's first ever North London derby.

Ian Wright took it upon himself to take the spotlight off his manager, as he netted his 160th Arsenal goal after Clive Wilson brought down Dennis Bergkamp in the box.

The goal from Wright was soon cancelled out by Andy Sinton's goal, following a horrendous mistake by John Lukic. This set the tone for the rest of the game, up until the dying minutes which saw late drama.

Perhaps inevitably, Mr. Arsenal, otherwise known as Tony Adams, scored a late goal to steer the game in another direction. 

It wasn't the end of the drama though, as Bergkamp scored in characteristic fashion with a cool touch, and an even cooler finish. The game finished Arsenal 3-1 Spurs, and the points remained at Highbury.