Most Arsenal fans know that their club’s most famous results against Tottenham Hotspur have come away from home: the victory in 1971 and the draw in 2004 that secured two league titles (the same number of league titles their north London rivals won at White Hart Lane). However, there have also been some famous home wins for the Gunners over Spurs, especially in the 21st century, which Arsenal fans can draw on for inspiration as they prepare to face their rivals at home again this weekend.
Five Famous Arsenal Home Wins Over Spurs
Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1 (April 6, 2002)
In the 2001/02 season, Arsenal won their last 13 league games in a row to overhaul Manchester United, who, like Manchester City now, were trying to win a historic fourth league title in succession. Towards the end of that run came the home league game against Spurs, and it was arguably the biggest hurdle that the Gunners overcame in their late surge to the title that season.
Freddie Ljungberg, whose brilliant form in that run-in was instrumental in their eventual success (especially as he replaced the injured Robert Pires, who missed the final third of the season), put Arsenal ahead in the first half – seemingly putting them on the road to a routine win as they thundered towards the title. But then Teddy Sheringham scored a penalty in the 81st minute, seemingly halting the Gunners’ winning run. But five minutes later, Lauren scored a penalty himself, resuming Arsenal’s title charge.
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Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0 (November 16, 2002)
Arsenal’s second home league win over their biggest rivals in 2002 was not as momentous as the first – because the Gunners ultimately failed to retain the title after a late-season mini-collapse allowed Manchester United to overhaul them at the death. But in one way, it was even more memorable, as it featured Thierry Henry’s greatest-ever goal for the club.
It is known as the “knee slide” goal because that was how Henry celebrated scoring, a gesture that has been immortalised in his statue outside The Emirates Stadium. The great Frenchman literally ran the length of the pitch, beating several players, before finishing with his trademark goal – a low, curling shot into the left-hand corner of the net. It was the greatest goal ever scored by Arsenal’s greatest ever player, even if it wasn’t rewarded with another league title, it will live forever in the memory of any fan who saw it.
Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1 (2nd leg of League Cup semi-final January 31, 2007: Arsenal win 5-3 on aggregate)
It is not just in the league that Arsenal have secured famous home wins over their north London rivals, as two cup victories also feature in this list. The first was the victory in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final in 2007, which they won 3-1 after extra time to secure a 5-3 win on aggregate. Even if the Gunners ultimately lost the League Cup final to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, they had at least beaten their arch-rivals to reach that final.
In the first leg of the semi-final at White Hart Lane, Arsenal had come back from going 2-0 down early on to draw 2-2, with Julio Baptista, the Brazilian striker who spent just a single season at the club, scoring both goals to atone for scoring an own-goal earlier. In the second leg, all the action came late, with Emmanuel Adebayor finally giving Arsenal what seemed like a decisive lead in the 77th minute – before Egyptian striker Mido scored for Spurs in the 85th minute. Thus, the match and the tie went to extra time, in which Jeremie Aliadiere scored arguably the most important of the few goals that he scored for the Gunners before a Tottenham own-goal (by Pascal Chimbonda) sealed the victory for Arsenal.
Arsenal 5, Tottenham 2 (February 11, 2012)
Remarkably, it would have been possible to select twoArsenal 5-2 home wins over Spurs in 2012 for this list, as the Gunners won by the same score against Tottenham twice within nine months. However, the February win shades the November victory because it eventually proved instrumental in Arsenal overtaking the Lilywhites in the league, allowing them to clinch what was then the third and final Champions League place. That condemned Spurs to the Europa League and led to the controversial replacement of Harry Redknapp as their manager by Andre Villas-Boas.
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Spurs actually led twice in the game, first through a Louis Saha goal and then, after Laurent Koscielny had equalised, through a penalty by Emmanuel Adebayor. However, Robin Van Persie equalised again just before half-time. In the second half, a goal from Tomas Rosicky and two from Theo Walcott eventually gave Arsenal the first of their two 5-2 home triumphs over Tottenham in 2012.
Arsenal 2, Tottenham 0 (January 4, 2014, 3rd round of the FA Cup)
Those two goals by Theo Walcott were not his most famous contribution to Arsenal during his 12 years at the club after signing as a teenager from Southampton in 2006. After Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky had put Arsenal two up after just over an hour, a lead that Spurs never looked like challenging, Walcott caught his studs in the ground just before the end of the match and had to be taken off on a stretcher. As he was carried away, he was pelted with objects by the away fans and responded by raising two fingers to signify the victory and the winning score-line.
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Walcott missed the rest of the season through injury, but that third-round victory set Arsenal on the path to winning the FA Cup that season, ending the nine-year trophy drought that afflicted the middle of Wenger’s reign. Now, nearly a decade on, Arsenal hope to end an even longer drought. This season, it is 20 years since Arsenal’s last league title, which is the longest the Gunners have gone without winning a league title since they won their first in 1931. Another home victory over Spurs would bolster confidence that they at least have a chance of ending that drought this season, even against the currently mighty Manchester City.