Arsenal vs Tottenham: North London's Fierce Derby & the Premier League's Most Entertaining

The North London Derby is Number 50 in 90min's 50 Biggest Derbies in the World Series

As far as rivalries go, there aren't many around more iconic than the North London Derby - a fixture that is undoubtedly one of the most fiercely competed in world football. 

Arsenal versus Tottenham - the tale of two arch enemies who have gone toe to toe in a series of scintillating matches down the years.

And here at 90min, we are going to take you through everything you need to know about the classic contest between these two competitors.

So, sit back, relax, and set aside your unending dislike for the opposing side (if you're an Arsenal or Spurs supporter!) as we delve deep into the archives to begin our analysis of one of the most spectacular rivalries the sport has seen.

Alan Smith of Arsenal and Gary Mabbutt of Tottenham Hotspur

Now, you have to go back all the way to the beginning of the 20th century to pinpoint the origins of this fixture. And, here’s a surprising fact for you – when the sides first met in 1887, it wasn’t even a real derby - it was Royal Arsenal of south London against ​Tottenham, and the clubs were oblivious to the rivalry that would soon arise.

The match-up developed into a proper derby after the Gunners made the move to north London in 1913. Highbury was to be their new home, and this laid the geographical foundations for the the classic north London rivalry - Spurs’ White Hart Lane was located just four miles down the road.

So, the two teams became next-door neighbours, and living side by side in such close proximity  initiated an inevitable rivalry, but no one foresaw then that ​Arsenal versus Tottenham would be one of football’s most anticipated derbies more than 100 years later.

It was in 1919 that the competition between the two was well and truly ignited, after north London’s new boys Arsenal were voted into the First Division at the expense of the league’s regulars Tottenham Hotspur. A bitter pill for the Lilywhites to swallow, that’s for sure.

Since that moment, history speaks for itself. One need only glance over the record books to see the scope of this bitterly contested fixture. There have been an extraordinary number of  spectacular clashes between the two north London rivals, and the minimum of two clashes per season and competitiveness of the squads has only intensified the animosity between the clubs, fans and players alike.

Moussa Sissoko,Sokratis Papastathopoulos

For both sets of supporters, pride is a crucial part of their identities. What allows football fans to feel proud of their beloved clubs? Success. And, you can be sure that Arsenal and Spurs fans alike will feel an extra injection of pride after a north London derby victory.

Yes, it’s because the team you adore with all your heart have won an important football fixture. But in doing so, it’s at the expense of your arch-rivals. The pure elation that stems from knowing that your club hold the bragging rights is beyond compare. Your team are the better side, and no one can tell you otherwise.

But let's get back to Arsenal versus Tottenham. There have been a remarkable 186 games played out between the two sides, so who's officially the better team when it comes to getting one over the other? 

Since the first competitive fixture was played in the Football League in 1909, the Gunners have been victorious on 77 occasions compared to Spurs' 58 wins. The sides have shared the spoils 51 times. As the statistics suggest, this is a closely competed contest that is most definitely not for the feint-hearted. 

And if you look further than the stats, you might be able to make out just how high the stakes are when Arsenal meet Spurs - neither club can bare to face the consequences of losing one of the most important annual fixtures in the competitive calendar. 

You can be sure to observe plenty of tasty challenges, a couple of square-ups, and if you're lucky, a mass brawl between the players. It's got everything - guaranteed goals, a considerable quantity of cards, and both sides fighting to succeed with the stakes so high. 

And now we've taken a look at the meaning of the derby from its very origins, what better way to proceed then to cast our eyes over the most classic of classic contests between Arsenal and Tottenham, and pick our undisputed greatest combined XI. Strap in folks, it's going to be quite the north London adventure.

Source : 90min