It’s North London Derby week, which means it’s time to call any Arsenal-supporting friends or family, tell them you love them and mutually agree it’s probably best you just don’t speak for a few days.
This has been a pretty horrific fixture for Spurs at times — they went 11 years without a league win between 1999-2010 — but it’s been surprisingly even of late, with each team winning five of the last 15 Premier League meetings.
To commemorate the occasion, we’re taking a look back at some of the best, most consequential NLDs in recent memory. These rankings are obviously extremely subjective and personal, so we’d love to hear your choices in the comments.
5. Harry Kane announces himself to the world
Kane started this season as a promising youngster. He started banging in the goals in the Europa League and worked his way into the starting XI, but some claimed he only scored against bad teams. A beautiful brace to overturn an early Özil goal helped convince some of his detractors that just maybe he was the real deal.
His face as he celebrated the winner is the same face all of us make when we imagine we’ve just done the exact same thing, helping cement his place as “one of our own.”
4. Campbell’s return to “White Hate Lane”
Before Ledley King, there was Sol Campbell. He was the golden child, the one ray of light on a team that was very, very bad. Then he committed the ultimate sin, moving across North London to our bitter rivals for free. His first game back at the Lane is the only time I’ve felt legitimately scared at a football match, the atmosphere was that crazy. I learned lots of new swears that day.
We booed him every time he touched the ball and called him Judas in between for 90 straight minutes. But we were bad at football and they were annoyingly good and looked headed for a 1-0 win, until Gus Poyet popped up with an injury time equalizer. Ultimately it didn’t mean much — we finished 9th and they won the double — but for a fanbase that felt betrayed by the one they loved the most it was a much needed moment of catharsis.
3. Last year when for 14 minutes I thought we were gonna win the league
I know we didn’t actually win this game either... but it was absolutely one of the more emotional moments in my Tottenham fandom. There were still 10 games left in the season and no one really believed Leicester could do it yet; most people thought whoever won this game would probably go on to be champions.
Alderweireld’s equalizer had barely sunk in when Kane scored one of the more spectacular NLD goals I’ve ever seen and I hugged a bunch of strangers and had beer poured on top of me and legitimately thought “yep, Spurs are ACTUALLY going to win the league.” Then Alexis Sanchez/The Battle of the Bridge/third in a two-horse race happened and let’s just not talk about it anymore. Still, it was fun while it lasted.
2. A 5-1 win sends Spurs on their way to Wembley
We hadn’t beaten Arsenal in nine years at this point. We’d lost a heartbreaker in the semis the year before. After a promising 05/06 season, we were back to being pretty bad at football and had conceded a heartbreaking equalizer in the first leg. There was definitely a “here we go again” mentality among lots of Spurs fans... until we beat the absolute living crap out of Arsenal. Jermaine Jenas put in his best performance in a Tottenham shirt that had lots of us (naively) thinking he would go on to be a world beater.
That obviously didn’t happen, but we did go on to beat Chelsea in the final and Ledley got to lift a trophy and my dad called me from Wembley and I cried in front of my roommates for long enough that they still bring it up sometimes.
1. Danny Rose’s Premier League Debut
We still hadn’t beaten Arsenal in the league since everyone’s favorite gilet model scored the winner in 1999. It was a night game, which we very rarely get against Arsenal, and playing under the lights at White Hart Lane is always a bit special. I think this game really marked a change in mentality for Spurs — it wasn’t just about spoiling Arsenal’s fun, we actually had something to play for, goals we wanted to achieve.
And we did achieve them! A kid named Danny Rose scored a screamer on his Premier League debut, Gareth Bale started being Gareth Bale, we went on to beat Chelsea and Man City and qualified for the Champions League for the first time ever. That kickstarted the most successful stretch of football for Spurs in a long, long time.