It’s that time of year again – the North London derby. Arsenal and Tottenham have had their neighborly – by geography, not in friendliness – matches for nearly 125 years to the day. (The first Arsenal/Tottenham match was a ‘friendly’ on November 19th, 1887 in which the Spurs won 2-1. Via Top Spurs)
Ever since that fateful day over a century ago, the Spurs and Gunners have rarely been on friendly terms. Although both teams have been spectacular in recent decades – Tottenham more so in the 1960s and Arsenal in the 80s and 90s – they always vie for a spot above one another on the league table. Not only is it bragging rights, but some of the swelling pride that either Arsenal or Tottenham fans, and players, will react with after the match equates to their fierce loyalty. If neither team has been playing well, as is such these days – Arsenal, over the past 7 matches, have drawn or lost 5 while winning 2 as Tottenham are coming into this game with 4 wins and 3 losses in the past seven games – will only fan the flame for the rest of the season.
Because of the rivalry between the North London teams (White Hart Lane and the Emirates Stadium are a little over four miles apart), there have only been a handful of players who have played for both teams. In the matchup tomorrow, Spurs forward Emmanuel Adebayor will be the only player who has kitted up for both teams.
Both teams have players hungry to make a difference in this match with Gunners Jack Wilshere back from injury and Theo Walcott to continue his on-form playing as Tottenham’s American forward/midfielder Clint Dempsey should look to get back to his goal-scoring ways (remember last season at Fulham or even his game-winning brace this fall at Old Trafford?) and the midfield trio (that is, if AVB doesn’t deploy a 4-4-2 formation) of Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Aaron Lennon have to run a tight ship.
Regardless of your loyalties as a fun, this will be a fun game.
And as for my sentiments: COYS!