Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday 16th March 2014 (KO 16:00) in the 30th match of the 2013-14 Premier League season.
Spurs come into the game in 5th place in the Table on 53 points with Arsenal in 3rd on 59 points. This will be the 254th time the two teams have met.
Spurs v Arsenal is now one of the great rivalries in World Football but the fixture had very different beginings back in November 1887 when the clubs first met in a friendly played on Tottenham Marshes. Arsenal, then called Royal Arsenal, had been formed just a year earlier as Dial Square and were essentially the works team for the munitions factory situated in Woolwich, Kent, while Spurs who had been formed some five years earlier in 1882 still had many of the youngsters who founded the club playing for them. Spurs won that first encounter 2-1, although the game was cut short by 15 minutes, due to poor light conditions because of the Arsenal team getting lost and turning-up late for the start.
Two matches were played within the same week in April 1900 in the Southern District Combination League with Spurs winning 4-2 at White Hart Lane which was followed by a 2-1 win to Arsenal at Plumstead in a game abandoned after 75 minutes due to "bad language". History doesn't provide the answer as to who was the guilty party! From 1901 to 1920, the clubs met in various minor competitions, friendlies and matches played during the First World War.
Tottenham Hotspur joined the Football League in season 1908-09 and won promotion to the First Division on their first attempt. The following season they played Arsenal in December 1909 and lost 0-1 at the Manor Ground in Plumstead, while the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane ended in a 1-1 draw with John Curtis scoring Spurs' first League goal against the Gunners.
The teams met for three more seasons before Arsenal's relegation at the end of the 1912-13 season with Spurs winning three matches, Arsenal winning two and one game drawn.
September 1913 proved to be a hugely important date in the history of both clubs as Arsenal controversially moved from south of the River Thames into the territory reserved for Tottenham Hotspur and Clapton (later Leyton) Orient, in clear violation of the rules and regulations governing such relocations as stipulated by the Football League. Despite bitter protests, Arsenal's move to Highbury (more correctly called Arsenal Stadium) was allowed.
White Hart Lane was requisitioned by the Army during WWI, so Spurs played many of their wartime matches at Highbury.
When League football resumed after the war in 1919, it was decided to once again expand the First Division from 20 teams to 22. The normal way of doing this had always been to add the top two clubs from the Second Division to those who were already in the First Division. However, there were complications arising from allegations of match-fixing from Liverpool and Manchester United during the final matches of the last season played before the League was suspended and it was felt that they would forfit their Top Flight status as a result.
From nowhere, Arsenal, who had finished sixth (later corrected to fifth) in the Second Division before the war were 'elected' to take Tottenham Hotspur's place in the First Division. Allegations of bribery persist to this day and Henry Norris (Arsenal's Chairman) was later given a lifetime ban from football from the Football League for underhand financial activities.
Spurs and Arsenal played their first Football League match after World War One in the First Division in January 1921 with Spurs winning 2-1 at White Hart Lane while Arsenal won the return match at Highbury 3-2. All 150 League games played to date have taken place in the Top Flight of English football.
Highbury was taken over by the Army during the Second World War and Spurs returned the favour by allowing Arsenal to play their wartime matches at White Hart Lane. Arsenal won the first FA Cup meeting between the two teams 3-0 in the 3rd Round in January 1949. The clubs have played five FA Cup matches to date with Spurs winning two and Arsenal winning three.
The first Football League Cup match took place in November 1968 with Arsenal winning the first leg of the Semi-Final 1-0 at Highbury and Spurs drawing 1-1 at White Hart Lane the following month. Of the 12 League Cup matches played so far, Spurs have won 3, Arsenal have won 6 and three games have been drawn.
Both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were founder members of the Premier League in season 1992-93 and both clubs are among the seven (Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea, Manchester United and Aston Villa are the other five) who have been ever-present during the 21 seasons of the competition.
Arsenal went two goals ahead by halftime in the 2010-11 fixture at the Emirates in November through Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh but Spurs came back strongly with goals from Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart (penalty) and Younes Kaboul to secure a 3-2 win.
The match at White Hart Lane in April 2011 was a six goal thriller with honours even. Theo Walcott and Rafael van der Vaart scored goals within the first 10 minutes before Samir Nasri put the Gunners 2-1 up after 12 minutes. Arsenal went further ahead with a Robin van Persie goal on 40 minutes but Tom Huddlestone made it 2-3 by halftime. Van der Vaart scored the only goal in the second half from the penalty spot.
The fixture at White Hart Lane in October 2011 was won by Spurs 2-1 with goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker with Aaron Ramsey scoring for Arsenal. The Gunners won their home match in February 2012 5-2. Louis Saha had put Spurs ahead after 4 minutes and an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty put Tottenham further ahead after 34 minutes. But Arsenal pulled two goals back before half-time through Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie. Tomas Rosicky put Arsenal in front just after the break and the rout was completed with a brace from Theo Walcott.
During the 2012 summer transfer window, Spurs signed former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City after having spent a season on loan.
The match on 17th November at the Emirates resulted in a 5-2 win for Arsenal. Emmanuel Adebayor put Spurs ahead after 10 minutes but was sent-off eight minutes later for a rash tackle on Santi Cazorla. Arsenal then scored three times to make it 3-1 at halftime - Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud grabbing the goals. Santi Cazorla put Arsenal further ahead on the hour mark but Gareth Bale pulled one back for Spurs before Theo Walcott scored the fifth for Arsenal just before the final whistle.
Spurs won the match at the Lane in March 2013 2-1 with Gareth Bale scoring after 37 minutes and Aaron Lennon adding a second two minutes later. Per Mertesacker pulled a goal back for Arsenal six minutes into the second half.
Olivier Giroud scored in the 23rd minute to give Arsenal the points in the September 2013 Premier League game at the Emirates.
Arsenal ran-out 2-0 winners in the FA Cup 3rd Round match played at the Emirates in January 2014 with Santi Cazorla & Tomas Rosicky scoring a goal each.
As far as Football League / Premier League matches go, three player have both scored nine goals for Spurs against Arsenal - Billy Minter and Bobby Smith.
Three Arsenal players have each scored eight goals against Spurs - Robert Pires, Emmanuel Adebayor and Alan Smith.
There have been three hat-tricks scored during North London Derbies - Terry Dyson for Spurs and Ted Drake & Alan Sunderland for Arsenal.
Jimmy Robertson & Emmanuel Adebayor are the only two players to score for both Spurs & Arsenal in a North London Derby.
Arsenal's David O'Leary has played in the most North London Derbies (35) while both Gary Mabbutt & Steve Perryman played 31 games with Spurs.
Overall, Spurs have won 91 of the 253 matches played against Arsenal with the Gunners winning 103 and 59 matches drawn.