Video of the Day: The North London Derby – Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal, 1980/81

by | Mar 4, 2016

The most important North London derby ever? Try telling that to anybody who as at White Hart Lane in 1971 or at Wembley Stadium for either of Spurs and Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final meetings there in the early 1990s. Tottenham Hotspur at Arsenal at White Hart Lane tomorrow lunchtime in a match that may go some way towards deciding the whereabouts of this year’s Premier League trophy, and after their results during the week, there will be nerves all round as the teams take to the pitch. Leicester City found themselves to be the biggest the beneficiaries of Spurs and Arsenal’s underwhelming results during the week, and if these two London clubs want to assert themselves as title contenders during the closing weeks of the season, a good time to start would be in the attritional atmosphere of this match.

Now, it would be easy to skew such articles as this in favour of or against one of the clubs playing tomorrow, but unbias is our middle name on 200% – publicly, at least – so here’s both North London derbies from the 1980/81 season, when Spurs and Arsenal canceled each other out in the league. Two years after promotion back to the First Division after a year away, Spurs had been spending money again, and this summer the club’s spending was on attacking players, bringing in Garth Crooks from Stoke City and Steve Archibald from Aberdeen. They traveled to Highbury at the end of August 1980 at the top of the First Division table after three matches.

By the time the two teams met again in January 1981, however, Spurs had slipped in the league, and when the return of these two fixtures was played at White Hart Lane Arsenal had risen to fourth place in the table, whilst Spurs had slipped to ninth. Arsenal would go on to end the season in third place in the table, behind Aston Villa and Ipswich Town, whilst Spurs finished in tenth place, though they did have the consolation of winning the FA Cup, beating Manchester City after a replay at Wembley.

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