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Arsenal vs Spurs: looking back at past north London derbies in the FA Cup

Arsenal's Tony Adams (top) celebrates with team mates Andy Linighan (r) and David Hillier (l) Arsenal's Tony Adams (top) celebrates with team mates Andy Linighan (r) and David Hillier (l)

Ben Kosky
Thursday, January 2, 2014
7:45 AM

Highbury: January 8, 1949 (3rd round)

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Paul Gascoigne celebrates his first goal as Vinny Samways gives chase.Paul Gascoigne celebrates his first goal as Vinny Samways gives chase.

Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0

Tottenham’s lengthy spell in Division Two – coupled with six years of war – made this the first meeting between the north London neighbours in any competition since 1935.

Managed by ex-Arsenal winger Joe Hulme, Spurs were clear underdogs against their rivals, who were current league champions but had failed to win an FA Cup tie since the resumption of football after the war.

However, the Gunners soon set that record straight as Ian McPherson and Don Roper put them 2-0 up and centre-forward Doug Lishman added a third goal to seal a place in the fourth round, where they lost to Derby.

Both teams went on to finish fifth in their respective divisions that season, with Tottenham returning to the top flight a year later.

White Hart Lane: January 2, 1982 (3rd round)

Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0

Former Spurs goalkeeper Pat Jennings, now wearing the Arsenal jersey, described it as the “worst goal” he had ever let in after his blunder decided this derby clash.

Garth Crooks was the beneficiary as his apparently innocuous shot crept under the body of Jennings to ensure that Tottenham began their defence of the FA Cup by knocking out their bitter rivals.

Spurs, managed by Keith Burkinshaw, went on to win the trophy for the second year running, beating QPR 1-0 in a replay at Wembley to make up for the disappointment of their League Cup final defeat by Liverpool.

Burkinshaw’s side also finished fourth in Division One, edging Arsenal into fifth place on goal difference – not that it mattered a great deal in those days!

Wembley Stadium: April 14, 1991 (Semi-final)

Tottenham 3 Arsenal 1

The FA broke with tradition by allowing Wembley to stage a semi-final for the first time – and it was Arsenal, riding high at the top of the league, who went into the match as favourites.

But they were stunned after just five minutes when Tottenham’s star man Paul Gascoigne unleashed a sensational 30-yard free-kick past the flailing David Seaman and into the top corner.

Spurs went 2-0 up 15 minutes later through Gary Lineker, although Alan Smith headed home to restore Arsenal hopes on the stroke of half-time.

However, Lineker’s second of the game ensured that Tottenham would return to Wembley, where they beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 to collect the trophy. Arsenal, meanwhile, won their second league title in three years.

Wembley Stadium: April 4, 1993 (Semi-final)

Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0

Just two years later, the north London neighbours were back at Wembley to contest a place in the final again, but this time the match proved to be a fairly forgettable affair.

The only goal arrived 11 minutes from time, when Arsenal captain Tony Adams rose to head in Paul Merson’s free-kick, securing his side’s revenge for their 1991 defeat.

It was to be the first of four Wembley outings for the Gunners in just over six weeks as they overcame Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in the League Cup final and then fought out two turgid meetings with the Owls to decide the destiny of the FA Cup.

Andy Linighan’s header in the last minute of extra time finally clinched the trophy for Arsenal, who finished 10th in the inaugural Premier League – two places behind Spurs.

Old Trafford: April 8, 2001 (Semi-final)

Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1

With the old Wembley Stadium now a pile of rubble, Arsenal and Spurs supporters were forced to head up the motorway to Manchester for their third semi-final clash in a decade.

Tottenham – who, as Chas and Dave have frequently reminded us, have a pretty impressive FA Cup record ‘when the year ends in 1’ – drew first blood as Gary Doherty gave them a 14th-minute advantage.

But the Gunners soon hit their stride, with Patrick Vieira equalising just after the half-hour mark, and Robert Pires struck the winner 15 minutes from time.

Arsenal went on to dominate the final against Liverpool, but lost it 2-1, as well as finishing runners-up to Manchester United in the league, while Spurs ended the season in 12th.

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