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One Rivalry to Another: London versus Manchester


On Wednesday night, the North London derby wowed English football fans across the globe. Danny Rose’s wonder-goal opener, along with Gareth Bale’s clincher just after half-time, and Gomes’ world-class saves from shots by the returning Robin van Persie won the game for Tottenham to break a run of 11 years without a win in the league against their North London rivals, Arsenal.

Danny Rose celebrates his opener against Arsenal

It wasn’t just on the pitch where this rivalry really heated up. White Hart Lane simply shook from the noise created by the Tottenham fans chanting their team to a memorable win. After the game, the crowd rang out with “When the Spurs come Marching In,” but it has to be said, though, that most of the Spurs fans’ were quite occupied booing either the returning Sol Campbell, which they are entitled to do, after he joined Arsenal from Tottenham in 2001,  or Arsene Wenger, who they rather slanderously  pointed at and chanted, “Sit down you pedophile.” The mob effect created at a rival game like this one can make even the mild-mannered businessman a wild, screaming hooligan for 90 plus extra time minutes. The amount of police work that had to be done before and after the game suggests this mob effect does take a considerable amount of time to wear off, though.

The policing of the game and of the areas around North London on the night was nothing less than professional, with even helicopters buzzing through the sky in case of any unwanted violent activity. Which, unfortunately, there was quite a lot of.  According to the Islington Gazette, an Arsenal fan was stabbed to death outside the pub he was watching the game in.  While there is no evidence that this is a football-related murder, the fact that the 20-year-old victim was killed just after the game ended outside the pub he was watching it in does leave one to draw certain conclusions.

But how does this year’s latest North London derby, where we saw a wicked goal from Premier League debutant Danny Rose, and fans who truly do seem to hate each other, stack up against the Manchester derby?

While the game was quite dull until the three minutes of stoppage time, it certainly did take on a new light when the full-time whistle began to creep into the back of players’ minds. Sir Alex’s decision to start old boys Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs seemed to pay off, because no one knows more than those three do when it comes to Manchester derby’s and the importance placed on them both by the fans and by their manager, who always makes it a priority to win them at all costs. Having those three cool heads in there when Manchester United needed to get the win to keep their title hopes alive was vital for them, and Paul Scholes’ last-gasp goal clinched the win for United a few seconds before full-time, and a few days after he signed a new one-year extension at the club.

Paul Scholes celebrates his winner against City

While Manchester City hosted the game, it wasn’t noticeable except for all the blue shirts, because they certainly didn’t seem quite inclined to chant their team over the finish line. It seems strange that the fans didn’t seem as excited about the prospect of beating their far more successful rivals this time around, because now certainly City have the team to do it. In seasons past, when City languished in mid-table, these games put their fans over the edge. Now that they have the means to achieve as much as their neighbours, the fans have taken a less-than-derby-like approach to what was an important game for both teams. City’s push for fourth is now heavily dented after this loss, and only after Paul Scholes’ winner did it seem to sink in to the City fans how much that game really did matter to them. City still have to go to Arsenal, then they must host Aston Villa and Tottenham, and on the last day of the season they go to West Ham. Not an easy fixture list at all with four games remaining and fourth place on the line. A little more desire from City was certainly what they needed, something they should have taken from Tottenham’s performance against Arsenal.

Tottenham sit in fifth, one point behind City with a game in hand.  Tottenham’s derby triumph and City’s failure to take advantage of a lacklustre Manchester United may cost them fourth place and a chance to qualify for the Champions League by the time the season is up.

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  1. Rob McCluskey

    April 18, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Actually mate i’m from England, sure if you support one of those teams it’s going to seem really entertaining – happens in both them derbies, but everyone i know thought it was just an average game really

    And you’ll find the majority of people in England prefer the five day test games to the one dayers, they’re much more tactical and entertaining, we like the twenty20 but one day internationals are terrible, cricket is a great game

  2. redskin

    April 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Rob, what is wrong with cricket? you must be from America. the one day game can be ok. but the five day game is very, VERY, BORING!.

  3. Rob McCluskey

    April 18, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Ok it wasn’t boring, but it wasn’t exactly as amazing as people make it out to be, apart from the Rose goal and Arsenal’s late little flurry, not muched happend compared to more recent north london derbys, Arsenal couldn’t put two passes together for about 80 minutes and Danny Rose got loads of praise just because he scored, apart from that he was terrible

    I did think the Spurs Chelsea game was good though, although Pavyluchenko had a pretty bad game

    And also excuse me, but what is wrong with cricket?

  4. Dylan Thomas

    April 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    agreed Jeff, and I’m an arsenal fan. they out-played us in an end-to-end game, just like they did with Chelsea today. kudos to them, they deserved them both. I didn’t think either match involving tottenham had even a minute of down time, I don’t know how you could be bored with so many chances being created and when so much rides on the result for both teams.

  5. Jeff

    April 17, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    By the way, when the Spurs fans chant “When the Spurs go Marching In” you can’t help but get goosebumps. It’s just another reason why this is the best sport on the planet.

    • Dylan Thomas

      April 17, 2010 at 9:40 pm

      agreed again, today it was just as special. none of the negative associate with the arsenal game, just all joy this time. if you were just finding the game today, you’d no doubt be jumping right on the spurs bandwagon. great stuff to end the season on.

  6. Jeff

    April 17, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Spurs/Gunners game a borefest?? I agree, maybe you should watch a different sport because that was one great football game. The end to end action was great and the pace was just unlike any other game I have seen in the Premiership this season.

    Billy, both teams had big time players missing on Wednesday. In fact the first game between these two earlier in the season I believe Spurs had any of their best players injured. Your big long rant just sounds like you are being a sore loser. Spurs were by far the better team on the night.

  7. redskin

    April 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Rob McCluskey, if you think the spurs game was a borefest then football is not the game for you mate. try cricket.

  8. reg

    April 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    you forget to mention the amount of injuries spurs had

  9. Rob McCluskey

    April 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Both games were pretty much borefests.

    I get that Arsenal and Tottenham is a big rivalry game, but the Manchester derby has only become more of a big deal since City got all their money, although the City fans always cared a lot Man Utd rarely felt the same. Not suprised for the lack of atmosphere in the City game when it’s 0-0 for the majority and few worthwhile saves are made, could kill most games.

    The Spurs V Arsenal had a great goal, but I don’t think Rose touched the ball apart from that! Was a drab game compared to some of the recent ones theyve had, suppose that may have been as a result of the amount of injuries Arsenal had

  10. Alex

    April 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Billy, what a load of shit!

    Ok, spurs have been in the shadow of you Arseholes for a considerable period of time, however have the decency to actually accept that we were better than you in this match. Ok you had injuries (fabregas, ashavin and song) but Boo hoo, we also have a huge injury/suspended list (lennon, palacios, woodgate, kranjcar) so do not go around saying it was a fluke when a depleted spurs team scored ‘2’ goals compared to arsenals ‘1’.

    What does it say about Arsenals team when they lose to a tottenham team that just lost to Portsmouth? And a tottenham team that lost to portsmouth but beat an arsenal team which had a weeks rest after a complete whooping by Barca.

    How fitting was it for us to end your title hopes :D. And you was to talk statistics, arsenal havent won nothing the unbeatables season (fair do’s, much respect), whereas spurs have had much more success (Dont slate the carling cup, until you win it)

    Im not a hooligan and dont believe in pointless chants (apart from sol campbell, who will forever be despised by the spurs faithful). COYS!

  11. billy

    April 17, 2010 at 11:30 am

    The totts hooligans have to reminded that they will fir ever be walking in Gunners shadows. The will employ coach after coach, nick the players we have identified, player after player without success. Sure, they should be wondering how the hell they got off the hook on Wednesday, even with the two goals. I am seriuosly wondering what Gomes had eated for breakfast Wednesday morning.

    All I know for sure is that they will be chasing us, even with eleven injuries on our side all season and with us playing those kids they claim Arsene has peadophiled.
    Kids choose professions, and how better for a footballer to realize his dreams that to start at Arsenal.

    I shall never get to accept that Totts beat us, until they repeat it a third or even fourth time, oh, sorry, given them very chances.Let them do it a tenth time. They were beaten to the FA cup final by Portsmouth, and this shows just where they belong, except for the flukes they keep getting away with.

    Or even better, can they reverse the 11 year unbeaten record. Please you tots, just keep your mouth shut and compete with the likes of Hull.

  12. Dylan Thomas

    April 17, 2010 at 11:16 am

    yeah, it does. I just felt like there was a lot more of that after the game ended than during the game.

  13. jan

    April 17, 2010 at 11:11 am

    The multiple chorus’ of ‘when the spurs go marching in’ I think count as roaring the team on!

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