As part of the build up to the North London Derby, it’s almost obligatory to reminisce at Arsenal’s back catalogue of blistering goals against rivals Spurs, therefore picking a top five is more difficult than you would think.
The number one slot picks itself but what of the other four. Hours and hours of available footage, plenty of reasons for inclusion, but at the end of the day it’s down to personal preference. Any goal that gave Arsenal the title at White Hart Lane is probably worthy of automatic entry into a top five, but I’ve looked at individual skills that have yielded a goal.
There are plenty from the days of Wenger’s vintage Arsenal and they all show what a golden eye the Frenchman once had and how he made good players better with his gentle and persuasive football philosophy.
Cesc Fabregas has two considerations that failed to make the five:
The first was in 2007/08 season when the magical little Spaniard unleashed a shot from around 30 yards. Memories of the Charlie George belter from the 1971 FA Cup came to mind. It was simply sensational.
— AFCComps™ (@AFCComps) August 27, 2019
The second was in 2009/10 when a misplaced pass from a Spurs kick off found a predatory Fabregas who hit his stride and sliced Arsenal’s rivals apart before striking a sweet goal.
That’s just a taste of what fell by the wayside but those deserved a special mention for a player that Wenger nurtured and should have taken back. Old arguments last a lifetime for me.
On to the top five from the North London Derby based on sublime individual skill:
At number 5, it’s Robin Van Persie from 2011/12. Yes, I know he’s a Judas and a leech but let’s appreciate the time when his inner child wasn’t as cash conscious. Heavily outnumbered on the edge of the Spurs box, he somehow managed to twist, turning from right to left, dropping his shoulder before releasing a pearl of a strike.
At 4, it’s the immensely gifted and blessed Robert Pires (2004/05) who displayed great close control on the left flank, the angle was absurd, the finish divine.
Number 3 and of course Bergkamp had to be in there, he invented intricate moves and this goal in 1996/97 shows his ability to pluck the ball out of thin air with the sweetest of touches, bring it to ground, turn, swap feet and hit a well stuck shot. Not quite the Newcastle miracle but something worth savouring, especially for a North London Derby.
Was that 22 years ago ? What would Bergkamp be worth now ?
Number 2, again stressing that this list is about individual skill and sublime control, it’s Aaron Ramsey. Welbeck was wide on the left passed it to Bellerin running into the box, who then punted it forward for Ramsey to pull off an audacious back heel flick.
Number 1, there is only one choice.
There have been examples of this type of goal that never made it including Tomas Rosicky’s cut and thrust effort from 2013/14, where he stole from the toe of Danny Rose and sprinted forward into the box to finish off a superb solo goal, but the honour of the best goal in a North London Derby goes to the legendary Thierry Henry.
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The goal is from 2002/03 and saw an aggressive run from the Frenchman from well inside his own half. Pausing, accelerating, shifting from wide to inside and then accelerating again, with the defenders in front of him wrong footed. It was something to witness, one of those moments that lifts you out of your seat and which burns itself deep in to your brain.
Having relived those goals only wets the appetite for something similar, let’s hope that this weekend, the North London Derby will give us something to remember.