Tottenham Hotspur’s Rivals

While one door closes, another one opens. In their first season without talismanic striker Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur fans started to dream big with their new gaffer Ange Postecoglou. For that dream to be realized under the Australian, Spurs should certainly build more rivalries besides its most famous one.

Spurs have several rivalries, mainly from other London Premier League clubs, but we’ve detailed Tottenham’s rivals below.

Spur’s Biggest Rivals – Arsenal

And that’s the North London derby. Although the two teams are far off each other based on success stories, their proximity created one of the fiercest head-to-head games. A few years ago, Tottenham started to finish above Arsenal and even reached the 2019 Champions League final, but Mikel Arteta restored the pride for the Gunners while their neighbours struggled for consistency.

Why are Spurs and Arsenal rivals?

Proximity. As the most successful clubs in North London, there is a natural feeling of rivalry between the fans. Even at a time when Tottenham wasn’t considered among the top-six, Arsenal fans would always look out for St. Totteringham Day.

How did the rivalry between Spurs and Arsenal start?

The two new arenas – Emirates Stadium in Islington and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Haringey – are only 4 miles (6.4 km) apart. The story was similar to Highbury and White Hart Lane.

And that had a big say on how their rivalries kicked off. The proximities to their home grounds fueled that entitlement to represent the region. 

Biggest Games between Tottenham and Arsenal

3 May, 1971

Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal 

Arsenal won the league title at White Hart Lane on two different occasions. The first one was here when Arsenal needed a win or a goalless draw to finish top of the standings ahead of Leeds United.

Ray Kennedy scored the all-important goal only three minutes to the end of regular time. Arsenal finished the 1970/71 with a league and cup double.

4 March 1987

Tottenham 1-2 Arsenal

In the next decade, their biggest head-to-head fixture was a League Cup semi-final. The first leg 2-2 draw before Arsenal came from behind to reach the final through goals from substitutes Ian Allinson and David Rocastle. They also went on to win the competition ending the club’s eight-year wait for a trophy.  

14 April 1991

Tottenham 3-1 Arsenal

Another semi-final clash, but Tottenham progressed to the FA Cup final at the end of it. Arsenal had a chance to repeat the 1971 feat of a domestic double, but England superstars Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker had other ideas.

But George Graham’s side also had silverware as they won the First Division with only a single defeat in the entire league season.

4 April 1993

Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham

Two years later, Arsenal avenged that night with another FA Cup semi-final tie. Tony Adams scored the only goal in the final fifteen minutes. Once again, the winner went on to lift the trophy. In a way, it was a special season for Arsenal as they became the first club to win a domestic cup double.

8 April 2001

Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

We had to wait nearly a decade for the next FA Cup semi-final involving North Londoners. Spurs failed to hold on to their early lead at Old Trafford with Frenchmen Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires sending the Gunners to the final. But, in the final, it was Arsenal’s turn to squander a lead to Michael Owen’s Liverpool.

25 April, 2004

Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal

Arsenal needed a point to secure the title. And, as if that’s not enough motivation for their rivals to plan a sabotage, Arsenal were playing for an unbeaten season.

It all looked over in the first 35 minutes. Once again, Vieira and Pires scored against Tottenham. Arsenal fans had their worrying moments, however, with Tottenham equalized in the 90th-minute. 

In the end, Arsenal celebrated a league title at Tottenham for the second time. To the consolation of Spurs, as of now, that historic title remained Arsenal’s last Premier League.

13 November, 2004

Tottenham Hotspur 4-5 Arsenal

The next season, Arsenal also escaped losing the unbeaten streak at Tottenham’s old ground. In a nine-goal thriller. Arsene Wenger’s side grasped all the points.

As a first half of the season fixture, it might not have that importance on the league table, but this was one of the best games of the Premier League era.

Among the goalscorers? Of course, Vieira and Pires.

2005/06 Season

On the final matchday of the 2005/06 season, their fortunes relied on one another. Tottenham had the upper hand with a win at West Ham guaranteeing Champions League football for Martin Jol’s side.

Over at Arsenal, there would be celebration irrespective of the result as it was the iconic stadium Highbury’s last-ever game. But they don’t want to miss out on Europe’s premier competition.

In the end, Tottenham lost at Upton Park with controversy to a food poisoning incident affecting several of their key players ahead of the game. Inspired by Thierry Henry’s hattrick, Arsenal instead booked their Champions League berth.

22 January, 2008

Tottenham 5-1 Arsenal

We’re back at another North London derby in a cup semi-final. The first leg of the League Cup fixture ended all-square at Emirates Stadium.

With no Tottenham wins in this fixture since the turn of the millennium, Arsenal were the clear favorites. But Juande Ramos’ side raced to a 4-0 lead by the hour mark. The aggregate score finally stands at 6-2. Spurs went on to lift the trophy that remained their last, as of now.

29 October 2008

Possibly the most memorable game between the two rivals – the astonishing 4-4 game. Sit back and enjoy the goals from this one:

Played for both

David Bentley, William Gallas, Emmanuel Adebayor and Sol Campbell are among the names to don both kits. The Togolese striker is the only man to score for both teams in North London derby since the 1960s.

Chelsea

This rivalry is also an all-London battle. Chelsea and Spurs have been involved in some intense head-to-head games since the 1967 FA Cup final. Their meeting earlier this season also goes down as one of the all-time best Monday night games in the Premier League era.


Why are Spurs and Chelsea rivals?

The Tottenham rivalry with Chelsea is again mainly due to their location. Apart from this being one of many London derby fixtures in top-level football, the two teams shared some stories in multiple head-to-head fixtures over the years.

How did the rivalry start?

The two clubs never counted each other as main rivals. But the first all-London FA Cup final – the Cockney Cup Final – is usually mentioned as the big factor in the rivalry between the clubs. 

Biggest Games between Spurs and Chelsea

30 April 1910

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea

With both teams fighting for survival in Division One, Spurs send Chelsea down at White Hart Lane. Percy Humphreys, who was signed from Chelsea the previous season, scored the winner.

20 May 1967

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea

It was at the 86th FA Cup season that two London clubs reached the final for the first time. In Tottenham’s successful decade, they won their fifth title with a 2-1 win.

This fixture catalyzed what followed every time the two teams met each other. In particular, per one study in 2012, Chelsea fans valued this game more important to their fixtures against Arsenal or Manchester United.

19 April 1975

Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea

Another end-of-the-season fixture that had a big say in the final league table. Spurs, having started the game behind their guests, prevailed with Chelsea ultimately relegated from top-tier football. The start of the match had to be delayed because the two sets of fans invaded the pitch to fight.

6 December 1997

Tottenham 1-6 Chelsea

The 1990s opened another chapter for this rivalry. Chelsea became a dominant force against their London neighbors and this scoreline was the standout. A 6-1 trouncing at White Hart Lane with Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo completing his hattrick in the 90th minute.

5 November 2006

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea

This run ended in 2006 as Spurs recorded their first league win over the Blues in 16 years.  A 5-1 League Cup in 2002 was Tottenham’s only win in this fixture for nearly two decades.

24 February 2008

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea

A season earlier, the hooligans of the two clubs clashed on the street of London a day after their FA Cup quarter-final fixture. 

At the new Wembley Stadium, the two clubs met again for the Football League Cup final. The defending champions drew the first blood through a Didier Drogba free-kick, but Spurs – who knocked out Arsenal by an aggregate score of 6-2 – bite back with Dimitar Berbatov’s spot-kick and Jonathan Woodgate’s winner three minutes into extra-time.

1 March 2015

Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham

The two clubs met at the same stage seven years later as incidents between fans in London’s Underground overshadowed the game. John Terry and Diego Costa’s goals meant Chelsea surpassed Tottenham for the number of trophies won on that particular night.

2 May 2016

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham

“Battle of the Bridge” had both clubs face FA charges and fines for failing to control their players. While Jose Mourinho had a difficult season, Tottenham were hoping for the first league title since 1961.

With Leicester City players waiting to celebrate, Tottenham had a Premier League record nine yellow cards on the memorable Monday night fixture. Chelsea came from two goals behind to end Tottenham’s title hopes.

5-23 January 2022

Chelsea beat Tottenham three times in the space of a month, the first two in a League Cup semi-final tie. 

14 August 2022

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham

An intense game had its final moment in the 96th minute with Harry Kane scoring the equaliser for the guests. But that only ended the game on the pitch.

Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte, who had several altercations throughout the match, somehow found a way to clash whilst shaking hands after the final whistle. It was simply extraordinary.

6 November 2023

Tottenham 1-4 Chelsea

In Mauricio Pochettino’s return to Spurs, Ange Postecoglou dominated the headlines for sticking his guns despite finishing the game with nine players. There were 11 major VAR checks, which meant 21 minutes added in injury-time.

Nicolas Jackson won it for Chelsea with a late hattrick in a game immortalized as one of the wildest in Premier League history.

Played for both

The two clubs also had some hard-fought matchups in the transfer market. Brazilian winger Willian is the best example as he completed a medical at Tottenham before joining Chelsea in 2013.

Some big names played for both clubs including Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, Gus Poyet, Scott Parker and William Gallas, who also had a spell at another London club Arsenal.

Best of the Rest

We’ll conclude this article with a brief look at some of the other big encounters for Spurs fans.

Fulham

The Cottagers are more close to Chelsea geographically, but there were also some memorable battles against Tottenham over the years.

The clubs first crossed paths in the 1903-04 Second Division. With Fulham showing signs of stability under Marco Silva, this fixture is becoming a constant in the Premier League.

In the joint USA top-scorer Clint Dempsey, the mercurial Dimitar Berbatov and the midfield general Moussa Dembele, the two clubs also shared the careers of brilliant footballers.

Manchester City

Just like their game against Chelsea this season, Ange’s Spurs also had a memorable evening at Etihad Stadium. Tottenham salvaged an invaluable point with a late equalizer by Dejan Kulusevski in a six-goal thriller.

Tottenham have been City’s bogey team even before the Manchester club’s takeover by City Football Group. And, in Pep Guardiola‘s era, they always managed to pose a threat to Cityzens under a host of coaches.

The most memorable game was the Champions League quarter-final tie in 2019, however. Pochettino’s side progressed via the away goal rule despite a 4-3 defeat at the Etihad that had plenty of twists and turns, including a late disallowed goal by the hosts.

Manchester United

This rivalry also deserves a mention for one game that had a remarkable comeback story. Sir Alex Ferguson turned a 3-0 first-half deficit at White Hart Lane to drive his side into a five-star performance after the break.

Some 19 years later, Tottenham snatched their own memorable win at Old Trafford by netting half a dozen goals against ten-man Manchester United, who initially opened the score in the 2nd minute. 

There was also the 5-2 game, where Spurs were 2-0 ahead, before a dubious penalty was awarded, kickstarting a Man Utd comeback: