Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.

By Bulldog Drummond

No matter how you measure it, when it comes to Arsenal and Tottenham, Arsenal are always on top.  Of the league (including the early leagues both teams played in) and the cup games between the two, Arsenal have won 84, Tottenham 67 and 54 have been draws.

Put another way Arsenal have won 41% of the games, and 33% to Tottenham.  But in recent times Tottenham have, while not getting closer, stopped us getting further in front of them. The last ten league games takes us back to Novermber 2017, and in those ten games we’ve won four, Tottenham have won four, and there have been two draws.  That’s about Tottenham’s best run in… well I’m not sure, but in quite a long time.

Certainly those last ten games are quite a contrast with the run between 2000 and 2009.  During that decade we played Tottenham 20 times in the League.  We won 11 and drew nine.  Tottenham won, oh hang on, I’ve lost the number, I had it here somewhere.  Damn, I’ll have to add it up again.  I’ll let you know later.

Their 21st century honours list is also quite interesting….


Competition Result Season
Football League Cup Runner-up 2001-02
Football League Cup Winner 2007-08
Football League Cup Runner-up 2008-09
Football League Cup Runner-up 2014-15
Premier League Runner-up 2016-17
UEFA Champions League Runner-up 2018-19
Football League Cup Runner-up 2020-21


Compared with Arsenal’s…   Well, I won’t run the whole list because it gets a bit tedious but in the 21st century we have won the league twice, the FA Cup seven times and done quite a few of those runner-up things, but we don’t bother to count them, not with nine actual winning events.   It would make this table go on too much…


Premier League Champion 2001-02
FA Cup Winner 2001-02
FA Community Shield Winner 2002
FA Cup Winner 2002-03
Premier League Champion 2003-04
FA Community Shield Winner 2004
FA Cup Winner 2004-05
FA Cup Winner 2013-14
FA Community Shield Winner 2014
FA Cup Winner 2014-15
FA Cup Winner 2016-17
FA Cup Winner 2019-20
FA Community Shield Winner 2020


And that is really the funny thing about this rivalry with Tottenham: it would take them forever to catch up with us in terms of trophies.  We’ve won the FA Cup 14 times (a record, two more than anyone else), Division 1 ten times and the Premier League three times.  Tottenham have won the FA Cup eight times, and Division 1 twice and the PL zero.

But still they do like to think they are better than us, what with them having a bigger debt than we’ve ever had, and the media must think it is jolly amusing to treat the two clubs as equal rivals.  Why is that?

Of course, we must not get carried away since both teams are doing rather well this season.  Here’s the top of the league



Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 7 6 0 1 17 7 10 18
2 Manchester City 7 5 2 0 23 6 17 17
3 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 2 0 18 7 11 17
4 Brighton and Hove Albion 6 4 1 1 11 5 6 13


So we are just one point above them and they’ve scored one more goal than we have.  Their biggest wins came in the first and last matches – a 4-1 home win over Southampton and a 6-2 win over a totally hopeless bottom-of-the-table Leicester City, who have, as we have oft noticed, finally been found out for what they are.

I imagine Tottenham will soon start talking about the “big three” at the top of the league, but really they need to win quite a lot more league titles because that becomes a reality.  Here’s a list of champions for Division One and the Premier League.


Pos Club Winners Runners-up Last Winning season
1 Manchester United 20 17 2012–13
2 Liverpool 19 15 2019–20
3 Arsenal 13 9 2003–04
4 Everton 9 7 1986–87
5 Manchester City 8 6 2021–22
6 Aston Villa 7 10 1980–81
7 Sunderland 6 5 1935–36
Chelsea 4 2016–17
9 Newcastle United 4 2 1926–27
Sheffield Wednesday 1 1929–30
11 Huddersfield Town 3 3 1925–26
Blackburn Rovers 1 1994–95
15 Tottenham Hotspur 2 5 1960–61
Derby County 3 1974–75
Burnley 2 1959–60
Portsmouth 0 1949–50


Tottenham, as we can see are on a par with Derby County, Burnley and Portsmouth, which makes one wonder why the media insist on treating them as a big club.  I suppose it must be the size of the media’s hospitality room at Tottenham’s indebted stadium.

7 Replies to “Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.”

  1. which explains why they are called ‘tiny tots’ I guess

    just saying it….

    Then again no team is better then the last game….. so we need the Gunners to win this one.
    These young men need to step up and start their own long run of rivalry games.

  2. It should all be very easy for Arsenal. Home advantage, fantastic record against Spurs.
    Arsenal already have this one in the bag.

  3. I’m imagining that is an ironic comment Ian but that was certainly not the point of the article. Clearly this season it is a battle of equals, the clubs’ record in the league thus far is close to identical. The point was that even when Arsenal are way ahead of Tottenham, as has happened most of the time in history, the media still paint it as a battle of the equals. Sorry if that was not clear in the piece.

  4. Not sure how long the media will be able to paint us as equals…
    What with interest rates flying up by the day, how long will Spus be able to service their £1b of debt?!!

  5. @Philly the kid,

    that is a good point, yet it all depends on the conditions on the loans…as no one had prepared for the covid/war double whammy, maybe they have low rates over a long time.

    However, at some point the hurt is going to be felt for all non-oilstate owned clubs as the pound has dropped so much that players wanting to come will as for more money….which is going to create the next inflationary wave and create havoc in the clubs finances.

  6. I just love the quotation from the movie In Bruges: “Purgatory’s kind of like the in-betweeny one. You weren’t really sh*t, but you weren’t all that great either. Like Tottenham.” To extrapolate…Purgatory is cheering for Tottenham.

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