The all-time top scorers in the north London derby

The all-time top scorers in the north London derby

As one of England’s flagship rivalries, the north London derby continues to be a fiercely contested, seething battle both on and off the pitch to this day.

The balance of the capital contest has swung in the last five years, but these two grand old sides share more than a dozen top flight titles and account for almost a fifth of every FA Cup triumph ever contested.

With more than 180 official meetings between these sides stretching back over a century, here are the fixture’s top scorers across all competitions.

Having been released by Arsenal without playing a single senior competitive fixture, Clive Allen attempted to exact some retribution as a central figure in the infamous series of League Cup semi-final replays in 1987, scoring three goals across the three legs.

Yet, despite his best efforts, Arsenal ultimately reached the final.

Rafael van der Vaart scored as many Premier League goals against Arsenal as any other side he faced in the divisionRafael van der Vaart scored as many Premier League goals against Arsenal as any other side he faced in the division
Rafael van der Vaart scored as many Premier League goals against Arsenal as any other side he faced in the division | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Rafael van der Vaart had already gone some way to endearing himself to Tottenham fans before his arrival in the summer of 2010, by scoring for Hamburg against the red half of north London in a Champions League tie four years earlier.

Once an actual Tottenham player, Van der Vaart netted his four goals in just three starts against the Gunners.

Jermaine Jenas only won two of his ten north London derby appearancesJermaine Jenas only won two of his ten north London derby appearances
Jermaine Jenas only won two of his ten north London derby appearances | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jermaine Jenas always had an eye for a spectacular finish, but he also saved himself for the big occasion. More than 15% of Jenas’ goals for Tottenham came in the high stakes environment of the north London derby.

Samir Nasri is one of only two players to have scored two penalties in a single north London derby (along with Gilberto Silva)Samir Nasri is one of only two players to have scored two penalties in a single north London derby (along with Gilberto Silva)
Samir Nasri is one of only two players to have scored two penalties in a single north London derby (along with Gilberto Silva) | IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

Ironically, for a player who so readily cast aside his Arsenal loyalties, Samir Nasri continued his penchant for a goal against Spurs after he unceremoniously wriggled out of north London to Manchester City.

In fact, Nasri has scored more goals against Tottenham (six for Arsenal and City combined) than any other opponent in his professional career.

Freddie Ljungberg tussling with Tottenham's Simon Davies during a derbyFreddie Ljungberg tussling with Tottenham's Simon Davies during a derby
Freddie Ljungberg tussling with Tottenham’s Simon Davies during a derby | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Freddie Ljungberg’s first trip to White Hart Lane wasn’t one to remember as Arsenal lost 2-1 and he was sent off. But the former Sweden international didn’t lose another game against Tottenham during his time in north London.

Tony Adams letting his feelings be known after a tough match against Les FerdinandTony Adams letting his feelings be known after a tough match against Les Ferdinand
Tony Adams letting his feelings be known after a tough match against Les Ferdinand | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Tony Adams holds the unique distinction of captaining Arsenal to the top flight title in three different decades, though he could only score against Tottenham in two of them.

After racking up a respectable tally of five goals in 19 derby appearances for Arsenal, Theo Walcott’s north London loyalties didn’t fade when he left the club, scoring in his first two meetings with Tottenham following a move to Everton.

In more than 100 international appearances, Patrick Vieira only scored one goal more for France than he did in north London derbiesIn more than 100 international appearances, Patrick Vieira only scored one goal more for France than he did in north London derbies
In more than 100 international appearances, Patrick Vieira only scored one goal more for France than he did in north London derbies | Ben Radford/Getty Images

A surprisingly prolific scorer for an ostensibly holding midfielder, Patrick Vieira netted five of his 32 goals for Arsenal in the north London derby.

Robin van Persie captained Arsenal in his final two north London derby appearancesRobin van Persie captained Arsenal in his final two north London derby appearances
Robin van Persie captained Arsenal in his final two north London derby appearances | Clive Mason/Getty Images

After going without a goal or assist in his first five appearances against Tottenham, Arsenal’s dependence upon Robin van Persie in his final few seasons at the club are highlighted by performance in the derby.

Between 2008 and 2012, Van Persie’s contributed more than 40% of the goals Arsenal scored in their eight top flight meetings with Spurs.

In what was a largely disappointing debut season for the Cannonball Kid – and Arsenal as a whole – Charlie Nicholas enjoyed his best moments in the derby, scoring a double against Tottenham on Boxing Day 1983 after finding the net on his first appearance in the fixture the month before.

Much of Jimmy Logie’s career was lost to the Second World War but once professional football returned, the bricklayer by trade was at his deadly best against Tottenham.

Born in Woolwich, Billy Minter actually played for Arsenal while they were still south of the River Thames in the first decade of the 20th century.

Minter moved to Spurs, via Reading, in 1908 and scored all five of his goals before the fixture was really classed as a derby.

Martin Chivers’ most famous Tottenham goals may have come against other English opposition in the form of Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the imposing centre-forward of the late 1960s and 1970s ensured he found the scoresheet against most sides he faced, including Arsenal.

Robbie Keane has played against Arsenal for five different clubsRobbie Keane has played against Arsenal for five different clubs
Robbie Keane has played against Arsenal for five different clubs | CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images

Robbie Keane may have been good for a goal, but the striker only tasted victory once in 20 appearances for Tottenham in the north London derby.

Despite regularly being accused as a flat-track bully, Thierry Henry not only netted in almost half his derby appearances, but is the scorer of perhaps the most famous goal in the fixture’s recent history.

Arsenal’s legendary striker scored his five north London derby goals in one season, across consecutive league matches. Netting a hat-trick, then a brace on Arsenal’s way to the 1934/35 league title.

Gareth Bale’s second ever Premier League goal came at home to Arsenal during his unfortunate run of 24 top flight appearances for Spurs without a win.

Tottenham footballing royalty Cliff Jones made his debut for Spurs in a hectic 4-4 draw against Arsenal in 1958. Incidentally, Jones would grab his first goals in the fixture four years later in another 4-4 game.

A crucial cog in the famous double-winning side of 1960/61, Les Allen scored home and away against the Gunners that season. His son, Clive, managed four goals in the fixture 25 years later.

More than three decades on from his last appearance in the hotly contested fixture, Steve Archibald’s competitive edge, and sense of humour, clearly hasn’t dissipated, as he wrote on Twitter in 2016: “Regretably [sic] had to use the ‘C’ word to an Arsenal fan today. Now before we all get carried away and get stuck in the word it was ‘COYS’.”

There wasn’t much more Ian Wright could have done as an Arsenal player to cement his place in the hearts of the club’s fanbase. From his unbridled celebrations, relentless goal tallies and general zest for the game, rattling in half a dozen goals against their fiercest rivals is merely the cherry on top.

Having joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1962, John Radford would have appreciated the importance his derby goals more than most during his near decade and a half in north London.

The Scottish centre-forward with a legendary fierce strike – once recorded at 72.5 mph according to the Independent – was on target seven times with that venomous effort against Spurs.

Before Harry Kane’s turbo-charged form in the past half-decade, it was Jimmy Greaves’ name atop most of Tottenham’s goalscoring records. Greaves may trail in terms of derby goals but he remains the club’s all-time top scorer (for now).

For someone who claimed to not like football, never watch it or miss it, Alan Gilzean wasn’t wrong when he described his job as ‘something I’m good at’.

One of only three players in the fixture’s long and illustrious history to have ever scored a hat-trick, Alan Sunderland was responsible for three of the five Arsenal bagged in a historic 5-0 thumping of Spurs at White Hart Lane in 1978.

Robert Pires' only career defeat against Tottenham came while playing for Aston VillaRobert Pires' only career defeat against Tottenham came while playing for Aston Villa
Robert Pires’ only career defeat against Tottenham came while playing for Aston Villa | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

As a crucial player at Arsenal during an era when the Gunners went 20 derby matches unbeaten, Robert Pires was never on the losing side of a north London derby.

A polarising figure at the best of times, Emmanuel Adebayor’s status as the most prolific player to have scored for both sides in this fixture is entirely fitting.

Having enjoyed some of his first seasons of senior football under the tutelage of Ted Drake, another entrant on this list, at Chelsea, Smith swiftly showed the Blues the error of their ways when they let him go in 1955.

The ultimate north London derby goalscorer has only failed to find the net in two of his first 12 Premier League matches against the Gunners. Harry Kane is a true Tottenham legend.

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