This Sunday sees Tottenham Hotspur face Arsenal in a match that will go a long way to deciding which of the two club's finishes higher than the other. With so much at stake, and with two teams generally devoted to attacking football, the North London Derby has to be the best match in English football.
Here are the reasons why...
Even throughout their worst patches in the league, Tottenham Hotspur have been committed to playing open, attractive football. Now they have the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon tearing down the wings, they are amongst the best sides to watch in the league on their day, and bring an air of excitement to every match they play in. Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have consistently played excellent attacking football, and with Walcott's pace, Cazorla's guile and Wilshere's drive, they have plenty to draw the eye in their current line-up.
In addition to their fantastic attacks, both sides have generally been quite bad at defending for the past few seasons. This might lead to incredible frustration at times, but it also helps contribute to matches with plenty of goals. Suspect back lines are also absolutely crucial to the fact that in every North London Derby, there always seems to be a comeback on the cards, meaning even in the matches where one team goes ahead early, the game rarely gets boring.
Throughout most of the Premier League years, the match has generally been Spurs' attempts to derail an Arsenal title bid, rather than a game between equals. However the last few seasons has seen the sides close up in the league, with Arsenal falling off the pace set by the financial powerhouses at the top of the table, and Spurs steadily improving. Right now, the two sides are competing for a Champions League place, and this will also have a heavy bearing on their transfer activity in the summer, with Tottenham and Arsenal increasingly fighting for similar players. Whichever finishes higher in the league this season could have a decisive advantage for next year.
This might be off the mark, but to my mind, the North London Derby throws up far more than its fair share of fantastic goals. Both sides have excellent pace on the break, with lovely flowing passing moves leading to goals, but there are also a lot of long range pearlers. From Rose and Bentley's volleys for Spurs, to Adebayor's goal of the season striker against his current club.
The Social Media
This is clearly a little geeky, but Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are two of the best represented teams on places like Twitter. This helps create an atmosphere around the fixture, and means that at the end of the game you have plenty of fans out there ready to celebrate with you, despair with you, graciously praise you, and indeed heartlessly mock you.
image: © StartAgain