Spurs' Greatest XI vs. Arsenal's Greatest XI: Who Wins?

No Bergkamp? No Graves? Blimey.
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No Bergkamp? No Graves? Blimey.

Spurs' Greatest XI vs. Arsenal's Greatest XI: Who Wins?

With the season's first North London Derby looming large, we match up the greatest ever XIs of Tottenham and Arsenal, as chosen by a fan of each side. Which set of legends will come out on top?

Tottenham Greatest XI

GK – Ray Clemence

The curtain was coming down Ray’s career around the same time I realised that professional football was not like school where goalkeepers were chosen because they were the worst on pitch. When I think of Tony Parks, Erik the Viking, Walker, Robbo, Gomes et al I’ve got clear memories of them throwing one in over their shoulder at some point. All I remember about Clemo was that he had massive hands. 8

RB – Steven Carr

Like a milky Roberto Carlos, Carr saved, made and scored goals. He was Tottenham Hotspur’s best player for a period in the late 90s and was gearing up for the inevitable exodus to Man U until he suffered a knacked knee in 2001. Was never the same player after that and went on to be rubbish for Newcastle, which was nice. 7

CB – Ledley King

For ten years I’ve been trying to instigate a chant to the tune of 10cc’s ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ that goes ‘I don’t like Ledley, oh no, I LOVE HIM’. For some reason it hasn’t caught on but that doesn’t make it any less true. If knee transplants were available at the beginning of the century Deadly Ledley would have 50 England caps and we would’ve lost him to a European giant. In reality having Ledley at the back has convinced Tottenham Hotspur fans you can stick Sol Campbell up your bum, which can’t be easy. 10

CB – Graham Roberts (C)

If I’d made this list on July 1st, 2001 it would be big Sulzeer partnering Deadly. But I didn’t and that’s why Roberts gets the nod. A man made of granite with an iron will, Roberts lead by example during our most successful period of my lifetime. He played like a fan in a Spurs shirt and was a nutcase. What’s not to like? 9

LB – Gareth Bale

Probably not the best left back I’ve seen at the Lane but we needed space for the quartet ahead of him - besides, the Welsh Wizard's so good we could play him pretty much anywhere. 9

RW – David Ginola

With Gallic flair and that head of hair David was born to play for Tottenham Hotspur. During the dark days of the late 90s when a decent cup run and good performance against Ars*nal is all most Spurs fans wanted out of a season (and still never got) Ginola was a rare beacon of hope. It was a horrible time, with double agent Graham in the dug out serving up turgid, functional football. Ginola’s flamboyant style off the pitch and PFA player of the year performances on it were our only connection to our ‘Glory Glory’ past. 9

CM – Paul Gascoigne

In April 1991, on a sunny afternoon in Wembley, Gazza made Barry Davis say, “Is Gascoigne going to have a crack? He is you know. Oh I say that is…schoolboys own stuff” as he smashed in the best free kick the old stadium had ever seen past David Seaman. He obviously did loads of other stuff that makes him worthy of a place but the joy I felt after that swing of his right foot is more than enough. 10

CM – Glenn Hoddle

A magician who was more dexterous with his feet than most people are with their hands, Hod Almighty is the reason I support Spurs. Bags of skill, flair to burn and an eye for the spectacular; Glenn was the archetypical ‘Spurs player’. Put simply he’s the most naturally gifted Englishman to play in colour. Despite looking like a lesbian Desperate Dan and coercing Waddle to do Diamond Lights, Hoddle will forever be the ‘King of White Hart Lane’. 10

Like a milky Roberto Carlos, Carr saved, made and scored goals.

LW – Chris Waddle

Revered by Marseille fans as much those at Spurs, the Waddler is an absolute hero. The enduring memory of the lad who used to work in a sausage factory in Gateshead is of him always looking tired, marauding down the wing, dropping his shoulder and ghosting past defenders with his magnificent mulleted mane billowing in the breeze. If Aslan improved his touch, put on a Geordie accent and donned a Hummell shirt he still wouldn’t look as majestic as Chris in his pomp. 9

CF – Gary Lineker

There’s a generation who only know Gary as the jug eared crisp thief who ruined the golf. Yeah? Well they can jog on because Lineker was a goal poacher without equal. A great ambassador for us who always did the biz in the big games, Lineker consistently reproduced his England exploits in the lilywhite shirt of Tottenham. 10

CF – Jurgen Klinsmann

This was a tough one between Jurgen and Teddy Sheringham. Both had two stints at the club, played with the first three yards in their head and lit up the Lane. Teddy played more than one and a half seasons for us, but Klinsmann invented the diving celebration, which gets my vote. Part of the first wave of genuine world superstars to join the Premiership as it was then known, Jurgen had me believing that the mid 90s were the beginning of a Spurs renaissance. It wasn’t. The most decorated footballer in my team. Also drove a Beetle. 9

Manager – Osvaldo Ardiles

Keith Burkinshaw, Terry Venables and Harry Redknapp might have something to say about it but with this team packed with attacking talent there’s only one kamikaze manager I’d want to take the reins. I met Ossie once – he was an absolute gent and even got the coffees in – and he said of his time at Spurs “I knew exactly how Tottenham wanted to play and it was the way I wanted to play.” It’s the way I’d want this team to play as well. It looks like me and Ossie share the same dream. 6

Total: 106

Arsenal Greatest XI

GK: David Seaman – Forget his leaden footed displays at the tail end of his career. During most of the 1990s, Spunky’s peerless displays between the sticks made him the ultimate big game stopper for the Gunners. 8

RB: Lee Dixon – Feisty, sharp in the tackle and unfussy in his approach, Dixon was just the man you wanted in your back line, especially back in the days when you could boot the opposition winger into the stand without punishment from the ref.7

CB: Tony Adams – His transition from George Graham’s hard drinking, blue collar lieutenant to Arsene Wenger’s poetry loving free thinking, roving skipper was remarkable. What didn’t change was his undimmed will to win. Fergie admitted he couldn’t wait for him to retire. 9

CB: Martin Keown – This grizzled warrior certainly came good during his second spell at the Gunners. Later combined an indomitable desire for combat with much improved distribution at the back. His clash with Van Nistelrooy in 2003 may not have been pretty, but you’d always want him in your team. 8

LB: Ashley Cole – Whatever Arsenal fans think of “Cashley” these days, it cannot be denied that during his six year first team career, he provided excellent service, with his surging runs down the left. His link play with Pires in the “Invincibles” season was a joy to behold. 8

LM: Liam Brady – Arguably the cleverest play maker of his generation in the 1970s, he would glide past opponents with unerring ease, and hit shots with minimal backlift. A genius. 10

CM: Patrick Vieira – A titan of Arsenal’s midfield for nearly a decade, the Frenchman appeared to relish clashed with United more than anyone, if his “fire and brimstone” clashes with rival skipper Roy Keane both on the pitch and in the tunnel are anything to go by. 9

CM: Cesc Fabregas – There is little that the Spanish diamond couldn’t do, and in the Premiership, there was no one who can match his artfulness, vision and creativity. 9

Arguably the cleverest play maker of his generation in the 1970s, Brady would glide past opponents with unerring ease, and hit shots with minimal backlift. A genius.

RW: Robert Pires – A goal scoring wide player, defences simply had no answer to the Frenchman’s direct running and setting up of chances for the likes of Henry and Bergkamp during the noughties. 8

CF: Ian Wright – Quite simply the most natural goal scorer seen at Highbury since Bastin in the 1930s. Aggressive and self centred on the pitch, the team’s reliance on his goal poaching under GG effectively made it “Ian Wright FC” for several years. 9

CF: Thierry Henry – “We’ve got the best player in the world” chanted Arsenal fans when Henry (more often than not) was on song. The Gunners’ record goal scorer was, on his day, quite simply unplayable. 10

Manager: Arsene Wenger - The boss would have to be Arsene, given the way he has revolutionised the club and the playing style. However, at the moment, I’d want George Graham in charge. He’d stifle United and go and hit them on the counter. 9

Total Score: 104

Final score Tottenham 106 - 104 Arsenal

A close-run thing but after Hoddle's sublime 30 yard chip cancels out a Henry special the Spurs midfield begin to take control. Waddle and Gazza display Harlem Globetrotter flamboyance but ultimately this dream North London clash of the titans is decided by a Lineker toe-poke from virtually inside the goal.