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Arsenal and Chelsea – Their Common Foe (Part Three)

This is the series whioc examines the commion hostility whic both Arsenal and Chelsea have for London rivals Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) and some of the reasons behind it.

For Part One click here; and Part Two click here.

The Doubles

Although Arsenal had been the dominant team in the 1930s, the Second World War took its toll, and the club slowly began to decline. They won the FA Cup in 1950 and the league again in 1953, but it would be seventeen years before they would win another trophy after that.

Meanwhile, something g was stirring in the other half of North London, beginning with eh decision to appoint one of their former players, Bill Nicholson as manager in 1958.

It was the start of the greatest era In Spurs’ history.

In 1960 – 1961 they became the first club In the modern era to win the league and cup double, and they would go on to retain the FA Cup, and become the first English club to win a European trophy when they lifted the Cup Winners Cup in 1963.

The team also became known for a distinct style of play with a commitment to attack rather than defence, creativity over structure and fast-moving attacks as opposed to possession football.

And, even today, even though the concept is somewhat nebulous, fan still talk about the Spurs’ way of playing football, and use it as a stick to beat any manager who fails to live up to the tradition.

Suddenly Tottenham supporters, used to being in the shadows of the Gunners, had something over their rivals, and they lost no opportunity to taunt them,. Something that Arsenal fans had to live with for ten long years.

It was, therefore, a supreme twist of fate, which sent Arsenal to White Hart Lane for the last match of the1970-71 season with their own chances of the double on the line.

The Gunners made the short journey trailing Leeds United by  a single point, but knowing that a scoreless draw would be enough to win them the title. Spurs were having a fine season themselves and eventually finished third, in a match played before 52,000 spectators, with an estimated 50,000 unable to get into the ground.

An 87th minute from Ray Kennedy was enough to win the match for the Gunners, who five days later, came from behind to beat Liverpool at Wembley, this enabling them to secure their own double.

Not only had the hoodoo been laid to rest but the Arsenal fans could sing about having won the title at the home of their great rivals.

Thirty-three years later it happened again  This time the Invincibles team of Arsène Wenger did it again, securing the point they needed to win the 2003- 2004 league title, the season in which the Frenchman’s side went unbeaten in the league.

By then Wenger had already led them to two more doubles, eclipsing the achievement of Spurs and Nicholson.

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