After all, when they made the journey across North London for the 2010 derby clash, they had not claimed maximum points on Arsenal soil in some 17 years.
So, when the Gunners broke the deadlock in the ninth minute, it appeared that normal service had been resumed. Captain Cesc Fabregas threaded a pass through for Samir Nasri, who despite a heavy first touch was able to round Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. Then, even with a narrowing angle, the French playmaker was able to squeeze to ball inside the near post.
Fabregas was at his influential best and with 27 minutes on the clock he played a key role in Arsenal's second goal. He spread the ball wide for Andrey Arshavin and the Russian in turn crossed for Marouane Chamakh to score from close range.
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Tottenham managed to get through to half time without further damage and it was during the break that their manager Harry Redknapp opted to take off Aaron Lennon and replace him with striker Jermain Defoe.
He had an almost instant impact five minutes after the restart when he flicked the ball into the path of Rafael van der Vaart, who picked out Gareth Bale. The Welshman then used his pace to beat the Arsenal rearguard, before he slotted the ball past Lukasz Fabianski.
Then, having been so dominant during the first half, Fabregas inexplicably used his arm inside his own area to block Van der Vaart's shot. A penalty was rewarded and the Dutch international duly converted from 12 yards out to draw the visitors level.
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However, it would be Spurs that would go on to claim a dramatic winner five minutes from time when defender Younes Kaboul rose highest inside the Arsenal box to flick Van der Vaart's cross beyond a diving Fabianski.
"It's difficult to understand how we lost the game because of the number of chances we created compared to Tottenham. I'm a bit speechless," said defeated manager Arsene Wenger during his post-match interview.
ARSENAL: Fabianski; Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy; Fabregas, Nasri (Rosicky), Denilson, Song, Arshavin (Walcott), Chamakh (Van Persie)
TOTTENHAM: Gomes; Hutton, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Defoe), Jenas, Van der Vaart (Palacios), Modric, Bale; Pavlyuchenko (Crouch)