Tottenham Hotspur striker Rafael Van der Vaart reflects fondly on his first taste of the north London derby, and is eagerly anticipating locking horns with rivals Arsenal again next season.

The Dutch master played a pivotal role in both fixtures against the Gunners last season, the first of which came in November, inspiring Spurs to their first ever victory at the Emirates Stadium.

After a poor first half, Tottenham found themselves 2-0 down at the interval, but fought back in the second half to complete a thrilling 3-2 turnaround.

Van der Vaart scored the equaliser from the spot and provided the cross from the telling free-kick in the closing minutes to give Spurs victory, and bragging rights until the return fixture.

"When I came here everyone talked about the biggest game of the year against Arsenal," reflected Rafa. "It doesn't matter if it's league or cup, it's always big and you have to win that one.


"Tottenham hadn't won at the Emirates and it was great feeling to go there and win in my first derby, and especially to score," he continued.

"We played a bad first half, went 2-0 down but in the second half we were a totally different team and that showed a lot of spirit."

That spirit showed again at White Hart Lane in April when Spurs came back from two goals down to draw 3-3, with Van der Vaart taking centre stage once more – this time converting twice from the spot to restore pride for Harry Redknapp's side.

"That felt a bit like a victory," he continued. "It was a great game, an open game and both teams wanted to win.

"Like at the Emirates, we fought to the end and you could see with our fans that it was a fantastic night."

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