Arsenal Top Scorers of All time
“History, Class, Tradition” is one of the mottos of Arsenal Football Club. Having been founded in 1886 by 17 gun-factory workers, Arsenal has become one of the most successful clubs in English football, and as any football fan knows, a big part of being successful in football is having top class goal scorers that can score regularly and lead the team to success.
In this regard Arsenal is not an exception, as they’ve had many great strikers playing for them over the years. From the legendary Clliff Bastin to Alan Smith and from Ian Wright to Henry and their current go-to man, Aubameyang, all are among the greatest forwards in English football but who actually makes Arsenal highest goal scorers of all time? Let’s find out.
Arsenal Top Goal Scorers Ever
Arsenal’s goal scorers have won the Golden Boot 12 times in English top flight, making Arsenal alongside Everton the clubs with the most number of Golden Boot winners, and with that record there is sure to be many world class players among Arsenal top goal scorers ever. But who are these players?! find out below:
10. David Jack
The only person among Arsenal top scorers of all time who was born in the 19th Century, David Jack was part of the Legendary manager Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal during the 30s, having arrived at the club from Bolton. It is said to be that Jack was the first ever player with a 5 figure transfer fee (est. £11,000). The fee raised a lot of eyebrows but chapman later recalled that “it was one of the best bargains I ever made” and he was proven right.
David Jack made his debut for Arsenal in 1928 and became the Arsenal’s top goal scorer that very same season. Although he joined Arsenal at the age of 29, he had a fairly long career at Arsenal, winning numerous honors. He won the FA Cup for the second time, this time with Arsenal, and also won the League 3 times with Arsenal.
On his personal records, it is to be said that he was the first person ever to score in Wembley stadium and his best goal scoring season came in 1930-31 season where he scored 34 goals, which helped Arsenal win their first ever League title. He retired at the end of 1933-34 season where Arsenal were champions again, having scored 124 goals in 208 matches for Arsenal, deserving a rightful spot among all-time top scorers in Arsenal history.
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9. Joe Hulme
Just like David Jack, Hulme was a part of Chapman’s Arsenal too. In fact, 5 of the players on this list were part of the Arsenal team that dominated during the 1930s and won the league 5 times and all of them, including Hulme, played a huge part in that.
Although Hulme was not as prolific a goal scorer as many of his teammates on this list were, partly because he played as a winger, he was very consistent in the number of goals he scored through the years. Consistently scoring 18 goals per season, barring any injury, and winning several medals on his way.
Joe Hulme was Chapman’s first great signing and was part of the 1930 FA Cup final in which Arsenal beat Huddersfield 2-0 and claimed their first ever major trophy. He won 4 league titles and 2 FA Cups while at Arsenal and became one of Arsenal top scorers of all time by scoring 125 goals in 374 appearances for the club.
8. Robin van Persie
The first player on this list from the modern era is Robin van Persie. The Dutchman is not at all a popular figure amongst Arsenal fans because, while being captain of the club, he left the club to join Manchester United, their biggest rivals at the time, and helped them win the Premier League. There are many fans who’d rather not see him among Arsenal top scorers of all time but also some who remember him fondly.
Van Persie joined Arsenal from Feynoord in the summer of 2004, just after Arsenal won the league without losing a single match. Although the first few years were great and Arsenal reached a UCL final, for the most part van Persie missed out on being part of the great Arsenal team that practically won everything. Instead he was part of the Emirates Era Arsenal that were not as successful, although he did win the FA Cup on his first season, he did win nothing else with the club.
Being the prodigy of both Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry is a thing that many dream about, but for van Persie it was the reality and he learnt well from his teachers. Primarily a winger with great pace and technique, van Persie honed his goal scoring abilities too and by the end of his career at Arsenal he became a ruthless finisher. His volleys and left foot strikes are still remembered fondly by football fans.
Robin van Persie’s career were marred by injuries and there was rarely a season where he didn’t have a long-term injury. Although he scored 22 and 37 goals in his last two seasons at Arsenal. In 2011-12 season, his last season at Arsenal, he won the Golden Boot by scoring 30 times in the league and becoming one of highest goal scorers in Arsenal of all time. All in all, van Persie scored 132 goals in 278 appearances for Arsenal and etched his name in Arsenal’s history.
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7. Doug Lishman
Douglas James Lishman was a player who played for 3 teams during his career, chief among them being Arsenal. Transferring from Walsall to Arsenal in 1948 for a fee of £10,500, Lishman was brought in to compete and eventually replace Arsenal’s main forward at the time, Reg Lewis, who was injury prone. But soon Lishman had injury problems of his own, which he later overcame and became one of Arsenal top scorers of all time.
After the 30s Arsenal lost much of their dominance in the league but managed to win the league on the heels of Lishman’s arrival to the club. Arsenal were hoping the build a team that would dominate once again and were somewhat successful as they won 1 FA Cup title and 1 First Division League title with Lishman up front.
Although he lost a lot of games while being at Arsenal, due to his injuires, Lishman became the top scorer of the club for 5 consecutive seasons, running from 1951 to 1955. In the 1952-53 season Lishman scored 22 times for Arsenal, helping them win the league over Preston North End by goal differences alone where his every goal was absolutely vital. Lishman left the Arsenal in 1956 having scored 137 goals in 244 matches for them, standing 7th among top scorers in Arsenal of all time.
6. Jimmy Brain
Technically 2 players occupy the 5th place among Arsenal’s top scorers of all time but Brain loses the 5th spot only because his goals per game ratio was lower than Drake.
Nonetheless, Jimmy Brain was certainly one of the greatest Arsenal strikers and Arsenal top goal scorers ever. Even though he arrived at Arsenal in 1923, Brain wasn’t part of the Arsenal’s Golden era of 1930s but his last years at Arsenal coincided with that and he was part of Arsenal’s team that won the club’s first ever league title in 1930-31.
Cruelly though because of being injured he was not selected for the team that won the FA Cup for the first time for Arsenal in 1929-30, missing out on winning a medal. This was towards the end of his career at Arsenal when he was replaced with David Jack, another Arsenal’s highest goal scorer of all time, and Lambert.
Jimmy Brain was the first ever Arsenal player to score over 100 goals for the club, passing the 100 goal mark in a 6-3 win over Liverpool in 1928, and becoming the first all-time top goal scorer in Arsenal history. Although he didn’t hold that title for very long. Jimmy Brain scored 139 goals in 232 games for Arsenal and ended up directly going to Tottenham, being one of the few players to do so, but no Arsenal could fault him for wanting to finish his career at a smaller team!
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5. Ted Drake
A Legend of Arsenal, Ted Drake was one of the greatest English forwards of all-time. The Englishman was frighteningly good in front of the goal. He was the first Arsenal player that won the Golden boot, a feat that only 6 players, 2 on this list, have done with the club.
He won the Golden Boot in 1934-35 season by scoring an astonishing amount of 42 goals in 41 games, with Arsenal being crowned Champions at the end of the season. his 42 goals that season included three hat-tricks and four four-goal hauls, which is just staggering. Drake’s 42 goals that season along with 2 goals in the FA Cup and Charity Shield make his 44 goals in a single season a club record that he still holds today.
During his 11 years at Arsenal Ted Drake scored 139 goals in 184 matches, the same amount as Jimmy Brain but in fewer games than him, becoming the joint 5th Arsenal top scorer of all time. He is one of the 32 players that are present in Emirates Stadium’s mural of Arsenal legends.
It is worth noting that he is a legend for another London Club as well and that club is Chelsea, although not for scoring goals but rather for being the manager that reinvented their club and won their first league title for them in 1954-55, something that Chelsea would repeat only once in the following 50 years.
4. John Radford
Raddy was an Arsenal man through and through. He started his journey at Arsenal in 1962 and came through the ranks of youth teams and reserves of Arsenal to the first team. He became part of the first team in 1965-66 season and remained so for nearly a decade. Although he initially played as a winger he would go on to score 19 goals in both 1968-69 and 1969-70 seasons, helping Arsenal reach Inter Cities Fair Cup final which they won. It was Arsenal’s first trophy in 17 years and their first European trophy.
It was in the following season that Radford and Arsenal shone, winning The Double of league and FA Cup, where Radford scored 21 goals and played a huge part. After that incredible Double though they didn’t manage to win the league again, Radford continued to score goals but gradually the goals came few and far in between, mainly due to his age and injuries, until he left the club in 1976 and joined West Ham United.
As a player, Radford was never applauded to be flamboyant, instead he was hard-working and ready for every battle. His work without the ball often freed space up for his teammates and his assists, including 2 in the 2-0 win of FA Cup final, proved most valuable to the club.
He became Arsenal’s youngest ever Hat-trick scorer at 17 years of age and still holds that record. Having scored 149 goals in 448 matches for Arsenal, John Radford has claimed the 4th spot amongst Arsenal highest goal scorers of all time.
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3. Cliff Bastin
The Boy Bastin as the Arsenal Players and fans used to call him is one of the greatest English players of all time, he was also Arsenal top scorer of all time from 1939 until 1997. He has been inducted to the English Hall of Fame of Football and along 6 other players from this list, is immortalized in a mural at Emirates stadium. His status amongst the fans is rightfully immense, but let’s see how he earned that status.
He made his debut playing football for Exeter City at the age of 15 and by age 17 he was convinced by Chapman to travel nearly half the country and join Arsenal in 1929. He remained at Arsenal until his retirement from football in 1947. As a player he was said to be very quick and good on the ball, as well as having a good eye for goal. It’s also known that Bastin was deaf from a young age, in at least one ear, and that his hearing worsened over time.
By the age of 19, Bastin had won a League title, the FA Cup and an England call-up, making him the youngest player to achieve those three honors. He is perhaps the most decorated player among Arsenal’s top scorers of all time, by winning 5 league titles and 2 FA Cups.
He scored 178 goals in 398 matches for the club and remained all-time Arsenal top goal scorer in Arsenal history for a long time. What makes his number of goals more impressive is the fact that he was a left winger and not a forward. it is because of his consistency and the amount of honors he achieved with Arsenal as well as the goals he scored for the club that even Arsenal fans today remember him and honor him as a true legend of Arsenal Football Club.
2. Ian Wright
Ian Wright is one of the most beloved players in Arsenal history. he arrived from Crystal Palace in 1991 for a then club record fee of £2.5m. he was already an established goal scorer but he took it to the next level at Arsenal. Wright scored on both his debut for the club, which was in League Cup, and his league debut, scoring a hat trick against Southampton, a fact that he repeated in the final league game of the same season against Southampton.
He would go on to win the Golden Boot the very first season at the club and continue to be Arsenal’s top scorer for 6 season in a row. Wrighty was charismatic outside the football pitch but he brought the same mentality on the field, where he was known for his outrageous, and quite often beautiful, goals. His incredible pace allowed him to run past defenders quite easily and usually chip the ball over the goalkeeper.
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Wright played under 3 different managers, and 2 caretakers, in his time at Arsenal and at times especially under Bruce Rioch he was unhappy and wanted to leave the club, but the arrival of Arsene Wenger in 1996 made him stay at the club. he won 4 cup trophies (2 FA Cups, 1 League Cup and 1 Cup Winners’ Cup), including the cup double of 1992-93 season, but he had to wait until his final days as an Arsenal man to win the Premier League for the first time, they also won the FA Cup that season and became the 2nd Arsenal side to do The Double.
Wright’s record breaking 179th goal came against Bolton Wanderers with a hat-trick and he memorably celebrated it, pictured below, with a “Just Done It” Tshirt which was a nod to Nike’s “Just Do It” motto.
In terms of goal scoring, Wright only failed to score more than 20+ goals a season once and that was his last year at the club. He scored 185 goals in 288 matches for Arsenal and became Arsenal top scorer of all time, until he was overtaken by the next player in our list in 2005!
1. Thierry Henry
A product of AS Monaco’s youth academy, Henry was discovered by Monaco’s manager at the time, Arsene Wenger, he was eventually called up to France National team where he won the 1998 World Cup. After the World Cup he chose to go to Juventus in the January of 1998. But a disappointing 6 months awaited him in Italy as he was played out of position, mainly as a wing back, for the majority of his playing time.
Henry met his former manager Arsene Wenger on an airplane and the two talked about the possibility of him moving to Arsenal, which he did at the start of 1999-2000 season. Although he was a winger, Arsene Wenger asked him to be a forward, seeing in him the qualities of a finisher and reluctantly Henry accepted the role. At first Henry struggled with scoring but once he got his first goal, he never stopped scoring again!
Henry won the Euro 2000 with France. Fueled with success at the national level, Henry was determined to win something with Arsenal too and after a frustrating season in 00-01, glory was afoot, as Henry scored 32 goals in all competitions of 01-02 season and helped Arsenal win the Double for the record 3rd time, a record they share with Manchester United.
In 2003-04 season, Arsenal did the impossible and achieved Arsene Wenger’s dream. They went an entire season without losing a single match, a record they extended to 49 games, and Henry was once again the Superstar, scoring 39 goals in all competition, he was named the Player of the Year for the 2nd time in a row. He became the first Arsenal player to win the European Golden Boot (which he repeated the next year becoming the first player to win it back to back) and also he was runner-up to the World Player of the Year award, losing to Ronaldinho.
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Later in 2005-06, Henry captained Arsenal on their way to Champions League glory, but heartbreak awaited them as they lost to Barcelona in the final. As Arsenal was rebuilding and the squad got younger, Henry felt that to win trophies he must leave Arsenal and he went to Barcelona in the summer of 2007.
Much could be said about his style of playing and his personal achievements, but in terms of being a striker, He was one of the fastest players ever, he was flamboyant and extremely gifted at dribbling past players, he was capable of powerful shots and he was an incredible playmaker as well, being the greatest assist provider in Arsenal’s history. Henry scored 228 goals in 377 games for Arsenal, winning the EPL’s Golden Boot 4 times being the only player to do so and becoming Arsenal top scorer of all time.
An Icon of Arsenal, Henry will forever be remembered by his magical genius and winning mentality, that made him great and helped Arsenal shine again.