The 10 Top Scorers in History of Arsenal All-Time

Top Scorers in History of Arsenal All-Time: Arsenal Football Club, fondly known “The Gunners,” is a famous English Premier League team with a long and impressive history. The club was established in 1886 in the Holloway area of North London, specifically in Islington. Arsenal has won the English championship 13 times and secured victory in the FA Cup 14 times, making it one of the most successful football clubs.

Initially formed in 1886 as Dial Square by workers in Woolwich, the club experienced its first FA Cup win in 1930 under coach Herbert Chapman. They became English champions the following year. In the 1930s, they won five national championships and the FA Cup twice. The first double victory came under coach Bertie Mee, and in the 1980s and early 1990s, George Graham led the team to two championships, a domestic cup double, and victories in the FA Cup, League Cup, and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Under Arsène Wenger’s coaching, Arsenal achieved two more double victories in the English championship and the FA Cup during the 2001/02 and 2003/04 seasons. In the latter, they went unbeaten in the league, a remarkable feat. In the 2005/06 season, Arsenal reached their first-ever Champions League final. With 14 FA Cup wins, Arsenal holds the record for the most victories, with their latest triumph in 2020.

Since 2006, Arsenal has played its home games at the Emirates Stadium, which can accommodate 60,704 spectators. Before that, Highbury in the district of the same name served as the Gunners’ home from 1913.

Top Scorers in History of Arsenal All-Time

Now, let’s explore the top scorers in Arsenal’s history, highlighting their impressive accomplishments and the lasting impact they’ve on the club’s legacy.

1. Thierry Henry

  • Country: France
  • Career: 1999–2007, 2012
  • Games/Goals: 377 / 228

Thierry Henry, the legendary figure in Arsenal’s history, is widely regarded as the greatest icon the club has ever seen. Known for his exceptional technique, incredible speed, and astonishing power, Henry played a pivotal role in transforming Arsenal into an internationally recognized football powerhouse.

Henry, who played for both Arsenal and Chelsea, showcased his remarkable talent in various attacking positions. However, he primarily served as a center forward during his time with Arsenal. The French international, part of the Gunners from 1999 to 2007 and briefly in the 2011/2012 season (playing only 7 matches), holds the title of the club’s all-time top scorer with 228 goals. In summary, Henry played a key role in over 313 goals in 377 matches with Arsenal, contributing not just as a scorer but also providing at least 85 assists.

Henry’s playing style left an indelible mark on a generation, establishing him as the most well-rounded striker in Premier League history. He earned the Golden Boot in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Additionally, he set a record for the most assists in a Premiership season with 20 in 2002–03. Between 1999 and 2007, Henry secured 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, and 2 Community Shields with Arsenal, solidifying his status as the most influential and decisive player in the club’s history.

2. Ian Wright

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1991–1998
  • Games/Goals: 288 / 185

Ian Wright left an indelible mark on Arsenal despite joining at the age of 28 in 1991. Despite his later start, he quickly became one of the club’s greatest legends, known for his explosive style and goal-scoring prowess during the 1990s at Highbury.

Over his 7-year stint with Arsenal, Wright became the second-highest scorer in the club’s history, scoring an impressive 185 goals in 288 matches. His speed in the field, combined with exceptional ball handling, made him a formidable force. With 33 caps, he rarely lost possession in the opponent’s area, skillfully capitalizing on his teammates’ passes to create one-on-one opportunities and finishing with his trademark right-footed strikes.

The arrival of Dennis Bergkamp in 1995 complemented Wright perfectly, forming one of England’s best-attacking pairs at the time. This partnership allowed Wright to achieve the title of the club’s all-time top scorer in the 1997-98 season, his final campaign with Arsenal. During his 7 seasons with the Gunners, Wright secured 2 FA Cups, 1 Premier League, 1 League Cup, and 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup. His goals, along with his charismatic personality, undoubtedly left a lasting impression on a generation of Arsenal fans.

3. Cliff Bastin

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1929–1947
  • Games/Goals: 396 / 178

Cliff Bastin holds the position as the third-highest scorer in the history of Arsenal. Born near Exeter in Heavitree, Bastin kick-started his career with the local club, Exeter City. After just 17 games and six goals, Arsenal FC, led by coach Herbert Chapman and on their way to becoming a dominant force in English football in the 1930s, recognized his potential and secured him for £2,000.

Bastin spent his entire career with Arsenal, playing 396 games and scoring 178 goals. His goal tally made him Arsenal London’s record goalscorer until 1997 when Ian Wright surpassed him. Thierry Henry then overtook both Bastin and Wright in 2005. Notably, Bastin’s record of 150 league goals for Arsenal stood for a while and was equaled by Henry on January 14, 2006. It’s worth highlighting that Bastin achieved this impressive goal count not as a center forward but as a winger. His excellent partnership with Alex James played a crucial role in his goal-scoring success.

Bastin’s goal record, especially as a winger, was remarkable and likely would have endured even longer if not for the interruption caused by the outbreak of the Second World War, leading to the cancellation of play during the 1939/40 season.

4. John Radford

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1964–1976
  • Games/Goals: 481 / 149

John Radford, the fourth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, was born in Hemsworth, Yorkshire, to a butcher. He started his journey with Arsenal as an apprentice in 1962 and became a professional player in February 1964. Initially playing as an inside forward or center forward and occasionally on the right wing, Radford showcased his goal-scoring prowess in the youth and reserve teams.

Radford made his first-team debut against West Ham United on March 21, 1964, and made 15 appearances the following season. He quickly made a mark by becoming Arsenal’s youngest-ever hat-trick scorer at the age of 17 years and 315 days against Wolves on January 2, 1965. Under the management of Bertie Mee, Radford became a regular for Arsenal, even though he was shifted to the right wing. In the 1968-69 season, he scored nineteen goals and helped the team reach the League Cup final. The 1969-70 season saw him score nineteen goals again, contributing to Arsenal’s victory in the 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, their first trophy in seventeen years.

During the 1970-71 season, Radford achieved his best single-season tally of 21 goals, forming a successful partnership with Ray Kennedy. His contributions were crucial in Arsenal’s FA Cup and League Championship double-winning season. Radford continued to play a vital role in the following seasons, scoring goals and providing assists. In total, Radford played 481 times for Arsenal, scoring 149 goals, making him the club’s fourth all-time top scorer. His influence extended into the early 1970s, gradually reducing due to a declining goal rate and injuries. Despite changes in the team’s attacking lineup, Radford’s legacy as a prolific goal-scorer for Arsenal remains significant.

5. Jimmy Brain

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1923–1931
  • Games/Goals: 232 / 139

Jimmy Brain, the fifth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, was born in Bristol. He began his football journey in Wales, facing an unsuccessful trial at Cardiff City before establishing himself at Ton Pentre. In 1923, Brain made a significant move to Arsenal, where he spent eight successful years becoming one of the club’s most prolific goalscorers.

Throughout his career, Brain showcased his prolific striking abilities, leading Arsenal in goals for four consecutive seasons from 1924–25 to 1928–29. His standout performance came in the 1925–26 season when he scored an impressive 39 goals, ranking second only to Ted Drake’s 45 goals in 1934–35, including four hat tricks. In the following season, 1926–27, Brain continued his goal-scoring prowess with 34 goals, featuring two four-goal tallies against Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. Despite his remarkable contributions, Arsenal lost the FA Cup final in 1926–27 due to a mistake by the goalkeeper.

However, Brain’s form declined, and in the 1929–30 season, he faced tough competition for the front spot. Players like Jack Lambert, David Jack, and Dave Halliday were preferred over him, leading to Brain playing only six league matches.

6. Ted Drake

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1934–1945
  • Games/Goals: 184 / 139

Ted Drake, the sixth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, was born in Southampton and began playing football at Winchester City. He turned professional and joined Southampton FC in 1931, showcasing his goal-scoring prowess by scoring three goals on his debut and a total of 48 goals in 72 championship games. In addition to football, Drake also played cricket for Hampshire County Cricket Club.

In March 1934, Drake made a significant move to Arsenal FC for £6,500, scoring on his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Although he missed the chance for an official championship medal that season, Arsenal won the English championship. Drake made up for it in the following season, scoring an impressive 42 goals in 41 league games as Arsenal defended their title. With two more goals in the FA Cup and the Charity Shield, Drake set a club record with 44 goals in a season.

With 139 goals in 184 games, Ted Drake is the sixth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, tied with Jimmy Brain. He also made significant contributions to the English national team, playing in five games and scoring six goals. Drake was one of seven Arsenal players who represented England in the famous “Battle of Highbury” against the world champions Italy in November 1934.

7. Doug Lishman

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1948–1956
  • Games/Goals: 244 / 137

Doug Lishman, the seventh-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, was signed by the club in the summer of 1948 for £10,500, serving as backup for Reg Lewis. Despite Lewis being frequently injured, Lishman made his debut against Sheffield United on September 4, 1948. In his first season, he showed promise, scoring 13 goals in 25 appearances. However, the following seasons, 1949–50 and 1950–51, were plagued by injuries.

Lishman was not chosen for the 1950 FA Cup Final, where Arsenal emerged victorious, in favor of Lewis and Peter Goring. Just as he returned to the first team, he suffered a leg break playing against Stoke City in December 1950. Despite these setbacks, Lishman made a strong comeback, becoming Arsenal’s top scorer in the 1950–51 season and scoring 30 goals the next season, including three hat-tricks in three successive home matches. Although Arsenal finished third that season, Lishman’s goal-scoring prowess was evident.

Lishman maintained his position as Arsenal’s top scorer for two more seasons, making it five successive seasons as the club’s top scorer. As younger players like Derek Tapscott and David Herd took on goalscoring duties for Arsenal, Lishman was dropped from the first team in 1955–56. In total, he scored 137 goals in 244 appearances, securing his place as the seventh-highest goalscorer in Arsenal’s history. Despite never receiving a full international cap, Lishman’s contributions and goal-scoring prowess left a lasting impact on the club.

8. Robin van Persie

  • Country: Netherlands
  • Career: 2004–2012
  • Games/Goals: 278 / 132

Robin van Persie, the eighth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, stands out as the most unpredictable striker. The Dutch international played for Arsenal for eight seasons, showcasing a complete set of skills. Known for his exceptional vision, unique dribbling abilities, and magical left foot, van Persie was a truly versatile player.

His dribbling skills were extraordinary, allowing him to navigate through challenging situations, and his ability to shoot from seemingly impossible angles set him apart.

Van Persie secured his place as the 8th-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history with an impressive tally of 132 goals. Despite his unique talent and goal-scoring prowess, it’s noteworthy that he did not win the Premier League with the Gunners during his time with the club.

9. Joe Hulme

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1926–1938
  • Games/Goals: 374 / 125

Joe Hulme, the ninth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, was born in Stafford and typically played as a right winger. His football journey began outside of professional football when he joined York City in 1923. In February 1924, he moved to Blackburn Rovers and spent two seasons at Ewood Park, playing in 74 Championship games and scoring six goals.

In 1926, Hulme became one of the first signings by the legendary Arsenal manager, Herbert Chapman. Known for his above-average ball security and speed, Hulme became a key player for Arsenal, remaining with the club for twelve seasons.

His contributions were integral to the success of the Arsenal team in the 1930s, marking him as an important and consistent figure in the club’s history.

10. David Jack

  • Country: England
  • Career: 1928–1934
  • Games/Goals: 208 / 124

David Jack, the tenth-highest scorer in Arsenal’s history, was born in Bolton and commenced his football career in 1919 at Plymouth Argyle, where his father had previously played. During his time at Plymouth Argyle, he scored eleven goals in 48 games. In 1920, Jack returned to his hometown to play for Bolton Wanderers for £3,500. Over eight seasons with the “Trotters,” he formed an effective attacking partnership, notably with Joe Smith. Jack made history in the 1923 FA Cup final by scoring the first goal at Wembley Stadium.

In 1926, Jack secured another FA Cup victory with Bolton and, two years later, was signed by Herbert Chapman, the coach of Arsenal FC, for a then-record transfer fee of £10,890—almost doubling the existing record. According to historical accounts, Chapman’s negotiation tactics included getting the Bolton management inebriated with gin and tonic while abstaining himself.

Upon joining Highbury, Jack immediately became a crucial asset, consistently being the club’s top goalscorer in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He contributed to three English championships and another FA Cup, concluding his successful career with the 1933/34 season, which marked Arsenal’s last championship title in 1934. In total, Jack scored 124 goals in 208 games for Arsenal, earning him the distinction of being the tenth-best goalscorer in the club’s history.

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