Arsenal have had some incredible strikers over the years, including many, of course, who plied their trade well before the inaugural Premier League season in 1992. For a long time, their top goalscorer was the legendary Cliff Bastin, who notched 178 goals in total for the Gunners between 1929 and 1947. Other names from the 1920s through to the 1970s who have scored heavily for the club include John Radford (149 goals), Jimmy Brain (139), and Ted Drake (also 139).
However, here our focus is solely on Arsenal stars who have banged in goals in the Premier League. Have any Arsenal footballers scored 100 or more Premier League goals? Let’s take a look.
Players to Score 100 or More Premier League Goals for Arsenal
There are different ways of thinking about this question so we will start with the more impressive feat of those who have actually scored 100+ PL goals for Arsenal. After that, we will consider other players who have played for the club, scored for the Gunners and reached 100 or more strikes in the Premier League, even if not all of those were for Arsenal.
Thierry Henry – 175 Goals in 258 Games
Arsenal’s top scorer in the Premier League is the elegant, sensational, Thierry Henry. The Frenchman played for the Gunners over a period of 13 years from 1999 onwards, although almost all of his goals were scored during his first spell from 1999 to 2007. He returned for four league games, scoring once, in 2012, and Arsenal is the only English team he has turned out for.
Henry is also the club’s top scorer overall, with an impressive 228 goals from 377 games. His goals-per-game ratio in the league stands at 0.68, which is the best strike rate of any of the Premier League’s centurions (though Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero are both close on 0.67). Henry is a true legend of the club and thanks to that table-topping scoring pace (until Erling Haaland reaches 100 PL goals anyway!) and the beauty he brought to the game, the French wizard has a decent claim to be the top Premier League strike ever.
Ian Wright – 104 Goals in 191 Games (for Arsenal)
Ian Wright is another player who is unquestionably a Gunners icon. He was the club’s top goalscorer for several years after surpassing Cliff Bastin, before he too was usurped by Henry. Whilst Wrighty is only really ever thought of in the red of Arsenal, he also played for West Ham in the Premier League, adding a further nine strikes (from 22 games) to his tally. So, 113 Premier League goals in all, the former Crystal Palace hitman getting his goals at a rate of 0.53 per match.
Wright also played for both Palace and Arsenal in the top tier of English football prior to the inception of the PL, so we are not considering those goals here. He joined the Gunners in September 1991 though, and scored on his debut, in the League Cup, before slamming home a hat-trick on his league debut. That really showed the Gunners faithful what they could expect from Wright and he finished with 185 Arsenal goals in all competitions, netting nine for England (in 33 appearances).
Players Who Played for Arsenal and Scored 100+ Premier League Goals in their Career
Just two players banged in over 100 goals in the PL for Arsenal and it is fitting that those two are the club’s top two goalscorers of all time. However, there are actually two former Gunners who managed to register more Premier League goals than Wright, even if they trail the imperious Henry by some margin.
Robin van Persie – 144 Premier League Goals (96 for Arsenal)
Dutch master RVP rather sullied his reputation at Arsenal by jumping ship to join Man United but there is no denying he was an incredible striker. He was perhaps the most natural finisher the club has ever seen and he could score with his head or either foot. He was also brilliant at linking play and provided over 50 Premier League assists as well
He signed for Arsenal in 2004 and enjoyed his most productive season in 2011/12, his last with the club. That year he banged in 30 in 38 PL games, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him for United. He moved in August 2012, ending on 96 Premier League goals for Arsenal. 48 more top flight goals followed, including 26 the following season as he defended his Golden Boot and fired United to the title.
Nicolas Anelka – 125 Premier League Goals (23 for Arsenal)
Anelka was a player who promised so much but never quite fulfilled his potential and was often charged with having a bad attitude. Nevertheless, he ended his career with 125 PL goals, spread over six clubs. That those six include Arsenal (23 PL goals), Liverpool (four), Man City (37) and Chelsea (38) shows just how highly he was regarded by so many great managers. Moreover, talk of unfulfilled promise could be seen as harsh for a man with more Premier League goals than Romelu Lukaku, the Gunners’ very own Ian Wright, Didier Drogba and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
He moved to Arenal at the age of just 17 too, which was always going to make settling difficult. On his day he was unplayable: fast, skilful and a brilliant finisher. In addition to the top English sides he represented, he also turned out for PSG and Real Madrid, as well as playing for France 69 times. So not such a terrible career after all!
Best of the Current Crop
No current Arsenal player is anywhere near hitting their century of Premier League goals but the best, and 14th overall in terms of PL goals scored for Arsenal, is Bukayo Saka. The brilliant wideman has 36 Premier League goals at the time of writing and seems to be getting better and better. If he stays with the club for another five years there is every chance he will join the 100 club.
Gabriel Martinelli is next with 28 PL goals and is another who could well get to three figures for the Gunners. Martin Odegaard has 27 and the fact that none of these players are out-and-out strikers says a lot about Arsenal’s style of play. All three are young too, with Saka and Martinelli both 22 and Odegaard the old stager at 25. If those three stick around, the future certainly looks bright for the Gunners, and Henry and Wright could well find themselves with company in their hitherto elite gang of two.