Goals win titles. Arsenal have won 62 in their time. As you would expect, therefore, they’ve had some of the game’s greatest goalscorers to help them along the way. In this list, we’ll go over the players who have netted the most times for the Gunners. It’s a list which spans ten men, 89 years, and 1536 goals.
10 Highest Scorers in Arsenal History
10. David Jack – 124 Goals, 1928-1934
League: 113, FA Cup: 10, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0, Other: 0
David Jack played for Arsenal for six years in total, scoring 113 times in 181 league appearances, with 124 goals across all competitions. As impressive as his numbers were, Jack was actually more prolific at Bolton Wanderers, the club he played for before joining Arsenal. There, he scored 144 times in 295 appearances, winning the FA Cup twice in the process.
At Arsenal, however, he was more successful in terms of silverware. He won three league titles in four years, as well as a third career FA Cup in 1930. He retired with a goals per games rate of better than one in two.
9. Joe Hulme – 125 Goals, 1926-1938
League: 107, FA Cup: 17, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0, Other: 0
Joe Hulme was a rarity in his day, a goalscoring winger. He scored 125 goals from the right flank for Arsenal between 1926 and 1938.
His exploits helped the Gunners on the way to three league titles and two FA Cup triumphs. He was twice more an FA Cup finalist before he hung up his boots in 1938 after a brief spell with Huddersfield Town.
Hulme was a terrific athlete. As well as football, he was a dab hand at cricket and played 225 times for Middlesex County.
8. Robin van Persie – 132 Goals, 2004-2012
League: 96, FA Cup: 10, League Cup: 6, Europe: 20, Other: 0
One of just two foreign players on this list, Robin van Persie was a deadly force during his time at Arsenal. He was a midfielder in his early days with the club after signing from Feyenoord, but the Dutchman was converted to an out-and-out striker by Arsene Wenger who recognised his supreme finishing ability.
In his last two seasons with Arsenal, Van Persie transformed from a solid striker into a truly world-class one. He scored 49 goals in all competitions in those two campaigns, a hit-rate which led Manchester United to sign him the following season.
For that reason, Van Persie was vilified by Arsenal fans who inevitably came to see him as a traitor. It was a shame for a player who had given so much for the club over his eight years at the Emirates.
7. Doug Lishman – 137 Goals, 1948-1956
League: 125, FA Cup: 10, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0, Other: 2
Doug Lishman played for Arsenal 226 times between 1948 and 1956. In that time, he scored tonnes of goals, 137 in total. He won just the one trophy with the Gunners, the First Division in 1952-52. Lishman was the top scorer that season, netting 22 times as Arsenal won the league on goal difference. His goal scoring figures deserved more trophies, in truth.
5. Ted Drake – 139 Goals, 1934-1945
League: 124, FA Cup: 12, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0, Other: 3
Had the Second World War not intervened, Ted Drake might well have found himself further up this list. He served in the RAF but was given special dispensation to return to play for Arsenal in the wartime games – there he managed to boost his tally at least a little.
His overall goal return was superb: 139 goals in 184 matches. He was a traditional number nine. His strength and ability to hold up the ball were pivotal to his game, but so too was his dazzling finishing ability. He won four titles with the club.
5. Jimmy Brain – 139 Goals, 1923-1931
League: 124, FA Cup: 14, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0, Other: 0
The curiously named Jimmy Brain is one of few players to have played for both Arsenal and their arch-rivals Tottenham. It was with the Gunners that he made the greatest impact, however.
He scored 139 goals in 232 games on the red side of north London. Due to injuries, he was never fortunate enough to earn a winners’ medal, but his legacy goes beyond just silverware – or lack thereof.
4. John Radford – 149 Goals, 1964-1976
League: 111, FA Cup: 15, League Cup: 12, Europe: 11, Other: 0
Only three players have scored more goals for Arsenal than John Radford. In the appearance charts too, Radford is among the most decorated in the club’s history; he sits 9th in that particular table.
Radford could play either as a striker or a winger, with many of his goals coming from wide positions. He won four trophies with Arsenal, including the famous First Division title in 1970-71.
3. Cliff Bastin – 178 Goals, 1929-1947
League: 150, FA Cup: 26, League Cup: 0, Other: 2
Like Ted Drake, Cliff Bastin would surely have found himself further up this list had it not been for the outbreak of the Second World War.
In 396 matches he scored 178 goals. A phenomenal return for a player who didn’t play as a striker. He turned out as winger and won seven major trophies with Arsenal, playing an integral part in one of the most successful eras in the club’s history.
2. Ian Wright – 185 Goals, 1991-1998
League: 128, FA Cup: 12, League Cup: 29, Europe: 15, Other: 1
Ian Wright, or “Wrighty” as he is affectionately known, is one of the most loved players in English football’s modern history. For Arsenal, he scored 185 times in 288 appearances. Those goals fired Arsenal to five titles in that time, including the Premier League in 1997-98.
He won 33 England caps too and is among the top scorers in the annals of the Premier League. His Premier League numbers are made all the more extraordinary when you consider that Wright played just six seasons for Arsenal in the competition.
1. Thierry Henry – 228 Goals, 1999-2007 & 2012
League: 175, FA Cup: 8, League Cup: 2, Europe: 42, Other: 1
Maybe the most impressive thing about Thierry Henry’s presence at the top of this list is the fact that he scored the majority of his goals playing, not as a striker, but as a wide player. Maybe the best footballer the Premier League has ever seen, Henry scored 228 games across all competitions.
He was integral as Arsenal forged a new identity for themselves under Arsene Wenger, playing stunning football and winning trophy after trophy. His first spell with the club ended in 2007, but he returned in 2012 for a brief cameo. Predictably, he added two more goals to his tally, including a famous strike against Leeds United on his second debut.