Arsenal’s history is littered with trophies, success and goals. Today Arsenal are more talked about as a top 4 team, with most bookies pricing them well down the list as potential league winners, however Arsenal have produced some of English footballs greatest ever teams. Some of the greatest forwards in the history of English football have played in front of the Arsenal fans and here we take a look at five of the very best:
5. Ted Drake – 139 Goals
Not many players can say they served in the Royal Air Force and were first choice striker for Arsenal at the same time, but Drake is one of them. He played a lot of his football during wartime, making 167 league appearances for Arsenal between 1934-1945, but he peaked in his early days for Arsenal where his scoring record would be comparable with Cristiano Ronaldo’s in todays game.
In 1934-35, Drake scored 44 goals and played a major part in Arsenal winning a league and F.A Cup double. His 44 goal haul is a record that still stands to this day as the most goals scored by a player in a single season. The following season, 1935–36 Drake scored seven in a single match against Aston Villa at Villa Park on 14 December 1935, a club record and top flight record that also still stands.
4. John Radford – 149 Goals
Radford graduated through the youth ranks at Arsenal and would make his senior debut in 1964. He would play for Arsenal for 12 years, scoring 149 goals in 475 games.
Radford blossomed under the management of Bertie Mee and the peak of his career would coincide with a successful period in Arsenal’s history. Arsenal won the Fairs Cup in 1970, their first in seventeen years, with Radford scoring Arsenal’s second in a 3-0 second leg win which saw them clinch the cup. Radford scored 21 goals in 1970-71 and his goals and assists were integral to Arsenal clinching a league and F.A Cup double that year.
3. Cliff Basten – 178 Goals
For nearly 20 years Cliff Basten made a career of scoring goals for Arsenal. In a total of 396 games, Basten scored 178 goals between 1929-47. Basten will be best remembered as a key member of Herbet Chapman’s side that dominated England in the 1930’s. Basten won 5 league titles between 1930-38 and two F.A Cups as Arsenal embarked on one of the most successful era’s in their history.
Basten was Arsenal’s record goalscorer from 1939-1997, when his total was surpassed by…
2. Ian Wright – 185 Goals
Wright scored fewer league goals than Basten (128 compared to Basten’s 150), but his total is helped by an incredible 29 goals in the League Cup, a club record, as well as goals in Europe and the F.A Cup.
Wright didn’t start his professional career until he was 21, when he signed for Crystal Palace. After six years at Selhurst Park he moved to Highbury and immediately set the place alight. He scored on his debut in the League Cup against Leicester and then went two better, scoring a hat-trick against Southampton in his league debut. Wright won the golden boot that year and continued topping Arsenal’s scoring charts for seven glorious seasons.
1. Thierry Henry – 228 Goals
He will forever be remembered as ‘The King’ at Arsenal, and he may never be dethroned as Arsenal’s top scorer after he smashed Ian Wrights record of goals. Henry is Arsenal’s record league scorer with 176 Premier League strikes and Arsenal’s record goalscorer in Europe with a total of 42 goals.
Arsene Wenger signed Henry from Juventus in 1999 and at first it seemed his career was only going one way after a difficult start to life in England. However, once the goals started coming, they simply didn’t stop. Henry won the Premier League’s golden boot award 4 times between 2001-2006 and was an integral part of Arsenal’s team of ‘Invincibles’ in 2003-04 who went the entire league season unbeaten.
After departing for Barcelona in 2007, Henry returned to the club in 2012 on a short term loan, adding a solitary goal to his tally from seven games.