Arsenal’s greatest strikers
Founded in 1886 by the munitions workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, Arsenal moved to Highbury in 1913. Since then, local rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur has led to the formation of the North London Derby, in which the two regularly battle it out for the top spot in matches that are as exciting as live roulette.
As one of the world’s best-known clubs, the Arsenal team has included some of the most impressive strikers in footballing history, including:
Currently managing France’s under-21 team, Thierry Henry was once a household name for his skill and scoring ability and he is widely considered to be one of the greatest strikers of all time. Arsenal has also acknowledged his contribution to their success by naming him as the club’s greatest-ever player.
It’s easy to see how he rose to the top in such an impressive way, simply by looking at the list of accolades he acquired, including:
- FWA Footballer of the Year
- PFA Players’ Player of the Year
- Member of the PFA Team of the Year
- FIFA Top 100 List
- Premier League Golden Boot
- FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball
- French Player of the Year
He is also known for being Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer with 228 goals across several different competitions. His final two seasons at Arsenal were spent as club captain during which time he took the team to the UEFA Champions League Final in 2006.
Another player who is widely considered one of the greatest of his generation, Dennis Bergkamp left his homeland of the Netherlands to move to Milan before joining Arsenal in 1995. There, he flourished and was in the team for three Premier League wins and four FA Cup wins, and he was in the team that played the final of the 2006 UEFA Champions League under Thierry Henry’s captaincy. He scored 119 goals during his time at Arsenal.
Bergkamp also played for the Netherlands national team and was part of the team they fielded for the Euro 1992 competition, during which he scored three goals as his team progressed to the semi-finals. Notably, in 1998, he scored the winning goal against Argentina in the quarterfinal of the FIFA World Cup in a shot that is often cited as one of the greatest goals in the history of the tournament.
Now known as a television and radio presenter and footballing pundit, Ian Wright’s career started relatively late when he began playing professional football at the age of twenty-two. However, he packed more into his career than most, and by the time he was twenty-eight, he commanded a record-breaking fee for his move to Arsenal.
Strikers are usually reaching the end of their careers by the age of thirty, but Ian Wright continues to confound expectations, breaking records into his fourth decade and providing fans with plenty of excitement on the pitch. He was Arsenal’s top scorer for six straight seasons, and with 185 goals to his name, he was the club’s top scorer of all time until Thierry Henry broke his record in 2005.
Robin van Persie
Another player of Dutch origin, van Persie made a name for himself with his incredible ball skills and ability to position himself perfectly to score. Another player whose skills have been cited as among the best of their generation, he is the current all-time top scorer for the Dutch national team as well as one the most impressive former members of the Arsenal squad.
Named as Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2002, van Persie went on to join Arsenal just two years later, stepping into the huge hole left by Dennis Bergkamp’s departure. Although he had been a winger when he played for the Dutch team Feyenoord, manager Arsene Wenger saw his potential as a striker, and van Persie went on to prove Wenger absolutely right.
Van Persie not only scored 132 goals for Arsenal, but he was captain of the team for the 2011-12 season before signing with Manchester United, then Turkish team Fenerbahce.
As Arsenal’s third-highest goal scorer of all time, Cliff Bastin set a lot of records for subsequent generations to beat, and his long and illustrious career. His first team was Exeter City where he played from the age of sixteen until he was spotted by Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman, who signed him just a year later.
By the time he was nineteen, he was the youngest player ever to have won a league title, the FA Cup, and played for England. After twenty-one appearances in his first season, Bastin proved himself on the pitch and went on to be a regular player in every season of the next decade, scoring a total of 178 goals during his time in the club.
With so many illustrious footballers to choose from, Arsenal’s excellent record for strong strikers has been the secret of their success for decades