Pepe problems – How long Arsenal’s Top Ten strikers took to score their first goals

There was just a small sign on Monday night that Gooners are getting tired of making excuses for Pepe. He has broken his duck for us, but let’s be honest we were expecting more than one penalty going into October. Essentially you pay 72 million for a talent to win games at Old Trafford, yet Unai Emery chose to keep Saka on ahead of him.

Wherever it’s adapting to the physical nature of our League, learning a new language, etc, at the moment the winger is trying to force things. Yet our history shows some of the greatest ever players to ever wear our shirt start slowly. Indeed, if we gave up on everyone after their first two months, we might not have seen the legends they would become.

Below is our top 10 Prem goal scorers, comparing how quickly they got off the mark (sorry Pepe, penalties don’t count). This might cheer Pepe up a bit…

Adebayor – 46- Scored on Prem debut.

Don’t worry will very soon be knocked out of our top 10 by fellow African Aubameyang. He was brought in the winter of 2006 to get him ready for the following season. As Arsene Wenger increasingly prioritised our route to the Champion’s League Final, he gave the Togo striker game time quicker than he planned due to him being ineligible to play in Europe. He took his chance scoring 21 minutes into his debut against Birmingham. When Henry left he became our main man in front of goal, but this was simply a sign of things to come. Good form would earn decent contracts at which point he would go missing. Has become very rich but could have been so much more.

Ljungberg 46- Scored on his debut

One of Arsene Wenger’s best pieces of business signing our current assistant manager for just 3 million in September 1998. While some would have been familiar with his exploits for Sweden against England, there was no pressure on him to start as well as he did, scoring against Manchester United soon after coming on as a sub. His tendency to score crucial goals made his him a cult favourite at Arsenal, especially when he stepped up after Pires got injured to carry us to the Double in 2002. His understanding with Bergkamp was crucial to our most successful period in our history. Could he be our next manager?

Sanchez – 53 – Scored first Prem goal in his second game

For so long it seemed like he would go on to become a Prem legend, getting over 50 goals for us in fairly quick order. Not the leader we needed him to be though, his body language poor at a time when our young dressing room needed confidence. After 3 great seasons, the assumption was he was sulking in his final few months for us based on not wanting to be at the Emirates anymore. Yet he’s been such a flop at Man United it’s left many asking what’s happened to the man mentally. Is now being paid lots of money to play in Italy where he’s trying to rebuild his career

Pires – 62- Took 8 games to score first Prem goal

In what you hope is parallels to Pepe, Pires needed time to adapt to the physical nature of English Football. Once he found his confidence though, he was suddenly showing amazing movement off the ball, him and Freddie often popping up all over the place. His understanding with Cole and Henry on our left side was instrumental to greatest period in our history. Now coaching at Arsenal, so can show empathy to Pepe.

Theo Walcott – 65- Didn’t score a Prem goal till his 35th attempt.

By the time the teenager scored his first Prem goal we knew a lot about him; too much probably! Arsene Wenger’s attempt to keep him out of the limelight were ruined by England taking him to the World Cup, despite the 16-year-old yet to kick a ball for us. By this point had scored in cups but in the League was mostly used as our super sub, with his pace a great weapon to use late on, hence statistics are a bit misleading. Theo always had ambitions to be our central striker and even refused to extend his contract over the issue. The reality was he didn’t have the footballing brain for the role, especially when we started to play 1 up front. The man himself would admit to being too nice and needing to find a mean streak. Despite scoring over 100 goals for the Gunners, the consensus is that he didn’t develop like he should have. One of many who grew too comfortable under Mr Wenger, hence the need for a fresh challenge at Everton, although it hasn’t happened for him yet at Goodison.

Giroud – 73 goals – Took 7 games to score first Prem goal

Some gooners might remember a sitter he missed on his debut but that sums up the Frenchmen perfectly. He could miss some easy chances yet score some worldies. Divides opinion but in my opinion he is underrated, it’s not his fault the club never had the ambition to buy someone to play up front with him. Oli was the best plan B in the Prem, and to me we didn’t notice what we had till he was gone. Would love to still have him as an option from the bench

Bergkamp – 83- 7 games till first Prem goal

This should raise Pepe’s spirits. One of the greatest players we ever had, had to wait 7 games for his first goal, which combined with his struggles in Italy left many wondering if he had lost his magic touch? The reality was the Dutchmen was never a great goal scorer but simply a scorer of great goals.ñ

Van Persie – 96- took 6 games to score first Prem goal

Would have scored more if not for fitness issues, which is why many gooners view him as disloyal for leaving us. Almost single-handedly carried one of our worst ever squads into the top 4, but that was the only time in 8 years he had stayed injury free. Whisper it quietly he didn’t say anything about our lack of ambition which many gooners haven’t already said, and the owners are yet to prove him wrong.

Ian Wright – 128 (including old First Division) scored hat trick on League Debut

Just a natural born goal scorer but seemed to appreciate it that little bit more due to being late to turn professional. Perhaps it was because he didn’t take it for granted that made him so identifiable with Gooners. Few talk about ‘the Arsenal’ as fondly as the striker, who would tell stories about staying up late round David Rocastle’s house and hearing stories about ‘The Arsenal’
In 1998 became our greatest ever scorer, celebrating by unveiling the Nike, ‘Just Done It shirt’ which famously he was premature in displaying. Ironically he got the title medal he craved in his lowest scoring campaign for us.

Thierry Henry 174 – took 8 games to score first Prem goal

Perhaps Arsene Wenger’s greatest tactical move was convincing Henry to make the transition from a winger to a striker. The Frenchmen had just won the World Cup on the left so didn’t understand why he was being asked to learn a new position, with his manager having seen something in him while a youngster at Monaco. As Henry continued to fluff his lines, the more he sulked that he didn’t want to be a striker, our ex-boss showing amazing man-management to keep believing in him even when fans and teammates were left baffled by some of the misses he was producing. His first goal was a wonder goal against Southampton. The rest, as they say, is history….

Dan Smith


  1. Love out of all of them Wrighty went one better (actually 3x 😁) and scored a hat trick 😍 love him!
    As we all know, Auba scored on his & Laca scored after 94 seconds on his PL debut!! So, Pepe, it can be done… unfortunately yours has come and gone…. oh if only at Anfield…..


    Pepe will come good. Good he knows he needs to step up and Emery is handling him quite well.

    My only problem with Emery is getting his selection wrong.
    You can’t dominate if you don’t know your best first 11 players.

    Hopefully with everyone back fully fit he will realize his best 11.

    1. Lets give Emery of a thing a rest. He has a different philosophy to what you, expect? Fine, as long as results are coming on well, its fine.

    2. That has been the problem and he is so stubborn he just want to implement his own ideas and for now nothing is working yet, he’s also the reason Pepe is losing his confidence the right back and left back are not good enough can’t wait till Bellerin and Tierney are back ,emery needs to play his players is their position and we need a playmaker to feed the strikers ,emery his the main problem of arsenal the earlier we see it the better he has good players ,thos players just need a good coach

  3. Am not so worried about Pepe, he is a foreign player in new land, working in totally new environment needing time to adapt. Am not surprised most fans are calling him names,some even saying arsenal should request for a refund, well all this are result of frustration from past years, several years of failure has turned most fans to trolls ,full of negativity, no one want to be patient anymore, even 80% are calling for the coach sack after just few games into the new season with just a loss, its baffling

    1. @adajim.

      Agree passionately with every single word you have posted above, brilliantly put.

      Also @SJ above your postings.

      As a loyal fan of many years standing witnessing many ups & downs don’t get me wrong, I can be as critical as the rest. In others words, not simply a “sheepish” naïve follower who will put up with anything and keep schtum.

      But something is really depressing me about an element of the current fan base.

      Is it perhaps some who came on board in early “Wenger years”, maybe expect the success that initially followed then now – instantly / overnight ?

      I honestly don’t know.

      The above is more of a rarity than the norm…. Ferguson, Klopp, Guardiola for instance.

      Not saying UE sits comfortably in the above mentioned company (2 of whom we could have probably landed at the time), but you get my point.

      Unai can “stretch your patience” at times, add clearly Pepe has not settled as yet – but some comments I have read – come on !

      However it must be remembered people are entitled to their opinion, however much others may hold a totally opposite view.

      I always console myself (when I’ve calmed down) that at least we all bother to care about our great club – genuinely and seriously I trust.

      P.S. In fact the thing that baffles me, is “Poch” continues to be considered a “great” manager in some quarters ????????????

      1. Oh that elitism, I think fans are on equal standing, they care and support the club so no point in belittling others. The rage is better than the status quo, I will be more amazed if fans said “Good job Emery, you are the man!” “Bravo Xhaka, Luiz, and Sokratis for another excellent display” etc.

        1. Did I not write ;

          “I can be as critical as the rest. In others words, not simply a “sheepish” naïve follower who will put up with anything and keep schtum.


          elitism ?

          I think fans are on equal standing, ?

          belittling others ?

          “Bravo Xhaka, Luiz, and Sokratis for another excellent display” (I don’t particularly rate any of the three you list) !

          Apologies for having a view that may be different to yours, if indeed it is. We may share more common views than you think – but you have obviously pre-judged me.

          But please don’t put words in my mouth.

          I was simply agreeing with @adajim that some of the (IN MY OPINION) hypercriticism may be borne out of FRUSTRATION from an earlier era.

          Believe it or not, I don’t share a half time platter of prawn sandwiches with Sir Chips Cheswick.

          1. Ok apologies too, believe it or not at the beginning of the season I was positive and ready to give Emery another year before judging him. But what I’ve seen so far is ugly to say the least: Luiz gave away goals, Xhaka’s rash challenge, Sokratis’s shocking blunder, Ozil excluded, Chambers benched, AMN’s red card, and so on. That’s all the justification for being critical. So seeing someone says fans shouldn’t be critical immediately ticks me off. But I get your point and sorry for prejudging you, as you said it was borne out of frustation of this current state more than anything.

          2. @350oz.

            No worries, and I in turn apologies if I gave the impression I was trying to belittle anyone – that was sincerely not my intention.

            In fact , when I meet a person for the first time and later discover they’re a fellow Gooner they immediately become a better human being in my eyes :_)


            I can assure you @350oz, I more than share your frustration over many issues at our great club right now (just ask anyone who knows me, but I guess I’m just a little gutted at the way in which our “new dawn” may be playing out.

            Anyway on to tonight, then B’muff on Sunday.

            Look after yourself.

          3. No problem, it was my silly comment to begin with and I see you are passionately supporting the club, so all is good!
            Let’s hope for a good match and a win tonight, cheers.

    2. Emery is the problem he needs to leave, plays players in the position that don’t suit them and we expect a good result this how it will be till he’s gone and he needs to field Ozil , we need a playmaker.

  4. 70m is a lot for little return so far.
    It’s more of a problem because 55m Lacazette is a month into his latest injury break.
    125m worth not performing is a worry.
    And we still have 350k p/w Ozil in retirement mode, 170k p/w Mkhitarian in Rome 43m Mustafi in the reserves and 125k p/w Kolasinac lumbering along on the flank and weak Xhaka.
    Lacazette Ozil Mustafi Mkhitarian Kolasinac and Xhaka are all Wenger deadwood.
    Until the Wenger deadwood is unloaded the team can not be expected to make top 6.

  5. OT.
    I really feel sorry for our coach. I feel he is a bit confused, the media pressure, couple with club and fans demands are really getting to him making him lose his identity.
    Why do i feel so?
    1. From his past records, i dont think he is a negative coach who only know out to defend, in psg, his team was an attacking team, even against liverpool in uel finals, he didnt seatback to defend
    2. His first few games we saw glimpses of quality attacking footbal, even from fullbacks, but unfortunately we were unlucky to play big boys early, we conceeded loads of goals and media began to write BS about arsenal shitty defence
    3. In order to reduce goals conceeded, he started droping most attack minded mf, trusting on physically strong ones, introducing defensive formation/tactics, and still most unfortunately, defensive injury crisis.
    4. He tinkered and tinkered and lost his best eleven, i can go on and on, we all know d rest of that story.
    5. He has just this season to meet his target of top4/ucl and so he doesnt even care about philosophy or identity anymore but just results,
    So for all of you expecting beautiful footbal, you might get it against lesser opposition or wait till top 4 is in d bag.
    This man isnt a mediocre coach as some think, he might not be the one to win us trophies but he can help us get back to UCL places which is what i feel he is trying to do

    1. You do have a point, but I think the defensive setup is only needed when going up against the likes of Liverpool, City, R.Madrid, Barcelona, etc. Why he fielded three defensive midfielders against Man Utd and spuds? They were low in confidence and had lots of problems when we played them. That’s the perfect chance to attack, score a quick goal, and ship more goals when they opened up.
      He had Ceballos and Ozil, the latter was great in the first half against Watford, even involved in the buildup of the goal. Ceballos is still developing but good regardless.

      1. I didnt think Xhaka and Gued are DM though, 4-3-3 was a good formation, maybe Ceballos qould have done better than Torreira against MU, no one knows, we say what happened when we fielded cm against liverpool, however, underestimating opponent means one is planning to fail. I think we did fine in both spur/MU games, unfortunately our defenders had brain fart and to have such comebacks and almost winning is commendable, no game is easy, esp big 6

        1. Yeah,there is a possibility we are beaten like Chelsea (the first match of this season) so fair point. But at least Emery, be more attacking and dominating against bottom half opponents. The matches against watford and aston villa are embarrasing, especially the latter as players were celebrating the comeback like winning World Cup. The question is why were they allowed themselves in such predicament? I believe asking for some game managements are not too much.



    saka martineli

    Smith Rowe

    Willock Torreira Guendouzi, Aisley mn

    Tierney Saliba Holding Bellerin Chambers


    substitutes, NELSON PEPE


  7. Oh my, that list is filled with a lot of treacherous bastards: Adebayor, Sanchez, RVP
    Btw based on that list, it could be argued that great attackers only need 8 games max for them to start performing. Beyond that number, expect a Theo Walcott situation. His total number of goals is misleading considering he was in this club for 10+ years (on average 6-7 goals a year). It’s Sanchez’s number that is exceptional (I’m talking about the last 10 years) because RVP and Giroud were in this club for a longer period of time than him.

  8. It’s not Pepe but the coaches system that is holding him Back ,why buy a player in this mould if you are not going to use him to his strengths.

    1. I have a question.
      Should a coach play to certain player strenght or create a system/tactic where all player function well? Coz i heard ppl complaining same about few other players.
      And so what strenght do you think pepe has , should he be used at free role or striker. The man himself admitted he hasnt been playing well

    2. He’s playing him in the right position. What strengths are you referring to that Emery is avoiding? He is a right winger and playing in that position

      1. And you called me out for Not being a Real fan Innit …
        Maybe watch a game mate then I wouldn’t have to answer your questions

  9. Pepe us a winger who can score and deliver passes, he is just too lazy to chase balls, not working hard which usually gets rewarded by goals. Look at players all working hard but not Pepe who actually thinks he is our team top player because of his price tag.

    Not chasing makes him less agressive than opponent in EPL, less hungry and easy to handle. Attacking players are first defender, you saw how game changed when Nelson took over, making a difference because he chases the ball…

    Henry or Auba today, you see them run, Sanchez was all over, a poison impossible to handle.

    Pepe is a winger and must work even more so as a RB infront of him will be flying forward as often in modern football. We out numbered then, blaming on Niles played out of position too.

    When Pepe starts chasing, he will be more in motion, very hard to play, running out opponent up and down on that. Now LB and winger are pounding on our LB, Bellerin wont change that; he has to handle a winger and LB who Pepe suppose to chase.

    If pay attention, Niles is running so much and alone on that flank, with Saka on other flank, it is not as difficult for our LB who is able to run forward.

    Football very basic is to keep your man all game long, dont leave him a breather. Auba or Laca chase defenders and goalkeeper, lead them to make mistakes… Then it is called an opponent’s gift, no it’s not, that’s hard work’s well deserved reward.

    Pepe must seat and watch Auba , Saka, Martinelli, Nelson run, do so more than they do at training before to make first team ahead of these players. Age means nothing nor 80M Price tag, obviously not.

    1. Chasing opponent is a must in football, more so in EPL. Wenger obliged players to do so, Emery is to blame to not do so as of first game with Pepe. That’s how you adapt to EPL, intensity comes from that physical effort all game long.

  10. The bad news for forwards from Dutch and French clubs is that they took the longest to adjust, playing an average of 18 games before they reached their previous level. copied from a BBC write up in July this year.

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