This week our statistician Josh James takes a look at instances of players scoring two goals in the same game.
Olivier Giroud scored a brace in each of his last two appearances, making it four doubles in all during the first six months of his Arsenal career.
He is one of 43 players during the Arsène Wenger era to score twice in the same game, and only nine of those players managed it more than four times. Not surprisingly, Thierry Henry leads the way - he found the net twice in the same game 42 times in his Arsenal career, not including hat-tricks. He is followed by Robin van Persie (24) and Dennis Bergkamp (10). But Giroud's doubles have arrived at a faster rate than anyone on the list - coming once every eight games. Henry scored a brace once every nine matches.
Giroud's four braces account for 62 per cent of his Arsenal goals so far - a very high proportion - yet there is one player on the list whose only two goals for the Club came in the same game. Jay Simpson scored two of Arsenal's three goals in the League Cup win over Wigan at Emirates Stadium on November 11, 2008. It was his second first team appearance (first start), and he only made one more sub appearance before joining current club Hull City.
Simpson was taken off with 14 minutes of that Wigan game remaining, meaning he was denied the opportunity to become the first player to score two hat-tricks at Emirates Stadium. The young forward had already become the first to claim the matchball at the venue - albeit in an FA Youth Cup game. The first player to score a brace at Emirates Stadium, incidentally, was Gilberto. The Brazilian converted two penalties in a 3-0 win over Spurs on December 2, 2006 - the 12th match at the stadium.
Arsenal braces under Arsène Wenger
|Robin van Persie||17||3||3||1||24||11.6|
|Jose Antonio Reyes||1||1||2||55|
|Luis Boa Morte||1||1||39|
* = Games per brace
There have been 173 occasions of a player scoring twice in the same game during the Wenger era, which works out as roughly 10 per season, or once every 5.4 matches on average. Already this term there have been eight braces scored (Giroud four, Gervinho, Arteta, Walcott and Chamakh one each) from 35 games so far.
Looking purely at the Premier League, Arsenal players have claimed 118 braces since Wenger took over in October 1996 (134 in all Premier League matches), with Thierry Henry second on the all-time Premier League individual list with 34, which is 12 behind Alan Shearer.
Arsenal have scored 20 Champions League braces, at a rate of one every 7.7 games. Again Henry leads the way with six of them, followed by Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie with three each. Raul is one ahead of Lionel Messi for the competition as a whole, while Henry is in fourth place, including goals for Monaco, Juventus and Barcelona.
Another feature of Giroud's goalscoring record is that the Gunners are yet to lose any of the nine games in which he has found the net. The total record is P9, W7, D2, F41, A20. The record when fellow summer signing Lukas Podolski scores is even more impressive: P11, W9, D2, L0, F42, A16.
Arsenal lost the first game that Mikel Arteta scored in (4-3 to Blackburn last season) but since then have won eight out of eight, conceding just once in the process. A longer unbeaten streak when scoring is currently held by Andrey Arshavin - Arsenal have not lost any of the last 23 games in which the Russian has been on the scoresheet, stretching back to August 2009.
As for recently departed players, Arsenal were unbeaten in the first 26 games in which Emmanuel Adebayor scored, winning each of the first nine without conceding. Carlos Vela finished his Gunners career with a flawless record of P8, W8, F31, A1 from the games in which he netted.
Cesc Fabregas also had a superb record when scoring. The only game in which he found the net that the Gunners ended up losing was the 2005 Community Shield against Chelsea. That means Arsenal were unbeaten in the 49 league, European and cup games which Fabregas scored in, winning 41 of them.
Stats correct as at January 29, 2013. With thanks to Opta.
Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme.