This week our statistician Josh James looks at the number of players who have represented the Club so far this season.

With two more Premier League debuts being made last weekend, Arsenal have now used more players this season than in any previous league campaign in their history.

The introductions of Nico Yennaris and Ju Young Park took the total number of players used in the Premier League during 2011/12 to 32, beating the previous club record of 31, set in 1946/47.

The previous club record during the Premier League era was 30, set in 1994/95, 1999/2000 and 2009/10.

At the other end of the scale, the fewest players Arsenal have fielded in a league campaign is 16 – in both 1968/69 and 1970/71.

The 1970/71 squad was the first to win the league and cup double for the Club so the small number of players called upon is even more impressive. Bertie Mee's side played 64 games that season (which, at the time, was the most Arsenal had ever completed in a single campaign) with Bob Wilson and George Armstrong remaining ever-present.

Conversely, the 1946/47 squad played just 45 games (42 in the league), yet 31 players were needed. It was the first league season after the World War Two hiatus, and George Allison's side finished 13th in Division One.

History suggests, perhaps not surprisingly, that the more successful Arsenal teams in history have relied on fewer players. These teams have not been hit by injury and unavailability to as great an extent, and have clearly benefited from it.

Looking at the 13 league seasons in Arsenal's history that have featured the most players (29 or more), the average finishing league position is 9.2, though this does include a title-winning campaign (1937/38).

In contrast, the 13 seasons in which Arsenal used the fewest players (19 or under) have resulted in an average finishing position of 4.1, and included four championships.

Noticeably the Premier League season in which Arsenal used the fewest players was the unbeaten 2003/04 title, when 22 players tasted action. Overall the average number of players Arsenal use per league campaign is 23.96, yet purely looking at title-winning seasons, the average is 22.1.

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

Expanding the stats to include all competitions, Arsenal have used 38 players in total this season, just three away from the all-time club record (41), set in 2009/10.

As shown above, the number of players used per season in the league has not varied too much down the years. The overall figure (all competitions) of players used year on year however, has certainly increased in recent times.

During the Arsène Wenger era Arsenal field an average of 32.4 players per season overall. In comparison, for the 92 seasons prior to 1996/97, the seasonal average was just 23.61. That means Arsenal use an average of nine extra players per season under Wenger, compared to pre-1996.

In fact, each of the seven seasons in which Arsenal have used 33 players or more have all fallen in the Wenger era.


In likeliness the rise is due to the introduction of the Champions League, and the increased workload this means for the team.

During the 13 complete seasons of Champions League participation so far, Arsenal have averaged 58.23 games per season, a huge rise from the pre-war era for example. In fact Arsenal didn't play more than 50 games in a season until 1967/68.

Arsenal have used at least 21 players in each Champions League campaign alone, which inevitably also pushes up the overall total.

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

Twelve of the 32 players used in the league so far this term were making their Gunners debuts in the competition - the most debutants Arsenal have fielded in a single campaign since the inaugural 1992/93 season - and there are still 16 games remaining.

The total number of players who have appeared for Arsenal in Premier League history is now 156.

The 12 making their league bow so far this season are Gervinho, Emmanuel Frimpong, Carl Jenkinson, Ignasi Miquel, Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos, Yennaris and Park.

Injuries obviously account for a number of the changes made, yet the figures are also slightly distorted by the presence of six players who have played just once (including Samir Nasri and Nicklas Bendtner).

Of the 12 debutants, four came through the Arsenal academy, while the other eight signed for the Club during the summer.

The likes of Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski and Ryo have yet to feature in the league this season. Should they do so Arsenal will close in on the all-time Premier League record for most players used, currently held by Middlesbrough (with 37) in 2005/06.

Behind The Numbers

Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Jan 2012