This week our statistician Josh James looks at Arsenal's most prolific marksmen.
Robin van Persie has become only the third Arsenal player in the last 40 years to score 25 league goals in a single season, following Malcolm Macdonald (1976/77) and Thierry Henry (2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06), and only the 15th in the history of the Club to reach the landmark.
And with 11 league games still remaining this season, he has a number of potential records in his sights: most Premier League goals in a season for Arsenal (30) and most Premier League goals overall in a 38-game or 42-game season (31 and 34 respectively).
Arsenal's post-war record for league goals in a season is 33, set way back in 1947/48 by Ronnie Rooke, and the all-time record is 42, set by Ted Drake in 1934/35, when Herbert Chapman's Gunners scored 115 goals en route to winning the Division One title (42 games). The Club record for a 38-game season is 30 (set by Henry in 2003/04).
On average, Arsenal's leading scorer in each league season has scored 18.13 goals. In 1912/13 the Gunners' top marksman in league football was Charles Randall, with just four goals in the 38-game season.
The first player to score 25 league goals in a season was Henry King, in Division Two in 1914/15 - which was the Club's 22nd league campaign.
The first to break the 30-goal barrier was Jimmy Brain – also the inaugural member of the 100 Club – who scored 34 times in 1925/26. He followed it up by scoring 31 the following season and 25 in 1927/28, and was top scorer for four consecutive seasons.
Brain is one of nine players who have topped the scoring charts more than three times and Robin van Persie is on course to join that list this season, having previously led the way in 2006/07 (11), 2008/09 (11) and 2010/11 (18). Thierry Henry was Arsenal's top scorer seven times, more often than any other Arsenal player.
|2011/2012||Robin van Persie||25**|
** = ongoing record
* = 42-game season
|Thierry Henry||7||1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002,
2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2004/2005,
|Ian Wright||6||1991/1992, 1992/1993, 1993/1994,
1994/1995, 1995/1996, 1996/1997
|Ted Drake||5||1934/1935, 1935/1936, 1936/1937,
|Doug Lishman||5||1950/1951, 1951/1952, 1952/1953,
|Joe Baker||4||1962/1963, 1963/1964, 1964/1965,
|Jimmy Brain||4||1924/1925, 1925/1926, 1926/1927,
|David Herd||4||1957/1958, 1958/1959, 1959/1960,
|Alan Smith||4||1987/1988, 1988/1989, 1989/1990,
|Tony Woodcock||4||1982/1983, 1983/1984, 1984/1985,
On average, Arsenal's top scorer contributes 27.41 per cent of that season's total goal tally. So far this season Van Persie's goals account for 45.45 per cent of our Premier League total, which is the highest individual ratio in Arsenal history.
In 1993/94 Ian Wright claimed 23 of Arsenal's 53 Premier League goals (43.4 per cent), and was one of only six Arsenal scorers in the league that season. That's the fewest numbers of goalscorers Arsenal have ever had in one league campaign. This season the figure is already 16, just two shy of the all-time club record, set in 2009/10.
Looking purely at title-winning seasons, the goals are not generally shared around the squad to a great extent - the average is 12.15 goalscorers per championship campaign. The figure was just eight in 1947/48 and a fairly low 12 in 2003/04.
In title-winning seasons, the leading scorer nets an average of 29.25 per cent of the team's total, a little up on the overall average, implying that one dominant striker does not significantly affect the team's chances of success.
|2011/2012||Robin van Persie||25||55||45.45%|
|Season||Top scorer||Goals||% of total||Different scorers|
Robin van Persie is well on track to win the Premier League Golden Boot award this season, and it would be the 11th time an Arsenal player has taken the award for the top scorer in the English top flight.
Four of those previous Golden Boots have gone to Thierry Henry, most recently in 2005/06, with 27 goals. Ian Wright, Alan Smith (twice), Malcolm Macdonald, Ronnie Rooke and Ted Drake are the other players to have won it while at Arsenal.
Currently Van Persie is seven goals clear of his nearest challenger (Wayne Rooney) and history suggests that he may already have enough goals to claim the Golden Boot. Since the league was reduced to 20 teams in 1995/96, the average number of goals the top scorer has netted is 24.69. Last season Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov shared the award with 20 goals each.
Van Persie's 25 goals so far this season have come from 27 games, at a rate of 0.93 per game, a better strike rate than any previous Golden Boot winner in the Premier League era. If he continues scoring at this rate, Van Persie will end the season with 35 league goals, therefore breaking the Premier League record.
Last season Van Persie broke the Premier League record for scoring in consecutive away games (nine) and has continued to consistently find the net on the road this term. In fact Anfield became the 21st different stadium he has scored at since the beginning of 2011, and the 33rd different venue he has scored at for Arsenal in all.
|1992/1993*||Teddy Sheringham||Nottingham Forest/Tottenham||22|
|1993/1994*||Andy Cole||Newcastle United||34|
|1994/1995*||Alan Shearer||Blackburn Rovers||34|
|1995/1996||Alan Shearer||Blackburn Rovers||31|
|1996/1997||Alan Shearer||Blackburn Rovers||25|
|1997/1998||Dion Dublin||Coventry City||18|
|Chris Sutton||Blackburn Rovers||18|
|Dwight Yorke||Manchester United||18|
|Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink||Leeds United||18|
|2000/2001||Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink||Chelsea||23|
|2002/2003||Ruud van Nistelrooy||Manchester United||25|
|2007/2008||Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United||31|
|2010/2011||Carlos Tevez||Manchester City||20|
|Dimitar Berbatov||Manchester United||20|
* = 42-game season
* = shared with Andy Gray
** = including five for Crystal Palace
Another target for Robin van Persie is the European Golden Shoe for the top scorer across all the European domestic leagues.
The Dutchman is currently third behind the La Liga duo of Cristiano Ronaldo (30) and Lionel Messi (28).
Fourth-placed Aleksandrs Cekulajevs has actually scored more goals than all of those three (46) but goals in Europe's five top-ranked leagues are weighted above the likes of the Estonian league, where Cekulajevs plays for Narva Trans. The Estonian league season finished in November, therefore Cekulajevs cannot add to his tally.
Should Van Persie overhaul Ronaldo and Messi he will become only the second Arsenal player to win the award, following Thierry Henry. Henry is actually the only player to win the Golden Shoe (in its current guise) back-to-back, scooping the prize in 2003/04 and 2004/05.
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||Spain||30||60|
|Robin van Persie||Arsenal||England||25||50|
|Aleksandrs Cekulajevs||Narva Trans||Estonia||46||46|
|Antonio Di Natale||Udinese||Italy||18||36|
|Seydou Doumbia||CSKA Moscow||Russia||24||36|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic||AC Milan||Italy||18||36|
|Mario Gomez||Bayern Munich||Germany||18||36|
|Klaas-Jan Huntelaar||Schalke 04||Germany||18||36|
Arsenal's win over Liverpool at the weekend was the Club's fifth comeback win in away matches so far this season, and ninth overall during 2011/12.
Click here for more on the Gunners' comebacks.
Stats correct to March 6, 2012. Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here.