This week our statistician Josh James looks at Robin van Persie's award double.

Robin van Persie was named Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year on Tuesday, to add to the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award he was presented with on Sunday evening.

He becomes only the third Arsenal player to achieve this particular double, following Dennis Bergkamp (1997/98) and Thierry Henry (2002/03 and 2003/04). It is due recognition for an incredible individual season so far, in which the Dutchman has netted 27 times in the Premier League, and added 14 assists.

As well as Bergkamp and Henry (who also won the FWA award in 2005/06); Joe Mercer (1949/50), Frank McLintock (1970/71) and Robert Pires (2001/02) were the other Gunners to be honoured by the Football Writers' Association during their Arsenal careers, while Liam Brady (1978/79) took the PFA award.

The FWA Footballer of the Year was first presented in 1947/48, and the PFA equivalent was established in 1973/74.

The PFA award was voted for in late March/early April - up until last season the votes were always cast in January - while the football writers voted throughout most of April.

This is only the second time that an Arsenal player has taken at least one of the awards in a trophyless season for the Club - the other occasion was 2005/06 when Henry was named FWA Footballer of the Year.

On average, an award-winning season has consisted of 48.6 matches (in all competitions) and 21.8 goals for the player in question. Though it's worth noting that Arsenal's first two winners (Mercer and McLintock) were both defenders and perhaps were recognised for their leadership abilities, as much as the five players who followed them were rewarded for creativity and goalscoring.

Previous Arsenal winners
Player FWA award PFA award Games Goals Team trophies
Joe Mercer 1949/50 - 42 0 FA Cup
Frank McLintock 1970/71 - 63 6 League
FA Cup
Liam Brady - 1978/79 52 17 FA Cup
Dennis Bergkamp 1997/98 1997/98 40 22 League
FA Cup
Robert Pires 2001/02 - 45 13 League
FA Cup
Thierry Henry 2002/03 2002/03 55 32 FA Cup
Thierry Henry 2003/04 2003/04 51 39 League
Thierry Henry 2005/06 - 45 33 -
Robin van Persie 2011/12 2011/12 45 34 -

With 34 goals from 45 appearances so far in 2011/12 in all competitions, there's no doubt that Van Persie is a deserving winner of the awards – he has shown tremendous consistency throughout the season. He has scored in every month of the campaign, averaging a goal every 112.5 minutes in all competitions, and has broken a number of records in the process.

His season started at St James' Park, which was the first Premier League away game he had failed to score in during 2011–- his run of nine consecutive games scored in on the road remains a Premier League record.

The following month he became the 17th player in Arsenal's history to reach 100 goals for the Club with his brace against Bolton. October was his most prolific month - he scored seven goals and was named Premier League Player of the Month.

Five more goals followed in November, then four in December as he ended 2011 with 35 Premier League goals (42 in all competitions) – a new Club record for a calendar year. His volley to beat Everton at home in the 125th anniversary match was named Goal of the Month by the BBC.

Four more goals followed in each of the first three months of 2012, overtaking Dennis Bergkamp's tally of 120 goals for Arsenal in the process and moving into the Club's all-time top-10 goalscorers list.

By scoring against Wolves earlier this month (his fifth penalty this term) he equalled the Premier League record for different teams scored against in a single season - 17.

An ever-present in the league so far this season, his appearance against Chelsea was his 45th outing in all competitions in 2011/12, beating his previous seasonal best tally of 44, set in 2008/09. He has found the net in 23 (51.1 per cent) of those games. He has scored at 11 different stadiums this season, and his longest scoring streak was three games (three times).

This is the first season van Persie has appeared in more than 75 per cent of the games available to him (88.2 per cent), proving what he is capable of when he avoids injury.


Behind The Numbers

Games per season
Season Games Per cent of total
2004/05 41 71.9
2005/06 38 64.4
2006/07 31 52.5
2007/08 23 39.7
2008/09 44 72.1
2009/10 20 36.4
2010/11 33 56.9
2011/12 45 88.2
TOTAL 275 60

Van Persie was the only Arsenal player selected in the PFA 'Team of the Premier League', meaning that Arsenal have had at least one representative nominated in this 'all-star' line-up in 17 of the 20 (85 per cent) Premier League seasons so far.

The most players Arsenal have had voted into the PFA Team in a single season was six, in the 2003/04 'Invincibles' campaign. On average there are 2.05 Arsenal players in the team every season. Out of a maximum of 220 nominations for the best XI since the Premier League began, Arsenal have received 41 of them (18.6 per cent).

Twenty-one different Arsenal players have been selected at least once - Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry appeared most often with six seasons each. Arsenal have had eight different defenders in the PFA Team of the Season since 1992/93 (five full-backs, three centre-backs), receiving a total of 14 nominations between them.

Six different midfielders have also received 14 nominations between them, and six strikers collected 12. One Arsenal goalkeeper - David Seaman - has been selected (1996/97).

In the days before the Premier League, former Gunners captain Kenny Sansom was selected for 11 seasons, which remains a record.


Behind The Numbers

Arsenal players included
Thierry Henry 6
Patrick Vieira 6
Tony Adams 3
Ashley Cole 3
Robert Pires 3
Sol Campbell 2
Cesc Fabregas 2
Bacary Sagna 2
Ian Wright 2
Emmanuel Adebayor 1
Nicolas Anelka 1
Dennis Bergkamp 1
Gael Clichy 1
Lauren 1
Samir Nasri 1
Emmanuel Petit 1
David Seaman 1
Silvinho 1
Robin van Persie 1
Thomas Vermaelen 1
Jack Wilshere 1

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was among the nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year award this season, an honour bestowed upon Jack Wilshere last year.

Wilshere was the fifth Gunner to take that accolade, following Cesc Fabregas (2007/08), Nicolas Anelka (1998/99), Paul Merson (1988/89) and Tony Adams (1986/87). Only Manchester United (eight) have had more winners of the title.

Of the 36 different winners of the award to date, just four were non-British, and two of those (Anelka and Fabregas) played for Arsenal.

Wilshere has spoken of his desire to captain the Club one day, and indeed two of his predecessors as PFA Young Player of the Year went on to skipper Arsenal – Adams and Fabregas.

In addition Van Persie is the fourth Arsenal captain to win the senior FWA award following Mercer, McLintock and Henry.

Arsenal's PFA Young Player of the Season
Player Season Games Goals
Tony Adams 1986/87 55 6
Paul Merson 1988/89 43 14
Nicolas Anelka 1998/99 46 19
Cesc Fabregas 2007/08 45 13
Jack Wilshere 2010/11 49 2

Stats correct as at April 24, 2012. Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the Official Matchday Programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
24 Apr 2012