This week our statistician Josh James analyses Arsenal's parsimonious start to the season.

By not conceding against Stoke on Sunday, Arsenal ensured they started a Premier League season with back-to-back clean sheets for the very first time.

The previous club record for the longest start to a Premier League season without conceding was 179 minutes, in the 1994/95 campaign. That year the Gunners kicked off with a 3-0 home win over Manchester City, but were beaten in the 89th minute of the second game – at Leeds United – by a Noel Whelan strike.

Prior to this season, the longest Arsenal had gone into a new season without conceding under Arsène Wenger was in fact last term, when an Aaron Ramsey own goal 78 minutes into the second game ended Arsenal's resistance.

Last season is also the longest Arsenal have taken to get off the mark in the Premier League era. After drawing blanks at Newcastle, then home to Liverpool, Theo Walcott scored on the stroke of half-time at Old Trafford to end a 225-minute wait for the season's opener. That record will be usurped if Arsenal fail to score in the first half at Liverpool this weekend.

On average over the 20 Premier League seasons so far, Arsenal have conceded their first goal 86.6 minutes into the campaign, and scored their first after 61.5 minutes.

When Arsenal concede first Premier League goals
Season First scorer Minutes into season
1992/93 Mark Robins (Norwich City) 69
1993/94 Mick Quinn (Coventry City) 34
1994/95 Noel Whelan (Leeds United) 179
1995/96 Nick Barmby (Middlesbrough) 31
1996/97 Steven McManaman (Liverpool) 158
1997/98 Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United) 42
1998/99 Geoff Thomas (Nottingham Forest) 76
1999/00 Tony Cottee (Leicester City) 57
2000/01 Niall Quinn (Sunderland) 53
2001/02 Ian Harte (Leeds United) 119
2002/03 Joe Cole (West Ham) 134
2003/04 Tomasz Radzinski (Everton) 84
2004/05 Lee Carsley (Everton) 64
2005/06 Didier Drogba (Chelsea) 163
2006/07 Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa) 53
2007/08 David Healy (Fulham) 1
2008/09 Brede Hangeland (Fulham) 111
2009/10 Louis Saha (Everton) 90
2010/11 David N'Gog (Liverpool) 46
2011/12 Aaron Ramsey (og) (Liverpool) 168
When Arsenal SCORE first Premier League goals
Season First scorer Minutes into season
1992/93 Steve Bould
1993/94 Ian Wright
1994/95 Kevin Campbell
1995/96 Ian Wright
1996/97 John Hartson
1997/98 Ian Wright
1998/99 Emmanuel Petit
1999/00 Dennis Bergkamp
2000/01 Lauren
2001/02 Thierry Henry
2002/03 Thierry Henry 9
2003/04 Thierry Henry 35
2004/05 Dennis Bergkamp
2005/06 Thierry Henry
2006/07 Gilberto
2007/08 Robin van Persie
2008/09 Samir Nasri
2009/10 Denilson
2010/11 Pepe Reina (og)
2011/12 Theo Walcott

Extending the record to consider all league football, Arsenal have only kept successive clean sheets in the first two league games on five previous occasions, and one of those was in the old Division Two (1903/04), when they managed five in a row.

The last time Arsenal managed two on the spin was 1971/72. Having beaten Chelsea 3-0 at home and then Huddersfield Town 1-0 away, Bertie Mee's newly-crowned Double winners travelled to Anfield for the third game - as with this season - but the opposition was Manchester United rather than Liverpool.

United were using Anfield as a temporary home after being banned from staging matches at Old Trafford for two games due to crowd trouble. In the event Arsenal held a 1-0 half-time lead, but lost 3-1.

The only time Arsenal have recorded three successive clean sheets at the start of a top-flight campaign was 1924/25. Despite winning all three of those games, the season soon went downhill, and Arsenal finished 20th.

In 1903/04, while in the old Second Division, Arsenal's goal remained unbreached in each of the first five league fixtures - the team also racked up 21 goals in that time.

The longest Arsenal have taken to get off the mark in any top-flight season is four games, back in 1904/05 (the Club's first ever season in the top division) and again in 1953/54. Overall there have been five previous seasons when Arsenal didn’t register a goal in either of the opening two games, including last season.

However under Arsène Wenger it's fairly unusual for Arsenal to end a game without scoring. The team have played 602 Premier League matches under their current boss, and failed to find the net in 96 of them (15.9 per cent).

Behind The Numbers

Sunday's result also means that Arsenal have now recorded back-to-back goalless draws for the first time since February 2009.

Back then Arsenal were held scoreless by West Ham at Emirates on January 31, then drew the north London derby 0-0 the following week. In fact the next two league games were also no-score draws (at home to Sunderland and Fulham) but there was a 4-0 FA Cup win over Cardiff and a 1-0 Champions League victory against Roma in between.

To find the last time the Gunners had three scoreless matches in succession you have to go back 14 years, to August/September 1998. Liverpool away, Charlton at home and Chelsea away - all in the Premier League - were the fixtures.

On average Arsenal record three and a half goalless draws per Premier League season. The most in a single season was seven in 1993/94 and 1998/99, while there weren’t any in either 2001/02 or 2002/03.

Seventy-two of Arsenal's 206 Premier League draws overall (35 per cent) have been scoreless.

Behind The Numbers

This is the first time Arsenal have ever kicked off a league season with consecutive 0-0 draws, and only the third time they have started a top-flight league campaign with two draws of any description.

The two previous times were 1970/71 (when Arsenal won the Double) and 1978/79 (when Arsenal went on to win the FA Cup).

Arsenal have now drawn five of their last six games (going back to last season) whereas it took 49 games to bring up the previous five draws.
The Club's longest sequence of consecutive drawn games in Premier League history is five, from January 3, 1994. For all-time league football, the most consecutive draws Arsenal have recorded is six, in 1960/61.

Most consecutive Premier League draws
Date Opposition Venue Score
Jan 3, 1994 QPR H 0-0
Jan 15, 1994 Man City A 0-0
Jan 22, 1994 Oldham H 1-1
Feb 13, 1994 Norwich A 1-1
Feb 19, 1994 Everton A 1-1
Most consecutive league draws
Date Opposition Venue Score
Mar 4, 1961 Aston Villa A 2-2
Mar 11, 1961 Blackburn H 0-0
Mar 18, 1961 Man Utd A 1-1
Mar 25, 1961 West Ham H 0-0
Mar 31, 1961 Fulham A 2-2
Apr 1, 1961 Bolton A 1-1

Stats correct as of August 27, 2012.

Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme.

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
29 Aug 2012