This week our statistician Josh James looks at how long it takes Arsenal players to score their first goal.
Of the 19 players in the current first-team squad with at least one goal to their name, three matches is the most common length of time for a player to break their scoring duck.
Thomas Vermaelen is the only member of the first-team squad to have scored on his debut - against Everton at the beginning of the 2009/10 season.
The longest wait for any current outfield player for his first goal was 102 games - for Johan Djourou - before he finally found the net in a 4-4 draw at St James Park in February 2011.
There are currently five outfield players in the squad without a goal to their name (Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin, Carl Jenkinson, Emmanuel Frimpong and Olivier Giroud). Of these, Mertesacker has played the most games (30).
Of the 19 outfield players who have scored, the average number of games for them to net their first goal is 14.79.
Throughout history, the outfield player with the most Arsenal appearances without finding the net at all was Roddy McEachrane.
A defender (left half) who played for the Club during its Woolwich days, McEachrane racked up an amazing 346 appearances (all from the start of course, these were the days before substitutes) without scoring.
Having joined from West Ham in 1902, Roddy was a regular in the side for 11 seasons, before the outbreak of war forced his retirement in 1915. He made 313 appearances in the league (helping the side win promotion in 1903/04) and 33 in the FA Cup.
Whereas goalscoring evidently was not his speciality, he was a highly-accomplished defender. In fact McEachrane played in all eight games in 1903 when Arsenal set a club record for consecutive clean sheets. The record still stands today.
In all there have been 22 outfield players to play 50 or more games for Arsenal without scoring at least once.
Looking through that list of players, it's striking that the majority (72.7 per cent) of them finished their careers more than 50 years ago. Furthermore, only two of them played under Arsène Wenger (Oleg Luzhny and Matthew Upson).
So although goals were more plentiful during the pre-war era, these stats suggest that the goals were not shared out so much between the players, with defenders scoring fewer goals than in the modern era.
So how important is it to get off the mark early? Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to look at the 17 players who reached three figures for Arsenal (the 100 Club) and identify how long it took each of them to score their first goal.
Five of the players (29.4 per cent) scored on their debuts, while the longest it took any of them to open their account was 10 games (Joe Hulme). The greatest Arsenal goalscorer of them all - Thierry Henry - took nine games to get going.
Henry played seven Premier League matches (two as a substitute) and one Champions League match (as a sub) before getting off the mark. On September 18, 1999, he came on as a 71st-minute substitute against Southampton at the Dell and scored the only goal of the game after 79 minutes.
Another legendary goalscorer, Dennis Bergkamp, also broke his duck against Southampton, in what was his eighth appearance.
In fact, for those looking for omens ahead of the Gunners' next game, two further players on the list also scored their first league goals against Southampton (Ian Wright and Robin van Persie) - though their first goals for the Club came in other competitions.
On average, the players in the 100 Club scored their first goal 4.41 games into their Arsenal career.
It's also worth noting that none of the three foreign players in the 100 Club scored in their first five outings, suggesting that players who join from outside the league do indeed benefit from a settling-in period.
|Player||Total goals||First goal game||First goal opposition|
|Ian Wright||185||1||Leicester City|
|Cliff Bastin||178||5||Sheffield Wednesday|
|Robin van Persie||132||6||Man City|
|David Jack||124||4||Sheffield United|
|Jack Lambert||109||8||West Ham|
|Frank Stapleton||108||2||Leicester City|
|Joe Baker||100||1||Leyton Orient|
While plenty of players have picked up the scoring habit early, there are a few examples of players having to endure a lengthy wait to celebrate their first strike.
Perhaps the most famous case was Danish midfielder John Jensen. Having joined the Club after scoring in the final of Euro 92, he didn't find the net in Gunners colours until midway through his third season in London - in what was his 99th game for Arsenal.
The memorable goal came against Queens Park Rangers, in a 3-1 league defeat at Highbury, on December 31, 1994. However it didn't open the floodgates - this was his only goal for Arsenal from 138 total appearances.
More recently, defender Gael Clichy didn’t score his first Arsenal goal until his 162nd match. That also came in a defeat - 2-1 at Stoke on November 1, 2008. He ended his Arsenal career with two goals from 264 games.
Stats correct as at September 4, 2012.
Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme.5 Sep 2012