This week our statistician Josh James looks at how long it takes Arsenal players to score their first goal.

Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla each scored their first goal for the Club on Sunday, both in their third appearance.

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.

Five players netted their first goals for the Club in their third appearance – Cazorla, Podolski, Mikel Arteta, Laurent Koscielny and Andre Santos.

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.

Three more players - Marouane Chamakh, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere - scored in their second outing.

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.

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

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.

Most games as an outfield player without scoring
Player Playing period Games
Roddy McEachrane 1902-13 346
Joe Shaw 1907-22 326
George Male 1930-48 318
Archie Gray 1904-11 200
Wilf Copping 1934-39 189
Lionel Smith 1948-54 181
Archie Cross 1900-10 149
Jimmy Magill 1959-65 131
Andy Kennedy 1922-27 129
Laurie Scott 1946-51 126
John Devine 1978-83 111
Oleg Luzhny 1999-2003 110
Bernard Joy 1936-46 95
John Snedden 1960-64 94
Joe Wade 1946-54 93
Horace Cope 1926-33 76
Jim Fotheringham 1954-58 76
Bill Seddon 1926-31 76
Jack Peart 1911-21 66
Arthur Shaw 1949-54 61
Matthew Upson 1997-2003 56
Gus Caesar 1985-90 51

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.

When the '100 Club' scored their first goals
Player Total goals First goal game First goal opposition
Thierry Henry 228 9 Southampton
Ian Wright 185 1 Leicester City
Cliff Bastin 178 5 Sheffield Wednesday
John Radford 149 4 Wolves
Jimmy Brain 139 1 Tottenham
Ted Drake 139 1 Wolves
Doug Lishman 137 7 Tottenham
Robin van Persie 132 6 Man City
Joe Hulme 125 10 Bury
David Jack 124 4 Sheffield United
Dennis Bergkamp 120 8 Southampton
Reg Lewis 118 1 Everton
Alan Smith 115 4 Portsmouth
Jack Lambert 109 8 West Ham
Frank Stapleton 108 2 Leicester City
David Herd 107 3 Portsmouth
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.

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
5 Sep 2012