This week Arsenal statistician Josh James analyses the impact of the Arsenal Academy graduates on the first team.

Emmanuel Frimpong became the 48th Arsenal Academy product to progress to the first team, when he came on against Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Gunners' academy was set up in 1998, and has produced a steady stream of players since then.

Ghanaian born midfielder Frimpong - who this time last year had just suffered a cruciate ligament injury - is the latest of them, having been schooled the Arsenal way since he was 11 years old. Now 19, the midfielder has progressed to the first-team squad this season, and has been given the No 26 shirt.

Of the 48 graduates so far, 10 of them (21 per cent) played just once for the first team, so Frimpong will be looking to move away from that particular group as soon as possible.

At the other end of the scale, Cesc Fabregas played more than 300 times for the first team, having joined the Club as a member of the academy in September 2003. Cesc represented the youth team on three occasions in his first season in north London, including scoring away to Crawley Town in the FA Youth Cup in November 2003. He also netted three goals from 13 reserve appearances in 2003/04.

In total, the Academy products have played 1,306 times for the Arsenal first team since November 1999, scoring 139 goals between them.

In fact, in every season since the academy opened, Arsenal have blooded graduates - the most in one season was 2009/10 when seven youngsters made their senior debuts, in three different competitions.

Season by season debuts

Of the 48 graduates, 15 (31 per cent) are still at Arsenal, while seven (Ashley Cole, Jermaine Pennant, David Bentley, Sebastian Larsson, Fabrice Muamba, Jerome Thomas and Matthew Connolly) play for other Premier League teams. Larsson and Muamba were both on target on Saturday (for Sunderland and Bolton respectively).

Fifteen (31 per cent) of the players are full internationals, while four are full England internationals (Cole, Bentley, Gibbs and Wilshere). Nacer Barazite and Armand Traore both made their senior international debuts recently, for Morocco and Senegal respectively.

The overwhelming majority of the graduates (38) made their Gunners debut in the League Cup (79 per cent), which has proved to be a successful breeding ground. Of those, 22 went on to play for the first team in other competitions too, meaning that 32 graduates have played in games other than just the League Cup for the first team.

Frimpong is the fourth to make his bow in the Premier League. Wilshere also first played for the team in the league (against Blackburn Rovers on September 13, 2008) and in so doing became the Club’s youngest ever league player (aged 16 years and 256 days), taking the record previously held by Fabregas.

Competition by competition debut

Frimpong wasn’t able to celebrate his debut with a win on Saturday, but that puts him in the minority. Eighty-three per cent of the young debutants’ first experience of playing for Arsenal was a winning one (13 per cent drew first up, 4 per cent lost).

The good news for Arsenal fans is that there are plenty more players progressing through the ranks with their eyes on the first team. So who will be No 49?

Academy graduates, in order of first-team debut
  Apps (goals) Debut
Ashley Cole 228 (9) 30/11/99 v Middlesbrough
Jermaine Pennant 26 (3) 30/11/99 v Middlesbrough
Rhys Weston 3 30/11/99 v Middlesbrough
Graham Barrett 3 4/12/99 v Leicester City
Moritz Volz 2 1/11/2000 v Ipswich Town
John Halls 3 5/11/01 v Manchester United
Carlin Itonga 1 5/11/01 v Manchester United
Rohan Ricketts 1 5/11/01 v Manchester United
Jeremie Aliadiere 51 (9) 27/11/01 v Grimsby Town
Ryan Garry 2 6/11/02 v Sunderland
David Bentley 9 (1) 4/1/03 v Oxford United
Justin Hoyte 68 (1) 7/5/03 v Southampton
Cesc Fabregas 303 (57) 28/10/03 v Rotherham United
Quincy Owusu-Abeyie 23 (2) 28/10/03 v Rotherham United
Ryan Smith 6 28/10/03 v Rotherham United
John Spicer 1 28/10/03 v Rotherham United
Graham Stack 5 28/10/03 v Rotherham United
Jerome Thomas 3 28/10/03 v Rotherham United
Johan Djourou 116 (1) 27/10/04 v Manchester City
Sebastian Larsson 12 27/10/04 v Manchester City
Arturo Lupoli 9 27/10/04 v Manchester City
Patrick Cregg 3 9/11/04 v Everton
Nicklas Bendtner 156 (45) 25/10/05 v Sunderland
Fabrice Muamba 2 25/10/05 v Sunderland
Anthony Stokes 1 25/10/05 v Sunderland
Kerrea Gilbert 12 29/11/05 v Reading
Matthew Connolly 2 24/10/06 v West Bromwich Albion
Mark Randall 13 24/10/06 v West Bromwich Albion
Armand Traore 30 24/10/06 v West Bromwich Albion
Fran Merida 16 (2) 25/9/07 v Newcastle United
Nacer Barazite 3 31/10/07 v Sheffield United
Kieran Gibbs 51 31/10/07 v Sheffield United
Henri Lansbury 6 (1) 31/10/07 v Sheffield United
Jack Wilshere 64 (3) 13/9/08 v Blackburn Rovers
Gavin Hoyte 4 23/9/08 v Sheffield United
Jay Simpson 3 (2) 23/9/08 v Sheffield United
Rui Fonte 1 8/11/08 v Wigan Athletic
Paul Rodgers 1 2/12/08 v Burnley
Wojciech Szczesny 26 22/9/09 v West Bromwich Albion
Gilles Sunu 2 22/9/09 v West Bromwich Albion
Sanchez Watt 3 (1) 22/9/09 v West Bromwich Albion
Craig Eastmond 10 28/10/09 v Liverpool
Kyle Bartley 1 9/12/09 v Olympiacos
Thomas Cruise 1 9/12/09 v Olympiacos
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas 5 24/1/10 v Stoke City
Ignasi Miquel 2 20/2/11 v Leyton Orient
Conor Henderson 1 2/3/11 v Leyton Orient
Emmanuel Frimpong 1 13/8/11 v Newcastle

Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the 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
15 Aug 2011