This week our statistician Josh James takes an in-depth look at the Club’s youngest ever goalscorers.

When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored against Shrewsbury Town on September 20, he became the 15th youngest goalscorer in the Club’s history, and the sixth youngest of the Arsène Wenger era.

He was just 36 days past his 18th birthday when he scored the second goal in the 3-1 Carling Cup win at Emirates Stadium, but there have been a surprising number of even younger players to net for the Gunners, including one more than 100 years ago.

Arsenal’s all-time youngest scorer is Cesc Fabregas, one of two players to break their Gunners duck while still a 16-year-old (Jack Wilshere is the other).

The Club record for youngest scorer has actually only been broken twice in the past 116 years.

Way back in January 1895, when Woolwich Arsenal were in their second ever season of league football, in the old Division Two, Tommy Meade scored in a 3-2 win over Newcastle United. A diminutive centre-forward, he was 17 years and 247 days old when he broke his duck for the Club, in only his second appearance.

He went on to score just six more goals for the Gunners before leaving for Tottenham Hotspur (not yet our north London rivals) in 1897. He stayed at Spurs for three years before moving to Fulham. His record as the Club’s youngest scorer would truly stand the test of time, lasting for more than 87 years.

Then, on March 13, 1982, Stewart Robson – aged four months younger than Meade at 17 years and 127 days – scored his first for Arsenal. It was the only goal of a 1-0 Division One win over Ipswich Town at Highbury. Stewart, who now provides tactical analysis for the matchday programme and Arsenal.com, finished his Arsenal career with 21 goals from 186 appearances, having made his debut at the age of 17 years and 29 days.

Twenty-one years later, Fabregas took more than nine months off the record when he scored at Highbury against Wolves in the Fourth Round of the Carling Cup in December 2003. Sylvain Wiltord crossed low from the right, and the Spaniard – wearing the No 57 shirt - tapped into an empty net from close range with his left foot to make it 5-1 in the 88th minute.

The table below lists the 15 youngest scorers in Arsenal history, at the age they were when they scored their first goal for the Club. Therefore players only appear on the list once, regardless of their age when they scored subsequent goals.

Youngest scorers in Arsenal history
Player Age Competition Opposition Score Date
Cesc Fabregas 16 years 212 days League Cup Wolves 5-1 December 2, 2003
Jack Wilshere 16 years 269 days League Cup Sheffield United 6-0 September 23, 2008
Stewart Robson 17 years 127 days Division One Ipswich Town 1-0 March 13, 1982
Arturo Lupoli 17 years 143 days League Cup Everton 2-0 November 9, 2004
Tommy Meade 17 years 247 days Division Two Newcastle United 3-2 January 12, 1895
George Armstrong 17 years 265 days Division One Everton 2-3 May 1, 1962
Jon Sammels 17 years 278 days Division One Blackpool 2-3 April 27, 1963
Cliff Bastin 17 years 296 days Division One Sheffield Wednesday 2-3 January 4, 1930
Reg Lewis 17 years 300 days Division One Everton 2-1 January 1, 1938
Aaron Ramsey 17 years 301 days Champions League Fenerbahce 5-2 October 21, 2008
John Radford 17 years 315 days Division One Wolves 4-1 January 2, 1965
Ray Parkin 17 years 339 days Division One Sunderland 1-5 January 1, 1929
Theo Walcott 17 years 350 days League Cup Chelsea 1-2 February 25, 2007
Paul Vaessen 18 years 28 days League Cup Brighton 4-0 November 13, 1979
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
18 years 36 days League Cup Shrewsbury Town 3-1 September 20, 2011

Between them, these 15 players went on to make a total of 2,844 first-team outings for Arsenal (at an average of 190 each) scoring a cumulative 719 Gunners goals (averaging 48 each). Both figures are well above average for an Arsenal career, and bear in mind too that four of them (Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain) are still active for the Club. So the stats suggest that scoring young for Arsenal can be the gateway to a long and successful career.

Three of the 15 went on to become members of the newly-enlarged 100 Club – Cliff Bastin, John Radford and Reg Lewis.

Bastin – nicknamed ‘Boy Bastin’ for his teenage goalscoring prowess – was Arsenal’s record goalscorer for more than 50 years.

Lewis scored his first Gunners goals just before the outbreak of the Second World War. He scored a further 143 goals in wartime football and, if you include the goals he scored at all levels for Arsenal, he would be the Club’s all-time leading scorer with 392.

Radford’s first goals for the Club were actually in the form of a hat-trick, making him the youngest ever hat-trick scorer (17 years 315 days) for the Club – a record he still holds.

Three of the players on the list scored on their debuts (Sammels, Lewis and Parkin) while Lupoli notched twice in the game listed. Five of the scorers were on target in defeats, including Walcott’s strike in the 2007 Carling Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium.

Youngest scorer in each Premier League season
Season Player Age
1992/3 Ray Parlour 19 years 176 days
1993/4 Ray Parlour 20 years 299 days
1994/5 John Hartson 19 years 290 days
1995/6 John Hartson 20 years 230 days
1996/7 Patrick Vieira 20 years 168 days
1997/8 Nicolas Anelka 18 years 240 days
1998/9 Nicolas Anelka 19 years 189 days
1999/00 Thierry Henry 22 years 32 days
2000/01 Ashley Cole 19 days 260 days
2001/02 Francis Jeffers 20 years 238 days
2002/03 Jeremie Aliadiere 19 years 48 days
2003/04 Jose Antonio Reyes 20 years 246 days
2004/05 Cesc Fabregas 17 years 113 days
2005/06 Cesc Fabregas 18 years 206 days
2006/07 Cesc Fabregas 19 years 345 days
2007/08 Theo Walcott 18 years 344 days
2008/09 Theo Walcott 19 years 216 days
2009/10 Aaron Ramsey 18 years 239 days
2010/11 Jack Wilshere 18 years 330 days
2011/12 Aaron Ramsey 20 years 280 days

As you can see above, Ramsey is the youngest player to score for Arsenal so far in this, the 20th season of the Premier League.

Teenagers have been on target for Arsenal in 13 (65 per cent) of those 20 campaigns, with two different teenagers scoring league goals for the Club in 2005/06 (Fabregas and Abou Diaby), 2007/08 (Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner) and 2009/10 (Ramsey and Fran Merida). In more than half of the seasons (55 per cent) Arsenal’s youngest scorer has been British.

Fabregas holds our record for youngest Premier League scorer (17 years 113 days), set on August 25, 2004 in a 3-0 home victory over Blackburn Rovers. That match was the 43rd in the famous 49-game unbeaten league run – the game which took Arsenal past Nottingham Forest’s old record tally. In fact Cesc was the only teenager to score for Arsenal in the whole of that run.

Fabregas also holds the Club records for youngest League Cup goalscorer and youngest Champions League scorer (17 years 218 days). The Club record for youngest FA Cup scorer was set back in January 11, 1930, when Bastin – then aged 17 years and 303 days, netted against Chelsea – a week after scoring his first ever league goal.

Youngest scorers in Champions League history
Player Age Club Opposition Score Date
Peter Ofori-Quaye 17 years 195 days Olympiacos Rosenborg 1-5 October 1, 1997
Cesc Fabregas 17 years 218 days
Arsenal Rosenborg 5-1 December 7, 2004
Bojan Krkic 17 years 218 days Barcelona FC Schalke 1-0 April 1, 2008
Martin Klein 17 years 241 days Sparta Prague Panathinaikos 1-2 February 27, 2002
Aaron Ramsey 17 years 301 days Arsenal Fenerbahce 5-2 October 21, 2008
Karim Benzema 17 years 353 days Lyon Rosenborg 2-1 December 6, 2005
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 18 years 44 days Arsenal Olympiacos 2-1 September 28, 2011
Mariyan Ognyanov 18 years 60 days Levski Sofia Chelsea 1-3 September 27, 2006
Sammy Kuffour 18 years 61 days
Bayern Munich Spartak Moscow 2-2 November 2, 1994
Andriy Shevchenko
18 years, 70 days
Dynamo Kyiv
Bayern Munich
1-4
December 7, 1994

Eight days after scoring against Shrewsbury, Oxlade-Chamberlain became the youngest ever Englishman to score in the Champions League with his effort against Olympiacos. He took the record from fellow Gunner Walcott, who was 18 years and 222 days when finding the net against Slavia Prague in a 7-0 win in October 2007.

Interestingly, it means that both the youngest and oldest Englishmen to score in Champions League history did so for Arsenal: Lee Dixon remains the oldest Englishman to score in the competition, aged 36 years and 223 days when he notched against Sparta Prague on October 25, 2000.

The goalscoring didn’t stop there for Oxlade-Chamberlain. Last week he scored his first goals for England Under-21s, a hat-trick in the Euro 2013 qualifier in Iceland. It makes him the youngest player to score a hat-trick for England Under-21s.

The record for youngest ever goalscorer for England Under-21 is also held by an Arsenal player – Walcott was 17 and 152 days when he scored against Moldova at Portman Road in August 2006. He had already become England youngest ever senior international (17 years 75 days) and later became the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick for England (19 years 178 days) on September 10, 2008 at Croatia.

Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here. With thanks to Fred Ollier.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 11 Oct 2011