By Adam Clark
Nicolas Anelka is a well-travelled man.
When the former Arsenal prodigy faces his old employers on Saturday he will be adorned in his seventh different club kit in nine nomadic years. And he played in one of those - that of Paris St Germain - on two separate occasions.
The Frenchman arrived at Highbury from Paris in February 1997 for £500,000 and quickly showed Arsène Wenger had worked an astute piece of business. In fact just 19 months, 91 appearances and 28 goals later, Arsenal accepted a £23million offer from Spanish giants Real Madrid and Anelka was on his way.
Since then the enigmatic striker has cost PSG, Manchester City, Fenerbahce and Bolton a combined cost of £35.35million. Throw in a six-month loan spell at Liverpool and it's quite a tale.
On Sunday Arsenal face a tough trip to Bolton, a game that will see Anelka come up against Thierry Henry, the compatriot who replaced him. We all know about the Arsenal captain's subsequent rise to stardom but according to the stats who's been the more effective player this term?
Goal scoring is the most notable difference in their form with Anelka yet to open his account for the Trotters in the Premiership. Henry on the other hand has six League goals and another in Europe.
Domestically the difference may well be in the respective number of chances their team-mates create for them. So far this term the Arsenal man has had 64 shots on goal, 31 have found the target, 25 haven't, and eight have been blocked. The former Gunner on the other hand has managed just 22 attempts on goal, of which only seven have tested the keeper.
In terms of distribution Anelka has been marginally more accurate with 63 per cent of his passes reaching a team-mate. In comparison, Henry has attempted 20 more passes but has a success rate two per cent lower than his counterpart.
Both players have also produced 10 crosses for their respective sides. Arsenal have capitalised on just one of Henry's and Bolton just two of Anelka's. Three is also the number of assists they've managed between them although this time it's Henry who edges it.
Dribbling has been something of a forte for Henry this term and his 31 attempted runs is double the number made by Anelka. Admittedly, Henry has only produced an end product with 18 of those dribbles and the Bolton man has been notably efficient in wasting only five of his.
What would have become of Anelka had he stayed Arsenal? What would have become of Henry for that matter? In reality the latter became one of the outstanding strikers of his generation while Anelka has roamed the continent. Bolton will hope he settles at the Reebok and, certainly, if anyone can get the best out of Anelka it's Sam Allardyce.
Anelka will be desperate to demonstrate his talents to his fans, both old and new, on Saturday. Henry on the other hand will want to guide his team to victory after two defeats and a draw against Bolton last season.
That gives both these players a reason to come out firing. If they do so, it could be some game.
View Thierry Henry's player profile
Head to Head Statistics Thierry Henry Nicolas Anelka Premiership Appearances 11 10 Minutes on pitch 944 871 Attacking Goals 4 0 Shots on target 31 7 Shots off target 25 12 Shots blocked 8 3 Offside 14 13 Supporting Assists 2 1 Passes made 82 62 Passes complete 50 39 Passes incomplete 32 23 Crosses successful 10 10 Crosses unsuccessful 1 2 Total dribbles 31 17 Dribbles successful 18 12 Dribbles unsuccessful 13 5 Defending Tackles made 5 12 Tackles won 2 9 Tackles lost 3 3 Interceptions 0 3 Blocked Shots 2 0 Clearances 2 3 Penalties Conceded 0 0 Own Goals 0 0 Discipline Fouls 5 8 Yellow Cards 0 0 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 22 Nov 2006