Ranking every Arsenal striker since Thierry Henry signed for Barcelona
Thierry Henry set a remarkable standard during his eight years in England – and Arsenal’s strikers since have unsurprisingly struggled to match it.
The Frenchman is Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer with 227 goals, and it has proven to be borderline impossible to replace him with a player of the same quality.
Here are the 15 out-and-out strikers to have made their debut for the Gunners since Henry’s departure, ranked by how well they fared.
14. Park Chu-young
One of Arsene Wenger’s weirdest signings, Park wasn’t a young player the Frenchman took a chance on but a 26-year-old who’d just been relegated with Monaco.
Park was given Arsenal’s No.9 shirt after signing for the club in 2011, but he made just seven appearances for the club before being released in 2014. We’re still not quite sure what that was all about.
13. Chuba Akpom
The Arsenal academy graduate thrived for the Under 21s but had a series of unsuccessful loans in the Championship.
Akpom never scored for Arsenal and managed just 12 Premier League appearances for his boyhood club before signing for Greek Super League club PAOK Salonika in 2018. He’s now shining for Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough and leads the second tier’s goalscoring charts.
12. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Another product of the Arsenal academy, he failed to score in six appearances for the first team.
11. Yaya Sanogo
Sanogo is best remembered for scoring four goals against Benfica in the 2014 Emirates Cup in one of the most misleading pre-season performances in human history.
Because that quadruple of strikesabout as good as it got for him in an Arsenal shirt. The Frenchman played just 20 times for the Gunners, with his only competitive goal coming against Borussia Dortmund in 2014.
Yaya Sanogo to leave Arsenal after 4 years and one goal. Thanks for the memories. pic.twitter.com/24MLEdTapu
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 5, 2017
10. Lucas Perez
Perez joined Arsenal in 2016 on the back of a tremendous season in La Liga, but he struggled in England and hardly got a chance under Arsene Wenger.
The Spaniard scored a hat-trick against Basel in the Champions League but made just 11 Premier League appearances for the Gunners before spending a season on loan with Deportivo La Coruña and then signing for West Ham in 2018.
9. Marouane Chamakh
The fact that Chamakh is even this high on our list tells you a lot about Arsenal’s strikers over the past 15 years.
Chamakh signed for the Gunners in 2010 and scored 14 goals in 67 appearances before going on to have awful spells at West Ham, Crystal Palace and Cardiff.
8. Thierry Henry
The decision to resign a 34-year-old Henry on a short-term loan deal in 2012 seemed like a terrible idea at the time. Why risk spoiling his legacy with a spell in which he’d surely be a shadow of the player everyone remembered?
And then he went and scored a winner on his second debut against Leeds.
“One of my last acts in the FA Cup was special too: my strike against Leeds when I came back to London in 2012 was my favourite goal for Arsenal,” Henry told The Sun.
“It was so emotional. It wasn’t about technique or about the score, it was what it meant to me.”
On this day 2012 Thierry Henry returned to Arsenal and scored in the win over Leeds United in the FA Cup third roundpic.twitter.com/9J9goq4Vab
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) January 9, 2019
After Henry joined Barcelona in 2007, Arsenal reinvested that money by signing Eduardo from Dinamo Zagreb.
Despite a slow start, the Croatian adapted to English football and looked like a star in the making until he broke his leg against Birmingham in February 2008.
On his return from injury, Eduardo often found himself on the bench, and he signed for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010.
6. Danny Welbeck
Welbeck signed from Manchester United in 2014, but after a bright start to his Arsenal career the goals started to dry up.
The striker also had recurring injury problems, and he left Arsenal at the end of the 2018-19 season having scored 32 goals in 126 appearances.
However, he did score the winning goal against United in an FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford and Arsenal fans won’t forget that one any time soon.
5. Eddie Nketiah
Nketiah is another product of Arsenal’s academy, and he made his debut for the club in 2017.
The 23-year-old was set to leave the club before an excellent run of form at the end of last season saw him given a contract extension.
He’s stepped up with some important goals in the absence of first-choice No.9 Gabriel Jesus and is helping keep 2022-23’s surprise title charge on track.
4. Alexandre Lacazette
While Lacazette wasn’t able to match Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s goalscoring statistics, he still enjoyed a pretty impressive five years at the Emirates.
The striker had a brilliant 2018-19 and won Arsenal’s Player of the Year award, and scored 71 goals in 206 appearances for the Gunners.
Lacazette’s role changed in later seasons, becoming more of a target man and mentor to Arsenal’s young forwards, which saw him criticised by a section of the club’s support.
But the French striker served Arsenal well and deserves a high placing here.
3. Olivier Giroud
After signing from Montpellier for £10million in 2012, Giroud was often unfairly criticised despite netting 105 goals in 253 appearances for the club. He also won three FA Cups with Arsenal and even earned praise from Henry himself.
“I would have liked to have played with him,” Henry told L’Equipe. “As someone who brings others into play, he is extraordinary.”
However, after scoring against Arsenal for Chelsea in the 2019 Europa League final, Giroud can’t be any higher than third.
2. Gabriel Jesus
The Brazilian is probably the least traditional No.9 on this list, but he wears the shirt and it’s his quality and intelligent movement that help get so much out of supporting cast Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
It was Jesus’ addition that helped set the tone for Arsenal’s outstanding 2022-23 campaign, and while they’ve fared admirably without him, his return will be a major boost for the Gunners’ title push. If he can fire them to the Premier League trophy, we’ll have to bump him up to the top spot. He might not be quite as clinical in front of goal as the man that tops this list – for now – but there’s a strong argument he makes Arsenal a much better team.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang’s time at Arsenal may have ended on a sour note but that bitterness was partly because what had come before had been so good.
After arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2018, Aubameyang hit the ground running and, after 50 Premier League games, he had a better goalscoring record (33) than Thierry Henry (30).
While the Gabon international won’t be remembered with the same fondness as Henry, he scored a match-winning brace in the 2020 FA Cup final and won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2019.
Ninety-two goals in 163 appearances is a brilliant return, whichever way you look at it. An obvious winner.