Arsenal’s Century Club – Ian Wright – Wright – Wright

May 26, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Ian Wright sits at number 2.

Ian Edward Wright, MBE (born 3 November 1963) was born in Woolwich, London.

Wright’s father absconded and left mother his Nesta to raise her family in a one-bedroom house in Brockley, South London. Ian said “That house wasn’t a good place for me, which is probably why I would stay outside kicking a tennis ball against a brick wall for hours on end,” He was bullied by an older step-brother, but it was his step-father’s cruelty which caused him most pain. “One of the few things my brother and I looked forward to in the house was Match of the Day, and my step dad used to take that away from us – just because he could.”

Wrighty as a boy

Wright’s primary school teacher Sydney Pigden taught him to read and write and made him the register and milk monitor. Tony Davis and Harold Palmer, who ran a local football team Ten-Em-Bee used pick him up at his house and drive him directly to training in an effort to keep him focused and out of trouble with the police. However in 1982, at 19 years old, he ended up in Chelmsford Prison for two weeks for non-payment of driving fines.

 

Despite having had trials at Southend United and Brighton during his teens, he was unable to attract sufficient interest to win a professional contract offer. Reverting to playing for amateur and non-league teams, he was left disillusioned about his chances of a career as a professional footballer.

But he eventually overcame his deprived childhood, his abusive step-father and a spell in prison to become a professional footballer relatively late in life.  A Crystal Palace talent scout, Peter Prentice, happened to see Wright playing for Dulwich Hamlet and invited him to have a trial at Selhurst Park. “It was only a three-month trial but I’d done it: I was able to call myself a professional footballer,” Wright said. “After nearly 11 years of rejection, bullying, prison and all sorts of nonsense, and I had finally gotten my dream.”

Having impressed then-manager Steve Coppell, he signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in August 1985, just three months short of his 22nd birthday. He quickly made his mark in his first season, scoring nine goals to finish as Palace’s second-highest scorer. When Mark Bright arrived on the Palace scene the following year the duo soon established a successful striking partnership and it was largely their goals which took the club to top flight via the playoffs in 1989. Ian was particularly instrumental that season, scoring 24 goals in the Second Division and a grand total of 33 in all competitions.

An ankle injury reduced his initial impact in the First Division. However, after recovering from the injury he made a dramatic appearance as a ‘super-sub’, in the 1990 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. He equalised for Palace a few minutes after coming onto the field forcing extra time, then putting them ahead in extra time. The eventual score was 3–3, but Palace lost the replay 1–0.

With attention-grabbing goals in the league and in the 3-3 FA Cup Final draw against Manchester United in 1990, it was little surprise when Wright gained the attention of bigger clubs. Arsenal paid a club record £2.5 million for the striker in 1991. At the time Arsenal were reigning champions and there were question marks over the necessity of the signing: Alan Smith, Kevin Campbell, Paul Merson and Anders Limpar were already among the clubs’ ranks He scored on his debut against Leicester City in a League Cup tie, and then scored a hat-trick on his League debut against Southampton. He won the Golden Boot in his first season by scoring 29 league goals, five of which were for Palace, and 31 in all competitions. He scored a hat-trick in the final game of the season against Southampton; his third goal being the last ever scored in the old First Division.

He went on to be Arsenal’s top scorer for six seasons in a row. He played a major part in the club’s success during the 1990s, winning an FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993; he scored in both the FA Cup Final and the replay against Sheffield Wednesday. Ian also helped Arsenal reach the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final, although he was suspended for the final in which Arsenal beat Parma 1–0.

The period that followed proved to be a difficult time for both Ian and Arsenal, manager George Graham was dismissed over illegal payments, and under caretaker Stewart Houston they could only manage a 12th place finish in the league. The arrival of Bruce Rioch heralded a bleaker time; the two did not get on and eventually Wright handed in a transfer request, which he later retracted. The arrival of Dennis Bergkamp heralded a brief but fruitful striking partnership, and in their first season playing together they helped Arsenal finish fifth in the league and qualify for the UEFA Cup. They also reached the Coca-Cola Cup semi-finals, where they went out on away goals to eventual winners Aston Villa.

By the time Arsène Wenger had arrived at Arsenal in September 1996, Ian was nearly 33. Despite his age, he continued to score regularly (being the second highest Premier League scorer in 1996–97 with 23 goals), and on 13 September 1997 he broke Cliff Bastin’s Arsenal goal scoring record with a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers. His final goal at Highbury came on 4 October 1997 against Barnsley and was his 300th career goal for both Crystal Palace and Arsenal. He scored his final goal for Arsenal on 6 January 1998 in a League Cup quarter-final victory against West Ham United.

While he was still a professional footballer at Arsenal, he published his autobiography, Mr Wright. In 1993, he wrote and released a single called “Do The Right Thing”. The song was co-written and produced by Chris Lowe (of Pet Shop Boys) and reached #43 the UK Singles Chart.

Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Ian was awarded the MBE for his services to football.

In total he registered 185 goals for Arsenal; a record that has since been passed only by fellow Hall of Fame and Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry. On 15 July 2008, he finished 4th in ‘50 Greatest Gunners’ listed on the Arsenal website.

Wright went on to play for West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and finally Burnley (helping them to win promotion) before his retirement in 2000. Since retirement Wright has made a career in punditry and television work.

Clubs: Crystal Palace, Arsenal, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Burnley
Caps: 33, 9 goals
Honours: 1 Premier League, 2 FA Cups, 1 League Cup, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup

Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Ian was awarded the MBE for his services to football.

click to see expanded

Ian scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against Crystal Palace at Highbury on October 1st, 1994.

GunnerN5

Advertisements

A Youth Revolution?

May 19, 2019

So disappointed with the belief seemingly held by Dick, some here on our blog, and so called “knowledgeable commentators” on other sites, that pressure to produce results in the Premier League prevents the Manager from blooding youth regularly.

Instead Suarez, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Micky, Elneny, Jenkinson, Chambers to name a few of the non controversial  ones, labour to make a mark, to make a difference, and rarely achieve. Saka and Amaechi may yet have seats on Arsenal’s extended bench for the Europa Final – but is it enough?

Mavididi playing for Juve

Stephy Mavididi signed for Juve u23s in 2018 and is now on the verge of the first team. Ismael Bennacer’s performances at Empoli have caught the eye of Napoli. Chuba Akpom has won the title in the Greek league. Donyell Malen is a regular in a PSV Eindhoven side that pushed Ajax close for the Dutch title.

Arsenal have one of the most talented set of youngsters in their Academy and U18s that we have ever had. They are the legacy of Liam Brady and now the future under Freddie. But only if they are given a proper window of opportunity. Scouts from all over Europe are ready to snap them up, are visiting each and every game they are involved in. They understand the Arsenal system, the Arsenal family, and they want to succeed big time.

Well, I’m sorry, the Club is doing them a disservice.

Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Willock, Amaechi, John Jules, Pleguezuelo, Medley, Thompson, Saka, Mavrapanos are all worthy of significant game time. This is a serious watershed moment.

We are close to losing potentially top class talent, but at the very least, better quality than many who have gone through the motions this season. Give ’em a (proper) go, Dick, and save the money on bigger gambles you are considering.

LBG


Arsenal’s Century Club – Thierry Henry

May 15, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Thierry Henry sits at number 11.

Thierry appeared in 377 games over a 13 year period and scored 226 goals.

Thierry was born and raised in Les Ulis suburb of Paris which, despite sometimes being seen as a tough neighbourhood, provided good football facilities. As a seven-year-old, he showed great potential, and was recruited by the local club CO Les Ulis. He joined US Palaiseau in 1989, but after a year his father fell out with the club, so Henry moved to ES Viry-Châtillon and played there for two years.

In 1990, Monaco sent scout Arnold Catalano to watch Thierry, when he was just 13 years old, he scored all six goals in a 6–0 win. Catalano asked him to join Monaco without even having a trial first, later he joined Arsène Wenger’s Monaco as a youth player. Subsequently, he signed professional forms and made his professional debut in August 1994. Although Wenger suspected that Thierry should be deployed as a striker, he put him on the left wing because he believed that his pace, natural ball control and skill would be more effective against full-backs than centre-backs. He was named the French Young Footballer of the Year in 1996, and in the 1996–97 season when Monaco won the Ligue 1 title. By his third season, he had received his first cap for the national team, and was part of the winning team in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He continued to impress during his tenure with Monaco, and in his five seasons he scored 20 league goals in 105 appearances.

Thierry left Monaco in January 1999 and moved to Italian Serie A club Juventus for £10.5 million. He played on the wing, but found it difficult playing in an unfamiliar position against the Serie A defensive discipline, and scored just three goals in 16 appearances. Unsettled in Italy, he transferred from Juventus in August 1999 to Arsenal for an estimated fee of £11 million, reuniting with his former manager Arsène Wenger.

It was at Arsenal that he made his name as a world-class footballer. Brought in as a replacement for fellow French forward Nicolas Anelka, Thierry was immediately moulded into a striker by Wenger, a move that would pay rich dividends in years to come. However, doubts were raised about his ability to adapt to the quick and physical English game when he failed to score in his first eight games. After several difficult months in England he conceded that he had to “be re-taught everything about the art of striking”. These doubts were dispelled when he ended his first season at Arsenal with an impressive goal tally of 26. Arsenal finished second in the league behind Manchester United, and lost in the UEFA Cup Final against Turkish side Galatasaray. Despite recording fewer goals and assists than his first season, his second season with Arsenal proved to be a breakthrough, as he became the club’s top goal scorer. Armed with one of the league’s best attacks, Arsenal closed in quickly on perennial rivals Manchester United for the league title.

Success finally arrived during the 2001–02 season. Arsenal finished seven points above Liverpool to win the league title, and defeated Chelsea 2–0 in the FA Cup Final. Thierry became the league’s top goal-scorer and netted 32 goals in all competitions as he led Arsenal to a double and his first silverware with the club. 2002–03 proved to be another productive season for him, as he scored 32 goals in all competitions while contributing 23 assists, remarkable returns for a striker. In doing so, he led Arsenal to another FA Cup triumph, where he was man-of-the-match in the Final.  Even though Arsenal failed to retain their Premier League crown, he was named both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. His rising status as one of the world’s best footballers was affirmed when he emerged runner-up for the 2003 FIFA World Player of the Year award.

In the 2003–04 season Thierry was again instrumental in Arsenal’s exceptionally successful campaign; together with team mates the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pirès, he ensured that the Gunners became the first team in more than a century to go through the entire domestic league season unbeaten, claiming the league title in the process. He was named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year, for the second year running. With 39 goals scored in all competitions, he led the league in goals scored and won the European Golden Boot.

In the 2004–05 season he maintained his reputation as one of Europe’s most feared strikers as he led the league in scoring, and with 31 goals in all competitions, he was the co-recipient (with Diego Forlán) of the European Golden Boot. In mid-2005 Thierry became the Arsenal Captain. The 2005–06 season proved to be one of remarkable personal achievements for Thierry on 17 October 2005, he became the club’s top goal-scorer of all time; two goals against Sparta Prague in the Champions League meant he broke Ian Wright’s record of 185 goals. On 1 February 2006, he scored a goal against West Ham United, bringing his league goal tally up to 151, breaking Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin’s league goals record. He completed the season as the league’s top goal-scorer, and for the third time in his career, he was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year.

In a surprise move Arsenal sold Thierry to Barcelona on 25 June 2007, for €24 million.

Henry left Arsenal as the club’s leading all-time league goal-scorer with 174 goals and leading all-time goal-scorer in Europe with 42 goals; in July 2008, Arsenal fans voted him as Arsenal’s greatest player ever in Arsenal.com’s Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players poll.

Following his time with Barcelona, he signed a four-year deal for a reported €6.8 (£4.6) million per season, with the Red Bulls of the MLS.

After training with Arsenal during the MLS off-season, Thierry re-signed for the club on a two-month loan deal on 6 January 2012. This was to provide cover for players participating in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. He made his second Arsenal debut as a substitute against Leeds United in the FA Cup third round and scored the only goal. In his last league game on loan, he scored the winning goal in stoppage time in a 2–1 win against Sunderland.

Awards and honours:

Monaco:

Ligue 1 (1): 1996–97

Trophée des champions (1): 1997

Arsenal:

Premier League titles: 2001–02, 2003–04

FA Cup: 2002, 2003, 2005

FA Community Shield: 2002, 2004

Barcelona:

La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10

Copa del Rey: 2008–09

Supercopa de España: 2009

UEFA Champions League: 2008–09

UEFA Super Cup: 2009

FIFA Club World Cup: 2009

New York Red Bulls:

MLS Eastern Conference: 2010

National:

1998 FIFA World Cup

UEFA Euro 2000

FIFA Confederations Cup2003

Individual:

UNFP Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year (1): 1996–97

PFA Players’ Player of the Year (2): 2002–03, 2003–04

PFA Team of the Year (6): 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06

FWA Footballer of the Year (3): 2002–03, 2003–04, 2005–06

Premier League Golden Boot (4): 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06.

Golden Boot Landmark Award 10 (1): 2004–05

Golden Boot Landmark Award 20 (1): 2004–05

Premier League Player of the Month (4): April 2000, September 2002, January 2004, April 2004

Goal of the Season (1): 2002–03

UEFA Team of the Year (5): 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006

MLS Best XI (2): 2011, 2012

MLS Player of the Month (1): March 2012

Onze d’Or (2): 2003, 2006

European Golden Boot (2): 2003–04, 2004–05

French Player of the Year (5): 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

IFFHS World’s Top Goal Scorer of the Year (1): 2003

FIFA FIF Pro World XI (1): 2006

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (1): Germany 2006

FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball (1): France 2003

FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Shoe (1): France 2003

UEFA European Football Championship Team of the Tournament (1): 2000

FIFA 100: 2004

English Football Hall of Fame: 2008

A statue of Thierry statue stands outside the Emirates Stadium honouring him as one of Arsenal’s all time greatest legends.

Thierry scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against West Ham at Highbury on January 19th, 2003.

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Century Club – Olivier Giroud

May 14, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Olivier Giroud sits at number 12.

Oliver Jonathan Giroud was born in Chambery, France on September 30th 1986.

He began his career at Grenoble in Ligue 2 before joining Tours in 2008. He was the leagues highest scorer with 21 goals in his second season at Tours. On July 1st 2010 he joined top-flight side Montpellier and scored 21 goals in the 2011–12 season, helping Montpellier to their first ever Ligue 1 title.

Giroud made his full international debut for France in 2011. He has earned  87 caps, and was part of the teams which reached the quarter-finals at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the final of UEFA Euro 2016 in which he received the Bronze Boot as joint second-highest goal scorer, and won the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

On 26 June 2012, Arsenal signed Giroud on a long-term contract for a fee of around £9.6 million and was given the number 12 shirt. He made his debut on 18 August as a substitute in a goalless home draw against Sunderland in the Premier League and scored his first Arsenal goal on 26 September, in a 6–1 win against Coventry City in the League Cup. He scored his first goal in Europe in the UEFA Champions League in a 2–2 draw at Schalke.

On 22 August, 2014 he broke his left tibia and was ruled out for four months but returned to action quicker than expected, replacing Aaron Ramsey for the last 13 minutes of a 1–2 home defeat against Manchester United on 22 November and scoring Arsenal’s consolation goal in added time.

On 30 May, 2015 he scored Arsenal’s fourth goal after appearing as a substitute in the team’s 4–0 FA Cup Final victory over Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium.

On 1 January 2017, he scored his iconic and unforgettable back heeled “scorpion kick” volley in a 2–0 win against Crystal Palace, a goal described by Arsène Wenger as the greatest he had seen at the Emirates Stadium. The goal later earned him the FIFA Puskás Award for the goal of the year.

During the 2017 FA Cup Final against Chelsea at Wembley, Giroud came on in the 78th minute with the score 1–1, and a minute later he delivered an assist for Aaron Ramsey to score the winning goal which saw Arsenal lift the Cup for a record-breaking thirteenth time.

On 28 September 2017 during Arsenal’s Europa League group game away to BATE Borisov, Giroud scored his 100th goal for the club in a 4–2 victory.

Theo celebrates Giroud’s 100th goal against Bate

On December 10th 2017 in a 1-1 draw with Southampton Alexis Sanchez sent a cross into the box and Olivier scored his 105th and final goal for Arsenal with one of his trademark.

 

GunnerN5


Burnley 1 Arsenal 3 – Player Ratings

May 13, 2019

An experimental side designed to give some of the old boys a rest – could the reshuffled selection stand up to Sean Wagner’s boot boys?

First Half

Chances at both ends – Auba hit the post with a crafty effort off his shoulder – the loathsome Barnes fluffed one straight at the keeper before Wood hit the post from a shot that Leno had covered. 🙂

Willock nearly produced a wonderful finish from a spin and shot which just drifted wide.

The unlucky Mavro’s body failed him again and Kos didn’t get the rest he had been promised. Mav needs the 6 million Dollar Man treatment.

Second Half

The good guys went into the lead when Ben Mee ( a distant relation of our Bertie) tried a stepover allowing Auba to race through and slot past the keeper.

Getty Images

Less than ten minutes later and it was two. Wobbly floated a delightful chip to the far post and Auba explosively lashed it into the net.

Some Keystone Cops defending led to Burnley pinching one back – still celebrating going two up, maybe.

The excrescent Ashley Barnes attempted to maim Koscielny by shoving him into the advertising hoardings. Sadly the days of meathead thuggery on the pitch are not yet over.

Auba could have won the Golden Boot outright when Mkhitaryan set him up beautifully in front of goal but he got too much on it, diverting it wide of the post. Another spin and shot from Pierre sailed over the bar.

Eddie scored the third and final goal in injury time, sneaking the ball through Heaton’s legs. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!

Conclusion

An away win which was a bit like closing  the stable door after the top four place had bolted.

Still, at least we didn’t buckle to Sean Wagner’s side as might have been expected. Burnley had one toe in the Mediterranean and Arsenal were planning how to get to Baku in the shortest time possible. Just imagine if DB10 was still playing and the final was in Azerbaijan, he’d have to leave now to get there by car.

Ratings

Leno – made some good stops, did some sweeping too – a fine end to a fine League season – Prime Bratwurst … 8

Lichtsteiner – nothing too great, nothing too bad – ready for his cardigan – Swiss cheese … 6

Mustafi – a creditable performance from the bulldog-jawed German – slack for the goal but it wasn’t only down to him – Schlachtplatte … 7

Mavropanos – looked a little uncomfortable even before his injury – needs some new body parts if he’s to fulfil his potential – Taramasalata … 6

Monreal – brightened up the left flank with Iwobi – defended with his customary resolution – Carne de Cabra … 7

Elneny – there should be a verb ‘to elneny’ which means you did what everyone expected of you, no more no less – Falafel … 6

Guendouzi – starting to recapture the joy he played with at the start of the season – Mille-Feuille … 7

Mkhitaryan – seemed to have his Baku travel plans on his mind – shame Auba didn’t convert his one really telling contribution to the match – Ghapama … 6

Willock – he’s definitely on the verge of moving up to first team level – just needs a little bit extra to turn him into the Full English Breakfast … 7

Iwobi –  a perfect game for Alex and he showed what a fine player he can be – homemade scones with clotted cream and jam … 8

Aubameyang – the man is red hot at the moment and firing on all cylinders for the 29th … Spicy Carp Soup … 9

Subs

Koscielny – another fine performance when unexpectedly called upon early – so pleased Barnes didn’t hurt him – Steak au Poivre … 7

Nketiah – you could see his excitement at being given a half hour in a Prem game – Apple Sauce … 7

Managers

Emery – a win and some players rested – job done – Patatas Bravas … 8

Sean Wagner – thuggery, brutality and the new Stoke (even signed Crouch) – Spotted Dick … 3

Ref

Dean – gets a 5 for not ruining the game completely for a change.

chas 


Arsenal FC – Our away record to Burnley

May 11, 2019

Well folks the 2019/20 season grinds to an end with an away game at Turf Moor.

Burnley team of 1893

The season has been full of the occasional high that has been more than offset by the multitude of lows. Our defensive woes have once again been our Achilles heel and we can only hope the Unai and the rest of the management team make it their number one issue during this transfer window.

Our superb win at the Mestalla Stadium in the Europa League has cast a different light on our final league game. Should we wrap the first team up in cotton wool and play our second string or should we go all out in the hope that Spurs lose and we overcome the eight goal difference between us?

I’m for looking after the team and finishing the season off on a HIGH note in Baku.

Turf Moor

Our record at Turf Moor in the Premier League has been very positive having gained ten out of twelve points and only having conceded one goal in four games. However all of the games have been close with neither team scoring more than one goal in any of the games.

Rambo celebrates scoring at Turf Moor April 2015

As you can see our overall record favours Burnley in both Division’s One and Two.

We’ve had many must win games this season however I class this game as a must not get any injuries type of game.

Baku here we come……………..

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Century Club – Robin van Persie

May 8, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Robin van Persie sits at number 13.

Robin van Persie was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The son of two artists, he was encouraged to follow in his parents’ footsteps, but he preferred football.

He joined Dutch side SBV Excelsior’s youth squad at the age of 14 years, but left at the age of 15 and signed for Feyenoord. He was quickly promoted into the first team due to injury problems among the squad, and made his debut for the club at 17, which was the first of 15 total starts. He received the KNVB Best Young Talent award at the end of the 2001–02 season and then signed a professional three-and-a-half-year contract the following season.

Clashes with his manager Bert van Marwijk saw him demoted to the reserve squad, he finished his tumultuous debut season on the first team, making a total of 28 appearances and scoring eight goals, in addition to finishing runner-up in the KNVB Cup. Feyenoord unsuccessfully attempted to extend his contract during the off-season. His deteriorating relationship with van Marwijk led to his spending most of the 2003–04 season on the bench. He again played 28 matches, but finished with two fewer goals than the previous season.

Unveiling at Highbury

On 17 May 2004, Robin signed a four-year deal with Arsenal for £2.75 million, just over half of Feyenoord’s original asking price of £5 million. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who planned to convert him from a left winger to a centre forward, said of his new acquisition, “He can play on the left side of midfield, as a creative player behind the main strikers or as a target man. Robin spent most of his time on the bench during earlier parts of the 2004–05 season, and made his competitive debut on 27 October by scoring Arsenal’s opening goal in a 2–1 League Cup win over Manchester City.

He was sent off for the first time, in an Arsenal shirt, on 26 February against Southampton, following a lunge at left back Graeme Le Saux, for which Wenger was seen yelling an obscenity at him from the sidelines. He then later lambasted him in the press stating “I do not support Van Persie today” Telegraph sportswriter Clive White described Van Persie in his match report as “21 going on nine.” He was consequently benched for a number of games, starting with Arsenal’s FA Cup replay against Sheffield United, and he was reintroduced into the squad only after Henry was out with a calf injury, his return to the first team saw him score twice in a FA Cup semi-final win over Blackburn Rovers. The rest of his season was cut short by injury, and he finished with ten goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.

Robin’s good form at the start of the 2005–06 season earned him the Player of the Month award for November 2005 after eight goals in eight starts, and he was rewarded with a five-year contract extension until 2011. Two days after signing the contract, however, he was once again hit by injury when an opponent stepped on his foot and broke his toe during an FA Cup match.

The beginning of the 2006–07 season included an airborne volley against Charlton Athletic that Arsene called “the goal of a lifetime” and he was later named BBC Sport’s Goal of the Month for September, and he capped off the calendar year by being named the 2006 Rotterdam Sportsman of the Year. His season, however, ended early for the second time in his career on 21 January, when he fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

After the departure of Thierry Henry he assumed the role as Arsenal’s main striker. Following a streak of seven goals in ten regular-season games, he was sidelined for two months with a knee injury suffered on international duty. He made his comeback in Arsenal’s Champions League group stage on 12 December and made his Premier League return in the win against Chelsea over the weekend. However, he picked up a recurrent injury that kept him sidelined until January when he played 45 minutes in a League Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur. He was withdrawn at half-time following another injury scare and featured sporadically throughout the rest of the campaign. The following season (2008–09) he was named as the Arsenal.com Player of the Season.

With only one year remaining of his contract, it was announced in July that he had signed a new long-term contract with his club, stating, “My heart is with Arsenal and I just can’t picture myself in a different shirt.”

On 14 November 2009, he injured his ankle in an international friendly and was initially expected to be out for six weeks, but further tests showed that he would be out for five months. Before the start of the 2010–11 season, his squad number was changed to number 10. He made his 200th appearance in August but an ankle injury suffered in the game placed him on the sidelines once again. He returned as a substitute for Arsenal’s 0–1 defeat to Newcastle United on 7 November. On 1 January 2011, he scored his first goal of the season in a 3–0 away win over Birmingham City. On 15 January, he added two more goals to his tally in a comfortable 3–0 win over West Ham. This made him only the fourth Dutchman to reach 50 goals in England’s top division.

Robin scored his first career hat-trick in a 3–0 win over Wigan Athletic on 22 January and two goals against Newcastle United in a 4–4 draw on 5 February. Continuing his fine form, he hit a brace the following week against Wolverhampton Wanderers scoring both Arsenal goals in a 2–0 win including a volley from inside the box. The ten goals he scored between 1 January and 12 February set a new Premier League record for most goals scored in the first two months of a calendar year.

He set the Emirates alight with a goal from an almost impossible angle in Arsenal’s fight back against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 which ended 2–1 in favour of the Gunners. On 27 February 2011, Van Persie captained Arsenal at Wembley Stadium in the League Cup final, scoring the first half equalizer for the Gunners. It was his first goal at Wembley and his first in a cup final for Arsenal. However, he was later taken off in the second half with a knee injury he picked up while scoring the goal. He was voted as the second best player of the 2010–11 season on Arsenal’s official website and also received the team’s Goal of the Season award for his audacious strike in the 2–1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League.

RvP celebrates the equaliser against Barca in February 2011 credit AFC.com

Having been appointed vice-captain for the 2010–11 season, he was promoted to club captain at the start of the 2011–12 season. He finished the season as the top goal-scorer in the Premier League with 30 goals, and became Arsenal’s 8th all-time top scorer with 132 goals.

On 4 July 2012, he announced that he would not be signing a new contract with Arsenal.

Finally after a series of rumours he was transferred to Manchester United for a reported £22.5 million. Supporters of Manchester United voted Van Persie as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for the 2012–13 season. He was transferred to Fenerbahce in 2015 before returning to his first senior club Feyenoord in January 2018. At both clubs, and in the dying embers of his career, he continued to score at nearly a goal every other game.

He owed so much to Arsene Wenger for converting him from left winger to centre forward (much in the same fashion as Thierry Henry) but repaid Wenger by deserting Arsenal Football Club after his best ever season of 2011/12.

His 100th goal was his 2nd of the game in a 2-0 win against Sunderland on Oct 16th, 2011 at Highbury.

GunnerN5