Arsenal Team Profile – Club History, Players, Managers & More

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This is a detailed profile of Arsenal Football Club – one of the big teams in English football. Learn all about the North London side’s history, honours, players, managers, stadium and plenty more besides.

Arsenal logoArsenal Logo & History

Founded in the autumn of 1886 by munitions workers from the Royal Arsenal, the club has always been known as the Gunners. Initially called Dial Square, the name was soon changed to the place of work associated with it. From 1893, they became Woolwich Arsenal and soon reached the First Division.

Despite almost going bankrupt in 1910 and enduring relegation back to the second Division in 1913, the outbreak of the First World War saved Arsenal FC in a way. The grandstand at their Plumstead ground was burnt down by the Suffragettes, so they moved across the River Thames to Highbury.

Controversially promoted back into an expanded First Division via a Football League vote in 1919, Arsenal have never been relegated since. They are one of England’s most successful clubs domestically winning the league championship on 13 occasions and first in 1930-31, the FA Cup a record 14 times and League Cup twice.

At their most dominant in the 1930s, the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2003-04 won the Premier League title without losing a game. In more recent times, the Gunners have been best known for their exploits in FA Cup fixtures with an excellent record when reaching the final.

Emblazoned on the Arsenal badge is a mounted cannon. It is one of the most appropriate logos in football. Initially three barrels viewed from above, this changed to a single cannon pointing westwards from 1922 but then changed direction to eastwards from 2002 when the current crest was adopted.

Arsenal Kit

The Arsenal kits worn at home are easily recognisable. They play in a red jersey with white sleeves, white shorts and red socks. These are the traditional colours of an Arsenal shirt and home strip. When they’re on the road, however, there are different outfits for the players.

Whereas the Arsenal home kit is clearly defined with a few variations of style with each new season, the strip on their travels contrasts with this. A popular Arsenal away kit over the years has seen the Gunners turn out in different shades of yellow, sometimes with navy shorts. Other change strips have been predominantly different hues of blue in recent years.

Club Honours

  • Premier League / First Division – 13 times: 1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1947-48, 1952-53, 1970-71, 1988-89, 1990-91, 1997-98, 2000-01, 2003-04
  • Top Flight Promotions – twice: 1903-04, 1914-15 (voted ahead of 1919-20)
  • FA Cup14 times: 1929-30, 1935-36, 1949-50, 1970-71. 1978-79, 1992-93, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17, 2019-20 
  • EFL Cup / League Cup – twice: 1986-87, 1992-93
  • FA Community Shield / Charity Shield – 16 times: 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1991 (joint), 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2020
  • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup / European Cup Winners’ Cup – once: 1993-94

The Gunners haven’t had much luck in European competitions. The one time they reached the final in 2006, Arsenal Champions League hopes of glory were dashed by FC Barcelona and impact sub Henrik Larsson setting up both goals in a 2-1 win. Although the won the old Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994, that remains their only continental honour.

When Arsenal F.C. have been in the UEFA Cup / Europa League, they have lost finals in 2000 and 2019. While the Gunners hold the record for most FA Cup wins, another lucky event for them is the Community Shield. Their 16 victories in that season curtain-raiser is only bettered by one other club.

Latest Arsenal Betting Odds

All of the leading Premier League betting sites tend to treat the Gunners differently. Some believe the consistency of previous eras to be a thing of the past but don’t discount them from going on a run in cup competitions. Here are the latest Arsenal odds on offer with the bookies:

Competition Best Arsenal Odds Bookmaker
Premier League 25/2 SBK logo
FA Cup 12/1 Bet365 logo
EFL Cup 12/1 Betfred logo
Europa League 6/1 logo betvictor
All prices correct as of 13:00 BST on Tuesday, 23 August 2022.

Arsenal Squad

You can always expect talented players in the Gunners’ ranks. While today’s roster may not quite reach the heights of the Arsenal Invincibles team, there are some very gifted footballers plying their trade in this corner of North London. We break down the current Arsenal squad by position:

Arsenal Goalkeeper Options

Bob Wilson, Pat Jennings, David Seaman, Jens Lehmann and Petr Cech are just some of the great Gunners goalies at the club down the years. When it comes to Arsenal games today, here are the keepers in the first team picture vying for a starting spot:

  • 1. Aaron Ramsdale (England)
  • 30. Matt Turner (USA)

Arsenal Defenders

Plenty of Gunners legends play at the back. We’re talking about Terry Neill, Pat Rice, David O’Leary, Kenny Sansom, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Steve Bould, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Per Mertesacker and more. Today’s Arsenal line up in defence have some act to follow but here they are:

  • 2. Hector Bellerin (Spain)
  • 3. Kieran Tierney (Scotland)
  • 4. Ben White (England)
  • 6. Gabriel Magalhaes (Brazil)
  • 12. William Saliba (France)
  • 16. Rob Holding (England)
  • 17. Cedric Soares (Portugal)
  • 18. Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan)
  • 35. Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ukraine)

Arsenal Midfielders

Go back through the Gunners’ history and you’ll find a ton of great midfielders, wingers and wide players. George Armstrong, Graham Rix, Paul Merson, Ray Parlour, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Gilberto Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil are just some examples. These are the midfielders competing for spots in the next Arsenal match right now:

  • 5. Thomas Partey (Ghana)
  • 7. Bukayo Saka (England)
  • 8. Martin Odegaard (Norway)
  • 10. Emile Smith Rowe (England)
  • 15. Ainsley Maitland-Niles (England)
  • 21. Fabio Vieira (Portugal)
  • 23. Albert Sambi Lokonga (Belgium)
  • 25. Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)
  • 34. Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)

Arsenal Strikers

Playing up front for the Gunners means following in the footsteps of Cliff Bastin, John Radford, George Graham, Charlie Nicholas, Alan Smith, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie, Olivier Giroud and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to name a few great strikers. Here are the present forwards looking to nail down their places in the Arsenal team news and starting XI today:

  • 9. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
  • 11. Gabriel Martinelli (Brazil)
  • 14. Eddie Nketiah (England)
  • 19. Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)
  • 24. Reiss Nelson (England)
  • 27. Marquinhos (Brazil)

Arsenal Players with Most Appearances

If footballers want to make it on to the all-time top 10 appearances list for the Gunners, then it’s perfectly simple. They have to play in 480 Arsenal matches, which is a pretty high threshold. The club has inspired great loyalty from those representing it on the pitch down the years, including these guys:

Rank Player Name Years League Games FA Cup Matches League Cup Appearances European Games Other Matches Total
1 David O’Leary 1975-1993 558 70 70 21 3 722
2 Tony Adams 1983-2002 504 54 59 48 4 669
3 George Armstrong 1961-1977 500 60 35 26 0 621
4 Lee Dixon 1988-2002 458 54 45 57 5 619
5 Nigel Winterburn 1987-2000 440 47 49 43 5 584
6 David Seaman 1990-2003 405 48 38 69 4 564
7 Pat Rice 1964-1980 397 67 36 27 1 528
8 Peter Storey 1965-1977 391 51 37 22 0 501
9 John Radford 1964-1976 379 44 34 24 0 481
10 Peter Simpson 1964-1978 370 53 33 21 0 477
 All-time appearances list correct as of Tuesday, 23 August 2022.

All Time Arsenal Top Scorers

A mere 125 goals for the club will put you on the Gunners leading scorers list. That sounds a lot simpler than it actually is. These are the leading marksmen among Arsenal players across all competitions and in the team’s entire history:

Rank Player Name Years League Goals FA Cup Goals League Cup Goals European Goals Other Goals Total 
1 Thierry Henry 1999-2007 & 2012 175 8 2 42 1 228
2 Ian Wright 1991-1998 128 12 29 15 1 185
3 Cliff Bastin 1929-1947 150 26 0 0 2 178
4 John Radford 1964-1976 111 15 12 11 0 149
5= Jimmy Brain 1923-1931 125 14 0 0 0 139
5= Ted Drake 1934-1945 124 12 0 0 3 139
7 Doug Lishman 1948-1956 125 10 0 0 2 137
8 Robin van Persie 2004-2012 96 10 6 20 0 132
9 Joe Hulme 1926-1938 107 17 0 0 1 125
10 David Jack 1928-1934 113 10 0 0 1 124

Biggest Arsenal Signings & Transfers

While Arsenal today probably can’t compete with the richest clubs in world football, they have often been run prudently. This has coincided with their recent policy in the transfer window.

Besides developing what homegrown players they can, they also often purchase young talent from Europe, Africa and South America and develop them. The aim is for the Gunners to get the most they can out of these footballers whilst entering and in their prime.

Most Expensive Arsenal Transfers

The Gunners have only made three signings that cost in excess of £50,000,000 up front. There has been a reluctance to spend big money at the club. The Arsenal transfer record for a buy stands at over £70,000,000 though. Review their biggest signings in terms of outlay below:

Rank Player Name Year Signed Club Signed From Reported Fee
1 Nicolas Pepe 2019 Lille £72,000,000
2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2018 Borussia Dortmund £56,000,000 with £5,000,000 in add-ons
3 Ben White 2021 Brighton & Hove Albion £50,000,000
4 Alexandre Lacazette 2017 Lyon £45,000,000 with £7,000,000 in add-ons
5= Thomas Partey 2020 Atletico Madrid £45,000,000
5= Gabriel Jesus 2022 Manchester City £45,000,000

Club’s Most Expensive Sales

While few Arsenal signings have cost the earth in football terms, the same can be said of their departures. The Gunners’ record sale was just £25,000,000 until 2011 when then Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas returned to Spain. They have since only let one player go for more money. Here are the club’s top five departures in terms of fees:

Rank Player Name Year Sold Club Sold To Reported Fee
1 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 2017 Liverpool £40,000,000
2= Cesc Fabregas 2011 Barcelona £35,000,000
2= Alex Iwobi 2019 Everton £35,000,000
4= Marc Overmars 2000 Barcelona £25,000,000
4= Emmanuel Adebayor 2009 Manchester City £25,000,000

Arsenal Manager List – Head Coaches Past & Present

There have been just 28 permanent and caretaker Arsenal managers throughout the club’s storied history. Mikel Arteta, a former Arsenal captain, occupies the hotseat right now. Here are all the Gunners gaffers from the very beginning right through until today:

  • Thomas Mitchell (1897-1898)
  • William Elcoat (1898-1899)
  • Arthur Kennedy (1899)*
  • Harry Bradshaw (1899-1904)
  • Phil Kelso (1904-1908)
  • George Morrell (1908-1915)
  • James McEwen (1915-1919)*
  • Leslie Knighton (1919-1925)
  • Herbert Chapman (1925-1934)
  • Joe Shaw (1934)*
  • George Allison (1934-1947)
  • Tom Whittaker (1947-1956)
  • Jack Crayston (1956-1958)
  • George Swindin (1958-1962)
  • Billy Wright (1962-1966)
  • Bertie Mee (1966-1976)
  • Terry Neill (1976-1983)
  • Don Howe (1983-1986)
  • Steve Burtenshaw (1986)*
  • George Graham (1986-1995)
  • Stewart Houston (1995)*
  • Bruce Rioch (1995-1996)
  • Stewart Houston (1996)*
  • Pat Rice (1996)*
  • Arsene Wenger (1996-2018)
  • Unai Emery (2018-2019)
  • Freddie Ljungberg (2019)*
  • Mikel Arteta (2019-present)
* Caretaker

Arsenal Stadium – The Emirates Stadium

The Arsenal Stadium better known as the Emirates StadiumAfter opening at the start of the 2006-07 season, the Gunners now have the fourth largest football stadium in England. The new Arsenal ground, called the Emirates Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is on Ashburton Grove in the Holloway district of Islington, North London.

The Gunners previously called Highbury home from 1913 to 2006 after moving from Manor Ground in Plumstead just before the outbreak of the First World War. Both Highbury and the Emirates have been called Arsenal Stadium alternatively. The two grounds are very close together, less than a mile apart as the crow flies, with Highbury Square now the site of the club’s long-time home.

Arsenal Rivalries

The Arsenal score in certain games matters even more than others. This is because, like any of the top Premier League teams, the Gunners have developed rivalries were other clubs over the years. Most of these feuds are with other London sides. We start with their nearest neighbours, Tottenham Hotspur:

Arsenal vs Tottenham – The North London Derby

Spurs resented Arsenal F.C. moving into their turf, just four miles from White Hart Lane, when the switch from Manor Ground to Highbury happened in 1913. Things really escalated in the Tottenham vs Arsenal rivalry after the First World War when national football resumed in 1919.

The Football League decided to expand the old First Division but, rather than save Tottenham Hotspur from relegation after finishing bottom in 1914-15, the last completed season, the Gunners were voted in to the top flight in their place. That is a major reason why the Arsenal vs Spurs rivalry became so heated.

Over the next century, this match has developed into a must-see game for any football fan. Spurs vs Arsenal is a feud that the Gunners have historically had the better of. They hold a clear edge over their North London neighbours and bitter enemies in league and domestic cup encounters. Here are the Arsenal results and head-to-head against Tottenham:

Competition Arsenal Wins Draws Spurs Wins
League Games 68 47 55
FA Cup Matches 4 0 2
League Cup Games 7 3 4
European Matches 0 0 0
Other Games 0 1 0
Total 79 51 61

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Here’s a fact for you. No Arsenal game against Chelsea in Europe has ended in a Gunners victory. That only turns up the heat on a rivalry that at one time decided who would be Premier League champions. Back in the middle part of the first decade of the 2000s, Chelsea vs Arsenal FC was a match with some real spice.

Respective managers Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho didn’t get on. There was name-calling that carried on long after “the Special One” left Stamford Bridge. England left back Ashley Cole departed the Gunners for Chelsea causing more friction, while the 2007 League Cup final between the two clubs was marred by three red cards.

As Arsenal fixtures go, then, these games are also pretty terse. The head-to-head record shows the Gunners enjoying the better of league and FA Cup encounters but Chelsea enjoy that undefeated record in Europe against them. Here’s the full tale of the tape:

Competition Arsenal Wins Draws Chelsea Wins
League Games 66 50 54
FA Cup Matches 10 6 5
League Cup Games 3 1 4
European Matches 0 1 2
Other Games 1 1 1
Total 80 59 66

Liverpool vs Arsenal

Much like Chelsea, the Gunners haven’t beaten Liverpool FC in European competition but hold a clear edge in the FA Cup. League meetings favour the Merseysiders, meanwhile. These are the Arsenal vs Liverpool head-to-head stats:

Competition Arsenal Wins Draws Liverpool Wins
League Games 65 52 78
FA Cup Matches 8 4 5
League Cup Games 6 5 7
European Matches 0 1 1
Other Games 2 0 2
Total 81 62 93

Arsenal vs Man United

Man U vs Arsenal FC is a rivalry that reached fever pitch in the late 1990s and early 2000s surrounding the two managers and the club’s respective captains. Legendary Gunners gaffer Wenger had a long-running feud with his Old Trafford counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson. These two bosses battled it out for the Premier League title for several season.

Arsenal vs Man Utd somehow only became even more intense rivals when Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane opposed on another in midfield. Two combative engine room operators, they came to symbolise their respective clubs. While the Gunners under Wenger were all about the French connection, Manchester United were the best of British (and Irish) with a sprinkling of foreign talent.

Man Utd vs Arsenal is now viewed as a classic British football rivalry. From clashes in the tunnel to tackles flying in on the pitch, games were never short on drama or importance. Arsenal vs Man U enjoyed renewed heat when Robin van Persie left North London for Manchester and fired Ferguson’s men to the title.

Man United vs Arsenal isn’t a rivalry that has seen the Gunners always to best effect. They trail head-to-heads in the league and domestic cups, while they’ve beaten the Red Devils in Europe. The FA Community Shield has been kind to Arsenal, though as previous meetings reveal:

Competition Arsenal Wins Draws Man Utd Wins
League Games 73 49 84
FA Cup Matches 6 2 8
League Cup Games 2 0 4
European Matches 0 0 2
Other Games 4 2 0
Total 81 62 93

Man City vs Arsenal

Until they started poaching players from the Gunners like Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna and Kolo Toure, Manchester City weren’t really rivals. In a couple of summer transfer windows, all the latest Arsenal news felt like it was footballers being linked with swapping the Emirates for the Etihad.

Arsenal vs Man City is one rivalry where the Gunners clearly hold a decisive edge. League matches and FA Cup ties sit in their favour. That doesn’t change the fact that fans in North London remain jealous of this team for snapping up top talent. This is the full head-to-head list of past encounters:

Competition Arsenal Wins Draws Man City Wins
League Games 87 44 57
FA Cup Matches 4 0 1
League Cup Games 5 1 4
European Matches 0 0 0
Other Games 2 0 0
Total 98 45 62

Arsenal vs West Ham

West Ham United have become a more local rival for the Gunners ever since they left Upton Park and moved into the old Olympic Stadium. Now called the London Stadium, it’s just five miles between the Hammers’ current ground and the Emirates. The West Ham vs Arsenal is one where the Gunners have won twice as many matches as their opponents as the overall head-to-head record shows:

Competition Arsenal Wins Draws West Ham Wins
League Games 64 35 29
FA Cup Matches 4 6 5
League Cup Games 2 0 1
Total 70 41 35

European Rivalries

Besides Barcelona, who defeated the Gunners in the 2006 Champions League final, their European feuds with teams on the continent are mainly Italian and German. They’ve seen plenty of Bundesliga big boys Bayern Munich in the 2010s, for example.

Arsenal have had just the one tie with Real Madrid in history. They also lost the 2000 UEFA Cup final on penalties to Turkish heavyweights Galatasaray. Other than winning the old Cup Winners’ Cup, they just haven’t had a lot of luck in European competitions.

That win in 1994 came over Parma. It’s other Italian Serie A teams that have been consistently at the top of football in that country that Arsenal fixtures in Europe have included since. We’re talking about the biggest clubs in Italy.

Notably AC Milan actually, a team the Gunners have met in the knockout phase of both the Champions League and Europa League and won ties against. Seeing multiple opposition players sent off in their 2006 Champions League quarter-final meeting with Juventus also added a dimension to any future meetings with the Old Lady.

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Jamie Clark (@JamieClarkSport) edited Coral bookmakers’ digital platforms for a number of years with great success before forging a successful freelance career as a tipster. Growing up in an equine environment, Jamie is never afraid to take on the favourite and focuses on value. He is now sourcing you winners at SportsLens from the best of the British and Irish horse racing action.