Arsenal's Golden Boots

Alan Smith with the Golden Boot

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 2018/19 Golden Boot win meant that since Alan Smith's 23 goals helped the Gunners to their 1989 championship win, Arsenal players have won more top division golden boots* than players from any other side - claiming nine of the trophies on offer.

Alan Smith 1988/89

Alan Smith’s Golden Boots propelled Arsenal towards two spectacular championship wins. In 1989, his header early in the second half put Arsenal 1-0 up at Anfield in the final game of the season. But with the Gunners winning the championship on goals scored, every goal that season was crucial and Smith got 23 of them. While many Golden Boot winners can count on a few penalties boosting their overall totals, Smith’s 23 goals featured no penalties at all.

Related article: Watching Arsenal win the title in 1989 with my Dad

Alan Smith 1990/91

After a disappointing title defence in 89/90 - during which Smith only managed ten league goals - the pressure was on. Arsenal’s new signings - David Seaman and Anders Limpar - slotted into the side seamlessly. Limpar’s trickery and accurate delivery from the wings led to an upturn in Smith’s fortune in front of goal - and helped the Gunners become champions again.

Smith had a slow start to the season. Although he scored in the first game against Wimbledon, he then went on a long barren run. He found his form again with two goals against Southampton on 17 November, as Arsenal responded in style to the deduction of two points after the Old Trafford brawl.

Smith scored consistently from then on, and clinched the Golden Boot with four goals in the last two games of the season - including a hat-trick against Manchester United, as Arsenal celebrated their title win.

Ian Wright 1991/92

Ian Wright joined Arsenal in September 1991 with five goals already under his belt for Crystal Palace. His start to life in an Arsenal shirt was sensational, netting on his debut in a cup tie at Leicester, before scoring a fantastic hat-trick on his league debut at Southampton. Alan Smith admitted in his autobiography that he was intimidated by Wright’s presence both on and off the field - although Smith had started the season in fine form himself, with seven goals in nine matches. In some ways Smith was right to be wary – he finished the season with 12 league goals, while Wright succeeded Smith as the league’s top scorer with 24. Wright clinched the Golden Boot in dramatic style. Going into the final game of the season against Southampton at Highbury, Wright trailed Gary Lineker by a single goal. Lineker scored at Old Trafford to take his total to 28, while Wright scored a hat-trick in the last twenty minutes to finish top scorer.

Related article: Ian Wright's league debut

Thierry Henry 2001/02

Thierry Henry arrived at Arsenal as a World Cup winning winger and took a little while to acclimatise to both a new league and a new position as Arsenal centre-forward. Henry started slowly, failing to score in his first seven league games. Though once he found his feet - and the back of the net - did so with increasing regularity. Seventeen goals in his first season was a respectable total but didn’t trouble the league’s top scorers. He matched that total in 2000/01, then really took off as a goal scorer in 2001/02. His 24 goals made him top scorer, and helped make Arsenal Premier League Champions.

Thierry Henry 2003/04

Henry failed to retain his Golden Boot by just one goal in 2002/03, coming second to Ruud van Nistelrooy. Henry’s growing influence on Arsenal and the Premier League was such that despite only being one goal behind Van Nistelrooy, he smashed the Premier League assists record with an astonishing 20 (ten clear of Ryan Giggs, in second place). In 2003/04 Henry reclaimed his place as the league’s top scorer as he helped Arsenal’s Invincibles to another championship, scoring 30 goals - eight clear of Alan Shearer, his nearest rival.

Thierry Henry 2004/05

Arsenal were unable to retain their Premier League title, and their 49 game unbeaten run came to an end at Old Trafford in October 2004. The Gunners ultimately finished a distant second to Chelsea but Henry once again proved himself to be the clear front runner for the Golden Boot. His 25 goals saw him finish four ahead of his nearest challenger, Andy Johnson. Robert Pires finished as third top Premier League scorer with 14 goals.

Thierry Henry 2005/06

Henry clinched his third successive Golden Boot and again finished well clear of his nearest rivals, finishing the season with 27 goals; Ruud van Nistelrooy coming in second with 21. It wasn’t enough to mount a challenge for the Premier League title though, with Arsenal finishing well off the pace in fourth place. For Henry it proved to be the end of a remarkable period of dominance.

Robin van Persie 2011/12

Although Robin van Persie’s last season with Arsenal saw him match Henry’s 2003/04 thirty goal haul, it failed to take Arsenal anywhere near the Manchester clubs at the top of the table, with City clinching the title just ahead of United. Van Persie beat Wayne Rooney to the Golden Boot, and Alex Ferguson duly swooped in, to join Van Persie up with Rooney at Old Trafford.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2018/19

Arsenal’s season ended in disappointment, with a fifth-place finish and defeat in the Europa League Final. Aubameyang was a rare bright spot for the Gunners that season. His 22 goals meant he shared the Golden Boot with the Liverpool duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in what was his first full season in the Premier League. Aubameyang is the first Arsenal player to share the boot.

For latest articles follow me on Twitter @GoonerNostalgic or like my page on Facebook

*Note: Alan Smith and Ian Wright were technically the winners of the 'Golden Shoe'. The Golden Shoe became the Golden Boot in 1993.