Chido Joins The Arsenal Elite

Arsenal players with seven or more goals in a game

Followers of Arsenal’s academy can’t help but have noticed schoolboy Chido Martin Obi’s rich vein of form. Today he scored seven goals for the under-18s at Norwich City. This brings his goal tally to 25 in his last 9 games which is even more remarkable when you consider that he is playing against boys who are one / two years older than he is.

David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Goal machine (pic: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Chido becomes the 11th Arsenal player to have scored seven or more goals in a game, although circumstances actually mean that he his one of six to have done it in competitive games that stood.

The first player to score seven in a game for Arsenal was Jimmy Charteris in a reserve team friendly against the Northumberland Fusiliers on 26 October 1889 which the Gunners won 12-1.

Tommy Meade became the first Arsenal player to achieve the feat in a competitive game on 27 February 1897. This came in a 16-0 win against Maidstone Church Institute in the Kent League in which Arsenal fielded their reserve team. Two years before this game Meade had become Arsenal’s youngest ever goalscorer, a record he held for 86 years!

The next time it happened was in Arsenal’s biggest ever win: 26-1 against a Parisian XI on 5 December 1904. The score-line was even more remarkable as Arsenal’s team consisted of a number of reserve team players, one of whom was Bob Watson who scored seven.

Woolwich Arsenal fans didn’t have to wait too long before the next time this feat was repeated. On 12 October 1907 Bertie Freeman scored seven against Crystal Palace in a London League (1st Division) game which Arsenal won 9-0.

With Arsenal having to sell their best players to survive, taking on the financial burden of the move to Highbury and the effects of the Great War it wasn’t until 24 February 1923 that another player scored as many as seven in a game. Having started the season as first choice inside-right Bert White lost his place and was relegated to the reserves. In a friendly against an Athenian League XI he showed that he was playing well above his level.

The next player to join the club is the most famous of all. On 14 December 1935 Ted Drake wrote himself into football folklore. Despite playing with a heavily bandaged knee he put the ball past Aston Villa’s goalkeeper seven times at Villa Park. He had one more shot in the game that hit the woodwork! Ted is the only player to score seven in a senior competitive game for Arsenal. This is the record for the most goals scored by a player in one game in the top flight of English football.

World War 2 was looming and when it hit, English football was abandoned. Regional leagues were introduced but the ability of clubs to field full strength teams became impossible as players were called into service. This resulted in some incredible scorelines, none more so than Arsenal beating Clapton Orient 15-2 in the London War Cup on 8 February 1941. Leslie Compton had been a reserve team full-back before the war but was converted to a highly effective centre-forward for the early years of the war. In 1939-40 he scored 44 goals in 45 games, and 42 goals in 36 games the following season. Ten of those goals came in the game against Orient. Towards the end of the war Les played at centre-half where he would become a major influence in the Gunners’ post war success. Unfortunately for Les, wartime games don’t count towards official figures.

On 27 August 1958 Denis Clapton (younger brother of Danny) put seven past Dartford in 10-1 win in the Metropolitan League. Denis would go on to play four Football League games for Arsenal, the last of which was alongside his brother. This was the last time that two brothers played in the same team for Arsenal at senior level.

Next is the only player to score more than seven goals for Arsenal but all to no avail. By December 1959 Southend’s youth team were suffering a torrid time in the South East Counties League having lost 12 of their 13 games and conceding 60 goals. Billy Meadows took full advantage of their leaky defence, banging eight past them in a 16-1 win. The following week the young Gunners gave them another thrashing (7-0) and shortly after this Southend dropped out of the league meaning that their record was expunged along with Billy’s eight goals.

It would be more than 40 years before another Arsenal player would hit a septet. On 28 October 2000 Carlin Itonga performed the feat in a Premier League Under-19 game against Ipswich. Carlin would play his only senior game the following season in the League Cup game against Manchester United.

This brings us to today with Chido scoring seven goals against Norwich. Having scored his seven in the first 64 minutes there was hope that he might get one or two more but he let Andre Annous and Dan Casey finish off the rout, although we are told that he missed a couple of sitters. Hopefully he can go one better next week.


Copies of our books Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South and Arsenal: The Complete Record 1886-2018 are still available from the publishers.