December 31, 2011
Well, Thierry Henry is all but confirmed as an Arsenal player again and despite all the worries and reservations as an Arsenal fan you can not help but feel that buzz of excitement and anticipation to see him back in the red and white.
Lest we forget, Henry is one of the reasons we expect so much of our strikers these days. A force of nature in his pomp, Henry was capable of tearing any defence to shreds with his pace, his movement and his pin sharp finishing. With Henry in the side we barely needed to create chances. Here was a player who could receive the ball with his back to goal outside the penalty area, flick the ball up, swivel and knock it beyond the flailing arms of the Manchester United keeper. Here was a man who could receive the ball deep in his own half and drift past the entire Spurs eleven before slamming home and sliding on his knees in front of their knuckle headed fanbase.
Will he still have that magic? If he only has half of it he’ll be a worthwhile signing. In his press conference yesterday, which contained barely any mention of our important match against QPR today, Arsene Wenger insisted that one thing that was not at risk was Henry’s legacy:
You can never take away from people what they have done, that will remain forever. Nobody expects him to be what he was 10 years ago, we just want him to help out.
I think it is just credit to him to want to be helpful to a club that has given him so much. Therefore I feel there is no special pressure to be the player he was before.
He was keen to stress that Robin Van Persie is still the main striker at the club and that Henry’s role will likely be peripheral. His aim no doubt to manage expectations as much as possible. Wenger also mentioned the pride that our fans feel in the ‘special link we have with former players’. Henry loves this club. He’s always said that at some stage he would be back. I thought he was referring to some sort of coaching role. That could still happen. But first he’ll have one last hurrah on the pitch.
It’s been said that he’s coming in as a replacement for Chamakh, off to the African Nations Cup. I see him more as the replacement for Gervinho. He can play all across the front three and as the boss said yesterday he was very successful playing from the left for Barcelona to feed Ibrahimovic in the middle. Barring rest days and injuries Van Persie is not about to lose his place in the side so I see the two of them working in tandem. A lip smacking prospect.
Le Boss insists that Henry still has it and that he knew he did within minutes of watching him back in training at London Colney:
I met him when he was 17 years old. I had him here at 22 so I know every movement that he can make. He is a super-intelligent guy and he is a special talent. In our job, you need to have the body to respond to what your brain wants to do. For a while he had some Achilles problems but he is fit again.
I knew that we needed a short-term solution and that he has the quality and capacity to help us out. You do not find players on the planet of this quality who are available for two months.
As I’ve said before, if this is the only signing we make this January I still reserve the right to be disappointed. Wenger refused to commit to further signings yesterday, insisting again that we have too many players in the squad already but leaving the door open by commenting that for someone to come in players would have to leave. Inevitably the next question was about Arshavin and Chamakh and whether they have a future at the club:
Every player who is in the squad has a future. It is very difficult to speak individually about the player and whether they play in the coming months. It depends on their form and the need for them in the squad.
Both of them have an outstanding attitude so I’m very happy with them.
So not exactly a ringing endorsement of those two. I think it’s clear that if we are to sign anyone else one or both of them would have to go. Have we had contact with clubs about a possible deal? Who can say? But if you’re looking for a clue as to who we might bring in you’d do as well to look out for clubs coming in for those two.
With all this talk of players leaving and legends returning it’s easy to forget that we have a game today. The team news is pretty much as you were. No new injuries, only Theo returning from his bout of sickness. I think the team will look like this:
Djourou – Per – Kos – Verm
Arteta – Song – Ramsey
Gerv – RVP – Theo
Ramsey’s likely to return having been rested on Tuesday. RVP will play, desperate for a hat trick to finally nick that record. He’s made a big thing recently about the record not being high on his list of priorities but there were occasions against Wolves where I felt he tried to score from a couple of impossible looking headers where he might have just nodded back across goal. One of his qualities is that he’s an unselfish player in front of goal but perhaps that’s been compromised somewhat by his current situation.
I’d love him to get that record today but not as much as I’d love three points but at least either way, by the end of the day we can stop talking and thinking about it.
It’s a game we definitely should be winning if we even want to think about top four this season but QPR are capable of putting in a performance. Ask Chelsea.
While the points dropped against Wolves were extremely annoying the important thing is that we avoid turning it into a real slump. Arsene said:
Our experience against Wolves tells us that everybody fights, every game is difficult. At the moment what we want is to bounce back. Look at the consistency we have shown in the last 10 to 12 games and we only lost at Man City in an unfortunate way.
During the Christmas period we have taken three points against Villa and dropped two against Wolves so it is important to bounce back quickly now.
It’s another 10am start for me, back at the less than authentic ‘English Pub’ situated as it is in a strip mall next to a print shop. Not a lucky spot for me but I have no other options. If it goes badly you can blame me.
If You Liked This...
- Cesc reveals team’s attitude problems + RVP’s record – Let’s get it over with
- Arsenal 1 – 0 QPR: RVP makes it a happy new year as Arsene threatens to dip into the transfer market
- Arsenal 1 – 1 Wolves: Will lessons ever be learned?
- Stephen Hunt, What a c…omplete liar + Arsene: No new full backs
- Opportunity knocks + I’ve got a wager for you, Samir