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Return of the King

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Phil McNulty | 08:47 UK time, Tuesday, 10 January 2012

On the night Eric Cantona announced he wants to run for the French presidency, a fellow countryman reclaimed his crown as the King of Arsenal.

Thierry Henry took four touches to get a feel of the old place again and a fifth - stroked effortlessly with his right foot beyond Leeds United goalkeeper Andy Lonergan - to add to his legend as Arsenal's greatest goalscorer.

Arsene Wenger joined those gathered inside Emirates Stadium in sporting a smile that looked like it might need to be surgically removed after Henry took ten minutes from his introduction as a second-half substitute to become an Arsenal match-winner once more.

The idea of Henry revisiting old glories at the club where he is so revered that a statue was recently unveiled in his honour once seemed almost as fanciful as Cantona's notions of high office.


Thierry Henry scored the only goal of the game against Leeds United in the FA Cup Third Round in a dramatic return to North London. Photo: Getty

And yet here he was, 12 minutes from the end of a dour, attritional FA Cup third-round tie with Leeds, ruler of all he surveyed once more with a glorious reminder of what made him arguably the Premier League's finest player.

Henry took a pass from Alex Song in the manner he used to receive service from Patrick Vieira or the watching Emmanuel Petit before showing a composure that had previously been beyond his Arsenal colleagues to finish perfectly.

Emirates Stadium has occasionally been derided, unfairly it should be said, as a cold, soulless arena. This magical moment brought it alive with emotion.

Henry pointed at the turf in a gesture that suggested he was back where he belonged, raced to embrace Wenger, thumped his chest with his right hand and was joined by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who showed a fine turn of speed, in rapturous celebration.

The pain belonged to Leeds but the unbridled pleasure belonged to Arsenal. Even the neutrals appreciated the scale of the moment.

Here was a returning champion proving some of the former lustre remained. Young Arsenal fans who may have missed his greatness first time around saw in the flesh what all the fuss was about as goal number 227 hit the back of the net.

And plenty of the old guard were there to see it. In various guises Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and Petit were all mingling with the media before kick-off, as intrigued as everyone else as to how their great former team-mate, who left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007, would manage his return.

Of course it is all a little starry-eyed, maybe even overstated, as Henry is simply one game into a six-and-a-half-week stint away from his real day job at New York Red Bulls.

But some of these romantic moments have been sucked out of the game in recent years and Wenger summed it up perfectly.

He described it as the sort of story you would tell children if they wanted a tale about football. And he was right. Bigger, more taxing, tests await Henry - but this was something special.

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The lightning speed is no longer there and the heavily bearded, thick-set figure is not quite the one Arsenal's fans remember. But Henry carries speed of thought and an unquestionable presence. His arrival altered the context and mood of this cup tie.

Henry was the focus of attention from the moment fans filed into the stadium. He was greeted ecstatically when he came out to warm up and thunderously when his name was announced, wearing an unfamiliar number 12 shirt, before kick-off.

It was the night to mark the return of another of the Premier League's old elite after Paul Scholes came out of retirement for Manchester United at Manchester City on Sunday.

As Arsenal dominated but toiled to crack open Leeds's tight defence, the calls for Henry grew louder. One exaggerated sprint down the touchline was the signal for greater demands for his introduction.

He came on after 68 minutes and delivered the decisive contribution - a goal that fittingly stayed as the winner as this was Henry's night.

Leeds manager Simon Grayson carried an air of resignation as he admitted the goal was "written in the stars" - and it was towards the stars Henry gazed at the conclusion of a remarkable cameo.

He lifted his arms to the heavens in relief and elation at the final whistle, then spoke humbly about how he now knew what it felt like, and what it meant, to score such a goal as an Arsenal fan rather than as a player.

This was not Manchester United or Tottenham being put to the sword as in days gone by. This was a game against a limited Championship side, a fact that did little to dilute the way in which the goal was greeted.

Wenger would not be drawn on whether Henry, now 34, would partner the returning Robin van Persie at Swansea at the weekend - but it is a temptation he will have to try very hard to resist.

For Henry and Wenger, this was instant justification for their reunion. Wenger was at pains to point out he would never have considered playing Henry unless he was confident he could make a contribution.

In return for this trust, Wenger believes he is getting a player who can benefit his emerging youngsters because "they see that he is a guy who has done it all but still prepares 100%, is motivated and comes with an immense desire to do well".

Henry's gold-plated reputation was never likely to be damaged by any events during this brief Arsenal comeback but there was always the risk of anti-climax.

Even if he does not make another major contribution he will return to America having provided a memory to treasure.

Wenger said Henry knows he will be compared to how he was before. It is an unfair but understandable measure and was a factor in the elation of his celebrations.

"Thierry is a proud guy. He doesn't want to disappoint people," Wenger said. Henry did not disappoint anyone other than the noisy followers of Leeds.

As Arsenal's fans filed away from Emirates Stadium, many headed towards Henry's statue for a keepsake of the night. The real thing had given them an even bigger souvenir. The King was back.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Great goal from Henry !
    But apart from that he just strutted around pointing at where other players should pass the ball.
    He looked knackered after being on the pitch for 10 mins and was a passenger, the other players had to run more to compensate.
    There is no way he can be used other than a late sub with his current fitness levels, he made Scholes look like Ramires !!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Looks a tad heavier than his previous incarnation at Arsenal.

  • Comment number 3.

    Henry is a great player but at his peak at the end of his Arsenal days he could not motivate and win trophys like the King Cantona!

  • Comment number 4.

    True repo, he didn't do much apart from the goal. But what little he did, he did very well. The current crop could learn from him. Arshavin particularly exerted massive amounts of energy to very little effect (I think he had 6 or 7 wild pot-shots?).

    With the beard and all the standing around unless he's scoring, he kind of reminds me of Darren Bent.

  • Comment number 5.

    As a neutral I have to admit to being pleased for Henry. He is without doubt one of the finest players to ever play in the premier league. For me this was the moment of the season so far. It would take a very hard faced person (or a spurs fan) not to smile or feel pleased about last nights goal (or Leeds I suppose!)

  • Comment number 6.

    Don't get all this lovey-dovey stuff really. Unless you're and Arsenal supporter (or ManUtd supporter with Scholes). Though, as a supporter of either, I would be a little concerned at the clutching of straws that is going on.
    In terms of Henry and Scholes, both have recently commented on the fact that their legs aint what they used to be. At best these things don't just paper over the cracks, they use a roll of original William Morris just to make sure no one questions the cracks.
    Sports journalists love this sort of thing. Gives them the chance to wax lyrical about romance, childhood, and other flowery notions of football. Rather, they should be reporting this for what it is, a managers desperate solution to a situation he has allowed to transpire.

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good for the other strikers at Arsenal FC (except RVP) to know what it is to put the ball behind the net. I think they should all relish this momment and try to replicate it - the guise, precision, passion

  • Comment number 10.

    You gotta hand it to him. Against Leeds as well - not many teams score against them (well not many prem teams anyway as they play in a lower division obviously).

  • Comment number 11.

    great to see this superstar back where he belongs! he IS the king!

  • Comment number 12.

    Russel, almost every footballer has cheated at one time or another. His just happened to be a more consequential episode of cheating than most. And unlike most footballers, he offered a public apology for his cheating. So please, just get over it will you?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    As a Leeds fan must say I was disapointed in Arsenal. This was a game we were always going to struggle with and never likely to win even with our full strength side, never mind one so stricken with injuries. The way we set up was no suprise either, given this, and while I feel we played a bit better than we've been given credit for here, Arsenal were nothing short of poor for me.

    Don't see the hype about this Oxlade-Chamberlain kid, he was easily handled by a defence of youngsters and second string playersthat too often struggle against far less talented Championship grafters. Whilst he may a second string youngster himself, is he not supposed to be the bright new attacking talent of Arsenals future? I may be too hasty to make such a judgement having only seen him the once, but if I were a gooner I wouldn't be too pleased after that performance.

    Andrei Arshavin has all the grace, technique and shooting ability of a park gate. That guy couldn't hit a billboard with a tennis ball last night! Regarding Arsenals striking options without RVP, it speaks volumes for me that the winner had to come from an old legend, shipped in for the MLS close season.

    All in all I feel my side played well in a game we werent going to win. Nice to see such a tight, organised defence, and I feel Clayton did well in midfield so dominated by Alex Song in particular.

    That'll be the FA cup this year, fully expecting Chelsea in the 3rd round next time to complete the set.

  • Comment number 15.

    I hate Arsenal with a passion because of their attitude, arrogance and Wenger's continuing whinging and I was so so happy when bcfc (my team) beat them in the Carling Cup final.

    Having said that it was a magical moment when Henry scored and added a bit of sparkle to what was a very dour game.

    Typically though the London centric BBC and national press have gone overboard as usual, anybody would think that Arsenal had just won the European Cup. Henry is overweight, slow and will be a passenger in Premier League games. Let's have some perspective here.

  • Comment number 16.

    As an admirer of Thierry Henry since he joined Arsenal, last night was a great moment to witness, even though I don't support Arsenal.

    Whilst he may not have it in his legs anymore, that brief moment when he scored showed that he certainly still has the footballing brain that made him a legend at Arsenal in the first place.

    Marouane Chamakh could learn a thing or two from Henry!

    Honestly made me feel younger that goal, could have been a replay of any one of the many he scored in his first spell with Arsenal.

  • Comment number 17.

    I suppose the match was so bad there was nothing else to talk about. Henry is match fit, Scholes certainly wasn't. Henry scored against limited opposition. I don't like him, he is a con artist in my opinion, but he is and will always be a talent. How would he manage against a top team? 20 mins from the end of a match as a sub would do. But really this is a huge huge fuss, about nothing. Now if you told me it was Liam Brady, then I would see the justification in the article.

  • Comment number 18.


    Bring it on-Next game at the Emirates-Scholesy v Thierry;GREAT!!

    Wonder if we can get Keano to put HIS boots back on for it-Prof only has to take Viera on a month's loan from Citeh & we could literally have a smashing retro time on January 22nd!

    Pleased for the guy,class act like our Ginger Ninja in his role on the field,so nice to see he can still do what he did so well for Gooners-Score the winning goal!

  • Comment number 19.

    Why on earth was my post removed for praising him and stating he was a living legend...without swearing? (calling him a cheat on a particular occasion is not an opinion it's a fact)

    Still what a player, what a goal

  • Comment number 20.

    BUT... (continuing on from 16)

    I fear that it may be a step too far to think that he could seriously get an extended run in the side, starting games. He's obviously slower, and probably less fit. It would be a shame to see him lumber about the pitch from the start against younger, fitter players.

    If Wenger really wants to preserve the image of Henry as a legend, the last 20 mins of games should be his aim!

    Still great to see him playing over here agin though.

  • Comment number 21.

    What a guy !!!!!

    and well played Leeds !!

    and some very gracious comments from Grayson.

    it was only 1-0 but were in the next round.

  • Comment number 22.

    What's next? Zola signs up for chelsea to help chelsea while the ACN is on??

  • Comment number 23.

    Repo said: "But apart from that he just strutted around pointing at where other players should pass the ball."

    His positioning was sublime, so he was right to point and teach the young ones. He would've got a hatrick if his team mates looked up rather than shot (on one occasion it was Arshavin and the other time Walcott I think).

    And this is coming from a Chelsea fan who grew up with Henry always banging them in against us. I always used to dream that Chelsea would one day have a player like Henry who could just brush aside and storm past opposition players. The closest we came was Robben.

    It was a spritual moment last night. If Zola had returned back in the day I could relate, or hell if Gudjohnsen does nowadays.

  • Comment number 24.

    From my user name you can see that I am no Arsenal fan, but I am first and foremost a football fan and his return, his goal and even this blog of rememberance from last night gives me goosebumps.

    These are moments that happen so rarely in our game, and they are moments to cherish!

  • Comment number 25.

    Let's not get carried away Phil, Henry scored against a mid table championship side.
    All this shows is that Wenger has bought badly and doesn't trust the foward players he signed like Park.

  • Comment number 26.

    Phil wrote a similar blog a couple days ago about Man Utd and Paul Scholes, that one was all doom and gloom and how Utd were papering over cracks and it was an act of desperation. All Scholes is doing is acting as a back up to Utd and adding an extra body to select from until the end of an injury plagued season for Utd.

    Why is Henry being treated any differently? Obviously Wenger cannot rely on Park or Chamakh anymore so he's brough in Henry for a few week to help take the load off Van Persie.

    Yet looking at the stats of both players, admittedly Henry had less minutes of the pitch than Scholes but Scholes made 71 passes to Henry's 7, Scholes had 1 decent shot on target and Henry's shot on target led to a goal. Both made contributions to their teams so is Scholes an act of desperation and Henry a masterstroke?

    Double standards there phil!!

  • Comment number 27.

    what a shocker that people are trying to put a dampner on this moment? miserable idiots. Obviously, as an Arsenal fan, I'm going to say that but it's good to see that some fans of other clubs also got caught up in the moment.

    Yes, Henry is not the same as when he left the club, he's not going to batter opponents like he used to but Henry is a true legend of Arsenal, the atmosphere around the club since he announced he would return for this short period of time was immense and it was such an amazing moment when he slotted it home last night.

    It was like being transported back to the 2000's, seeing that trademark finish. It added the magic to what was, in truth, a dull match.

    To all those, saying "why all the fuss", if it had been a legend of your team returning and scoring, how would you have reacted?

    The King is Back (albeit only for a short time...)

  • Comment number 28.

    Well who would of guessed this??? You're becoming so predictable with your articles Phil, it's becoming such a bore. Your consistency to ignore any other club in the Premiership other than Utd City Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool is becoming more and more clear.
    You're a terrible journalist with a lack of ideas up your sleeve. I've got a story for you, how about writing about QPR and how they have struggled to win games when they have spent so much, and Swansea and Norwich who have spent nothing, are doing well. That would be an original article Phil. There is more to the Premier League than just the Top 4 or 5.
    You clearly hate Tottenham as well because you never write anything on them either.

    Bias Journalism at it's greatest.

  • Comment number 29.

    #1 Bit harsh, Arsenal did their usual routine where they sat back after the goal and did their best to let Leeds back into the game, there wasn't too much he could do. Henry came on and straight away his movement lifted the team after the lifeless performance of Chamakh. My criticism would be that he was too often looking for a 50-yard diagonal ball over the top. Apart from van Persie there is nobody in the Arsenal squad who could finish like he did. Looking at the replays this morning, he still had a lot of work to do with the finish, but once he took that touch you just sensed he would roll it into the far corner.

    Can he play up front effectively in this system? Probably not. Particularly against a top team. It's a system that requires a top-class striker with a particular skills set, and there are very few, if any, who could do it with the effectiveness of van Persie. Obviously we need to be pragmatic about it, he's not going to partner van Persie up front and score 8 goals in his time here. To be honest, he's probably more suited to playing on the wing, as he was always dangerous cutting in front the left and Arshavin is a waste of space. Anelka and Bellamy are two examples of older players who have lost some of their pace and still been very dangerous in attacking wide positions.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Great to see the legend Henry back again. I loved watching him at Arsenal and he is one of the best premier league players ever. Obviously he isn't the same player now and I don't think too much should be read into a 25 minute cameo against Leeds, but he still has the touch and the finishing prowess.

    I think an interesting point about the return of Henry, and Scholes, is that Arsenal and United perhaps don't have top quality players coming through the youth system right now. I always prefer a team to look forward rather than back and I don't see the long-term value of these kind of moves. If I was Anderson at Man United, I'd be looking for a January move as the boss thinks a retired 37 year old is ahead of me...

    Wenger has clearly changed his policy, or ignored it in the case of Henry. He is a manager that is comfortable to give a young player a chance normally, but it seems he doesn't have anyone coming through at this point. It doesn't help that the gunners currently have ten or twelve players out on loan.

    It will be interesting to see how Henry is used. I'm sure he will score a few goals and perhaps assist several as well. He might just breed confidence into the dressing room. If he starts games ahead of Walcott, Chamakh or Gervinho, I can't see the positive in that. You'll just bury the confidence of them and that is bad moving forward.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    #26 I can only presume you didn't watch the United game. Scholes' passes were almost exclusively 5-yard balls sideways or backwards, he was under no pressure from the City midfield as they was knackered and just let United roll the ball around, yet he still managed to give away the ball for the goal and clip it woefully straight into a waiting City player in the middle of the pitch on another occasion. He looked sluggish on the ball. Comparing how many passes they made is a completely pointless stat.

  • Comment number 34.


    not half as happy to see you trundlers and cloggers dumped back into the championship where your pub standard football rightly belongs.

    chin up

    1 arrogant Gooner here.

  • Comment number 35.

    #30 Who are you referring to?

  • Comment number 36.

    22.At 10:49 10th Jan 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    What's next? Zola signs up for chelsea to help chelsea while the ACN is on??

    Nah they've signed Chris Sutton

  • Comment number 37.

    Why are people comparing Henry to a retired 37 year old?

  • Comment number 38.


    Anderson??? What about Ravel Morrison or Paul Pogba who are being doubted the next big things at Utd and still not even being bench time ahead of a 37 year old.

    Same goes for Arsenal, Chamakh and Park plus the young strikers in the squad must be kicking themselves and once the hype of these legends returning dies down then these kind of players may well be quite annoyed.

  • Comment number 39.

    31.At 10:55 10th Jan 2012, Barca500 wrote:
    If he starts games ahead of Walcott, Chamakh or Gervinho, I can't see the positive in that. You'll just bury the confidence of them and that is bad moving forward.

    To be fair his stay at Arsenal coincides with Gervinho and Chamakh being away at the African Cup, so he won't be starting on front of them, he'd be starting in their absence! But I still think Arshavin and Walcott will support RVP, with Henry probably playing the last 20 mins of most games

  • Comment number 40.

    completely agree with #24- the reason we love sport is for the truly magic moments whatever the scale. he may only be back for a short stint but seeing his celebration and seeing how much it meant to all the arsenal fans to have him back, you can't deny it was special, even if it was against leeds rather than a cup final (although after last season I bet arsenal fans are happy they don't need to trek to elland road again)

    Whatever your opinion of arsenal, if you can't enjoy this then you really don't get what sport is about

  • Comment number 41.

    The perspective is :

    Henry has been brought in to cover for the absence of others, and as was seen last night as an impact sub.

    Nothing more and nothing less

    no one is expecting miracles from him but he will give some teams much to think about.

    welcome back to Arsenal TH.

  • Comment number 42.

    It was nice to see Henry back, a player I'll always remember as the epitome of class when Leeds were playing dour, ugly and awful football that saw us drop out of the league in '04. He scored 4 splendid goals last time round, at Highbury if memory serves (and Pires with the opener, that is going back a long way!) but I still dont really see the point of all this.

    Reaching into the past to advance the future rarely works in football. Unless i'm mistaken I recall Sol Campbells return to Arsenal to be largely a non-event and provided no change. If its an alternative striking option Wenger needs; he shows a striking lack of faith in his youth when he reverts to old warhorses to provide 6 weeks relief for RVP. Would say the same for Ferguson regarding Scholes.

    As far as I'm concerned, as much as a nice throwback and nostalgia trip this is for Arsenal, and the goal last night was all of those things, it provides little as a solution to their attacking options. I think Wenger should've shown a bit of bravery and dared to promote a younger player, or shown a bit of bravery and dared to spend a bit of cash in the January market.

  • Comment number 43.

    26. At 10:51 10th Jan 2012, gazza11984 wrote:

    Wind your neck in mate...Henry is a current (playing) footballer on loan...came in and scored! Scholes is retired, came in and gave a goal away!

  • Comment number 44.

    Just shows how desperate the gooners are to sign "past it" 34 y.o. in a bid provide a partner for RVP. It just shows that times are tight at the emirates, and don't expect any more signings this january.

  • Comment number 45.

    It was night's worth to stay awake and watch the match... I hope our idiots Walcott, Gervinho, Arshavin, Bendtner and Chamakh watched it carefully. That's how it should be done...first chance and the King buried it. I felt euphoric when he scored the goal as everyone else did... but after watching the replay 12 times on YouTube… I recollect it as Henry's 'bread n butter' goal... he's done that hundreds of times before…slotting past the goal keeper from left side by opening his body…Typical Henry finish as Wenger said it in press.

  • Comment number 46.


    Have you tried to make 71 passes in 30 minutes? Wether its 5 yards or 50 yards it takes a required amount of concentration to pull this off. I guess Xavi isnt all that great as his passes are pretty exclusively 5 to 10 yards as well, he's a master at it.

    All i said was, both guys made a contribution to their respective games yet Scholes is being heralded as an act of desperation and Henry a masterstroke.

    I'm a Utd fan and would personally like to see Pogba or Morrison being throw in to prove themselves rather than bring back Scholes.

    As mentioned though, i wasn't really saying Scholes did anything better than Henry, he did score after all. Just asked why there was a certain difference in opinion in the two deals? Maybe you never (bothered to) read my whole post, I dont know, perhaps you just couldnt understand the point.

  • Comment number 47.

    I am not sure about him coming again for long term rather I don’t want him as a player in long term. Because that highlights Arsenal’s short comings more than anything else… I wish the young players who are there now can learn certain things from him… commitment, hard work, scoring goals and pride of wearing the red shirt. I read that he got Man of the Match for yesterday and he was leading in votes at half time when he had not even come to play… that tells about the player himself. Surely he will come back as coach one day but till then let him enjoy with New York Red Bulls and two months at Arsenal every season.

  • Comment number 48.

    I won’t be surprised if Henry scores more goals in this two month loan period for Arsenal than Torres has done in his entire Chelsea career. :P :D

  • Comment number 49.

    I think we expect more from the King. He clearly is not quite fit, certainly not to start games but can have an impact as a sub because of his touch, class and sheer presence. Players dont lose their ability, or their football brain and whilst Henry was remembered for being a supreme athlete of pace and power people forget his ability on the ball to pick the right pass at the right time or play the killer ball. He made many goals for Pires, Freddie, Wiltord etc in his prime and that ability and nous you never lose. Welcome home Thierry, last night was the stuff of fairy tales but from now, get yourself fitter and lets see what more you can bring to us.

  • Comment number 50.

    38.At 11:01 10th Jan 2012, gazza11984

    i think all this has come about due to player prices and wages, no one can critise henry or scholes for coming back, as they know better than anyone it will be harder than ever to preform for them at this level...... fair play

  • Comment number 51.

    Great goal great moment, dont support arsenal but really happy henry scored and i dont see why he cant play premier league games?? When you see players like andy carroll plodding round for a supposedly top team why cant henry?

  • Comment number 52.

    Completely agree, what message does this send to Morrison and Pogba? No wonder both of them haven't signed new contracts when a retired 37 year old gets a start before them.
    As for Wenger, what is he's obsession with forwards?

  • Comment number 53.

    I don't think it's desperate. Henrik Larsson made a significant contribution to Man U's season for the two months he was there aged 35 or 36. So who says Henry can't do the same?

  • Comment number 54.

    People that are claiming Wenger is clutching at straws bringing Henry back....the straw he clutched put his team into the next round of the cup. I don't see a problem. Especially when we fork out £50m for Torres, I congratulate Wenger on a decent bit of business. Plus, if it helps take some of the goal scoring strain off RVP, who can blame him. Granted, he looked slow, bad touch, only made 7 passes, and just generally told people what to do. But as a young player, why wouldn't you listen? The bloke is one of the greatest.

  • Comment number 55.

    All those years at Arsenal and the fans still don't have a song for him?

  • Comment number 56.


    Again all I said was why is there a different perception to the deals when essentially the same. I love how you focus on the one misplaced pass that led to a goal which should of also highlighted Ferdinands poor position and Lindegaards poor handling, the goal could of easily been stopped.

    Its not like scholes has been out the game for years, its been since the summer and he's still training with the team, yes he's ring rusty but he wont be playing 90 minutes ever again.

    I like Henry and his goal was classic Henry, just simply said i dont get why his deal is a masterstroke and Scholes is desperation. Arsenal have fully fit senior strikers where Utd have an injury ravaged midfield. Both deals make sense in their own way.

  • Comment number 57.

    Scholes comes on and runs the show against a supposed "resurgent" city side, and it's desperation. Henry scores after 10 minutes and then ambles around for the rest of the time is the return of the king. Phil, you are without doubt the worst blog writer I have come across, it's been a long time since I commented on one of your awful blogs but to compare your total lack of respect for one legend and to see the total opposite for another, I felt compelled

  • Comment number 58.


  • Comment number 59.

    #46 The point was that you tried to compare the two performances when in reality Scholes was poor and well off the pace, and Henry came on and won the game for Arsenal. Scholes made a negative contribution.

    Of course Henry is a somewhat desperate measure too, but he is still playing football and showed last night he has got still got that killer touch, and is being brought in to deputise whilst 2 attacking options are away on international duty. Scholes is being signed ahead of leaving players like Anderson on the bench, a player that many United fans have claimed is going to step up and prove his class this year. Nobody is saying he's a masterstroke at all, merely that he showed he can be useful to Arsenal, which to be honest they desperately need given the uselessness of Arshavin and Park. Wenger was never going to go out and sign a good striker for £10m+ in January so this is about the best the club could have done. Oh, and he's also the club's leading goalscorer and one of the best players ever to play in this league, so there is also some sentiment involved in the assessment. As there is with Scholes, otherwise even United fans would be questioning why they've signed a 37-year old who wasn't played any football for 8 months and whose legs have been going for years.

  • Comment number 60.

    quality goal from a quality player. Not sure about why people are trying to draw parallels with Scholes, Henry hasn't retired, he is a current footballer! In my opinion the best player of the premier league era, by far. It should be a priviledge for players like Oxlade-Chamberlain to train with and learn from one of the greats. This is a win-win situation for Arsenal. I'm not an Arsenal fan but was buzzing watching the game last night.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think its correct in saying he scored against a champinship side, that had been chasing shadows all game and in the final third of the game. Take nothig away from the finish though.

    I do recall Arsenal fans saying many a bad word when your 'hero' and 'king' left for Barca........i also remember very clearly the remarks of 'cheat' when Henry handled the ball to deny ROI a chance of qualifying......funny how quickly things change hey, and how things are forgotten.

  • Comment number 62.

    #44 We never do expect signings to be honest, the iron grip the board have on the coffers has been dragging the club down for years.

    Unlike United fans, who are bemused Fergie didn't splash out on a midfielder like Sneijder or Modric (price £25-40m) when he only spent £50+m this summer.

  • Comment number 63. what point did Scholes "run the show" against City? I must have been watching a different game.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well, it was a dream for the journalists and it is romantic in itself. I was only listening but it does appear that Henry's contribution wasn't great. That said, I remember Wenger moaning about Drogba's contribution in a fixture a couple of season ago. Did nothing except score two goals!

  • Comment number 65.

    @57 Scholes comes on and runs the show


    if running the show you mean giving the ball away for one of City's goals, creating 0 chances and not having a positive influence on United's play in the 2nd half, then yes, yes Scholes 'ran the show' at least Henry scored.

  • Comment number 66.

    From the previous blog, dying to hear thoughts of soul_patch ;)

    A simple question to The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Your take on Thierry Henry? His goal last night? Do you think he was pub-standard when playing for Arsenal and suddenly became world class sensation when at Barcelona and plunged down to lows at NY Red Bulls and has now once again risen to pub standard playing for Arsenal?

  • Comment number 67.

    Typical Henry goal - seen him score goals of that type countless times. No brainer signing for Wenger and nice to see him get off the mark immediately. Made Torres and Carroll look the waste of money signings they certainly are. Speaking of Carroll, I've had a bet with a Liverpool fan I work with that Henry will outscore Carroll this year even though he has two months to do it as opposed to a full season for Carroll. Looks a dead cert for me.
    As for the game it was poor and Leeds played really well. Arshavin and Chamakh were poor as usual - nothing changes there!

  • Comment number 68.

    @ No.28 - Completely agree with your post. No doubt we'll get ANOTHER article on Thursday about the City/Liverpool semi-final, whilst completely disregarding Tuesday's game between Cardiff and Palace, two teams that have done well to keep momentum going in the Championship, whilst being close to a cup final slot. And like you mentioned, no article on QPR (with their current situation), or the other two teams that came up last season, both of whom are settling in well in the premiership. And I, like you, am waiting on a positive write-up on Spurs, who could be level with United on points after Wednesday's game.
    Regarding Henry and Scholes coming back, isn't anyone else concerned that teams are now relying on bringing back the old guard? Granted, it's only for a short time to help out, but where are the youngsters coming through? United started off this season blooding a few players in their early 20's, and yet the first sign of a blip, they call upon somebody who was registered back into the fold only that very morning. No wonder Pogba and Morrison are looking to move on - maybe they're not good enough yet, I'm not a United fan so I couldn't say for sure. But it must be a kick in the teeth for them to see a 37 year old come on to the pitch when United had the game pretty much sown up.
    One other thing - someone mentioned on Sunday's article about Phil Jones struggling over the last few games, ever since Phil McNulty did that write-up on his initial progress this season - way to go to jinx a guy Phil! Jones has been United's poorest player over the last few weeks, and needs a game or two off to rediscover his early form.

  • Comment number 69.

    62.At 11:18 10th Jan 2012, northbank123 wrote:
    #44 We never do expect signings to be honest, the iron grip the board have on the coffers has been dragging the club down for years.

    Unlike United fans, who are bemused Fergie didn't splash out on a midfielder like Sneijder or Modric (price £25-40m) when he only spent £50+m this summer.

    I personally wouldn't want either sneijder or modric. I can't see what long term sneijder would bring, let alone the whole price tag / fee would be 35m + 250k per week over (most likely a 4 year contract) that would be 47m minimum not including bonuses etc. Is that a valuable investment on someone who's price will reduce?

    But yeah take your point, there was no need to sign young when CM was clearly a problem. maybe he thought cleverley would remain injury free?

  • Comment number 70.

    I used to hate Henry with a passion when he played back in the day for Arsenal, as he always seemed to pop up to score great goals, and important ones too especially against the team I support.

    But seeing him back, and scoring for the Gunners is something special, and one to remember. Reason for my non-love for the guy is because he is/was quality - definately of the best to play in the premiership since inception.

    Im a ManUtd fan btw, and if C Ronaldo should make a return for a few weeks and score on 'debut', I would be just as emotional as how the Emirates felt I guess. I am sure Henry will make just as a huge impact as Larrson did for ManUtd back a few seasons ago.

  • Comment number 71.

    My mate just rang me, Aston Villa are re-signing Dalian Atkinson!

  • Comment number 72.

    At 11:22 10th Jan 2012, SS11 wrote:

    From the previous blog, dying to hear thoughts of soul_patch ;)

    A simple question to The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Your take on Thierry Henry? His goal last night? Do you think he was pub-standard when playing for Arsenal and suddenly became world class sensation when at Barcelona and plunged down to lows at NY Red Bulls and has now once again risen to pub standard playing for Arsenal?

    Hahahaha genius question!

  • Comment number 73.

    if running the show you mean giving the ball away for one of City's goals, creating 0 chances and not having a positive influence on United's play in the 2nd half, then yes, yes Scholes 'ran the show' at least Henry scored.


    Despite being on the pitch for only 30 minutes, he had more touches of the ball than any other city player and had a 97% successful pass rate. You think that is no positive influence? Behave!

  • Comment number 74.

    It always amazes me how negative people are. This was a magical moment, one that almost seems written in the stars. Yes he is old, yes he is heavier, yes he most likely won't have as big an impact as before but for Wenger bringing him back was more that on the pitch. Someone like Henry will be used to the full amount on the training pitch, his passion, his skill and drive to succeed. Surely this is where his biggest benefit will be?

  • Comment number 75.

    Can you imagine if he had not to gone Barca? But please allow him to enjoy 2 months stay at the Gunners by not putting too much pressure.

  • Comment number 76.

    It was a good goal. He took it well. I would question though whether any article should be written on Henry without mention of the handball in Paris in November '09. It is part of Thierry's history.

  • Comment number 77.

    73.At 11:28 10th Jan 2012, Kapnag wrote

    So he had more touches right and had a 97% pass rate, thats brilliant.........however City were down to 10 men and scored 2 goals and looked like scoring a 3rd goal........all these passes accurate or not had no positive influence at all.

    We understand you love Scholes but dont make things up.

  • Comment number 78.

    Pure entertainment value. Henry has ensured that Arsenal have a packed stadium for the next couple of months at least and at a time when other clubs are struggling to put bums on seats.

    Great for Henry, great for AW, great for the owners and more importantly, great for the Arsenal supporters.

    Happy days at the Emirate Stadium.

  • Comment number 79.

    #76 legendzxix

    Doesn't mention his achievements with France either. But then those, and the handball, aren't relevant to this article are they?

  • Comment number 80.

    Am i missing something? He's been in america for the past year not just come back from a career threatening injury. Is is that much of a surprise that Henry can score from 8 yards out when one on one with the keeper?

  • Comment number 81.

    Seriously guys...what are the fans of Leeds United, Manchester United, Chelsea, Spuds etc complaining or sniping about? Henry has been loaned to Arsenal for 6 weeks to cover for Chamakh and Gervinho whilst they are at the African Cup of Nations. Last night, in a little over 10 minutes he wins a game that was fast heading for a draw and a tricky away replay...what's to complain about?

    It's not as if Wenger has bought him for £50m and claimed he is the answer to Arsenal's goal scoring partner to RVP. It's not as if Wenger has stated that we will now go on and win something at last. It's not as if Henry himself has made any claims of looking to make headlines or reminding people of his considerable prowess in front of goal and claiming he will score this many or that many goals. Is it? All he has said is that he would like to give something back to the club and savour the experience this time around (for just 6 short weeks) of what it is like to play for the team that you passionately support. Isnt that the dream of all of us who never played the game professionally and love the sport?

    Shame on the snipers..Henry could be sitting on his backside counting his millions instead he gives something typical of the snipers to try and besmirch it.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think a lot of non-Gunners comments are mising the point, here.

    We know he's not going to be the main man, and we know that his arrival doesn't all of a sudden we will sweep all before us, but it has unquestionably lifted everyone connected to Arsenal, so it can only be a positive.

    Thierry might not do anything else in the next 2 months, but as Phil put it, he's does enough already!

  • Comment number 83.

    Can you imagine if he had not to gone Barca?


    He wouldn't have needed a new trophy cabinet for one thing.

  • Comment number 84.

    26. At 10:51 10th Jan 2012, gazza11984

    Summed up my thoughts exactly.

  • Comment number 85.

    At 11:35 10th Jan 2012, signori wrote:

    all these passes accurate or not had no positive influence at all.


    How in God's name did you work that one out?

  • Comment number 86.

    So he had more touches right and had a 97% pass rate, thats brilliant.........however City were down to 10 men and scored 2 goals and looked like scoring a 3rd goal........all these passes accurate or not had no positive influence at all.

    We understand you love Scholes but dont make things up.


    More touches than any city player who had played the entire 90 minutes! Looked like scoring a 3rd? When? Honestly, all that talk of city comeback, they barely touched the ball, and somehow managed to score a free kick and capitalise on a rusty pass at the back. Making things up....good one. If you think that those stats did not help the team in any way, you need to grow up a bit

  • Comment number 87.

    Obviously this was a romantic moment more than a season changing one.
    But you'd have to be a stubborn idiot beyond any sense to not understand what a wonderful moment it was for Arsenal fans. And unless your team has never been stunned in the FA cup by a lower league side I don't see much room for criticism there. Leeds had one serious effort all game and packed the back line, standard procedure in this kind of match.

    It's too early to tell for sure what difference Henry will make over the next two months, he's just back from holiday and not fully match fit, but for now just put the petty divides aside and enjoy that moment, it perfectly summed up the romanticism of the game and we need that in an era of big money wins all.

  • Comment number 88.

    Perhaps more important than the goal of an over-the-hill player against lower league opposition is the implication of this on the premier league youth system. Man U, Arsenal and Villa are supposed to have three of the best youth development systems in the country (and potentially the world) yet rather than bringing players through they are turning dusting off players who are nowhere near their best in Scholes, Henry and Keane respectively. This speaks volumes about the quality of players coming through the youth teams at present and suggests that not only are they not up the standard of premier league football, but that England are lightyears away from bringing through the quality to genuinely challenge for international honours.

  • Comment number 89.

    Why can't people engage brain before posting?

    Henry is not "Wenger clutching at straws" he is there to provide cover and experience. No-one except a few delusional arsenal fans (every club has a few) are expecting much of him. Wenger has not permantely signed him, that would be a bit desperate, but he is covering the AML and ST positions whilst Chamahk and Gervino are at ACON.

    As for comparisons with Scholes..., Taking a player who is still playing on a two month loan in the off-season is NOT the same as calling out of retirement someone who has not played for 8 months. Henry is not going to take other players places, he is covering them. The re-signing of Scholes has declared a lack of faith that Ferguson has in his younger players.

    Also I love the very angry spurs fan contradicting himself (#28 and 30)!!

  • Comment number 90.

    As a Manchester United fan, I am honestly pleased for Arsenal & for Thierry Henry. What he does well is exactly what Arsenal have struggled to do since he left (bar RVP), he can take one chance and turn it into a goal.

    Arsenal have struggled with this over the years and are regularly critisised for going one pass too far or not being clinical enough. He will get 5/6 important goals for Arsenal while he is there, he will allow AW to rest RVP and he will empart his wisdom to a few of the other strikers who need a little fine tuning to help hit the back of the net.

    A real coup for Arsenal FC

  • Comment number 91.

    Well done Thierry high class finish from a high class player,however as usual overhyped in every sense of the word.Wenger wants to focus on the abject,sterile and very laboured performance given by his team,shoddy to say the least.The plaudits should be given to Leeds magnificent defence who but for Thierry would have had no problem in holding out for a draw.Arsenal supporters what ever has happened to Arshavin a pale imitation of the player who first came into the prem,is it what Kanchelkis says Russian players are only interested in the money? or is it because Fabregas and Nasri have left and Wenger has replaced them with very average players unable to produce the quality required,will there be an improvement when Wilshire returns who has been a miss for the gunners?

  • Comment number 92.

    I'm a Manchester United fan. I love Paul Scholes and I have the utmost respect for Thierry Henry. I've had a grin on my face since Sunday lunchtime because I love the drama and the romance of their comebacks. But all the romance and a 97% pass completion rate from Scholes and a goal from Henry do nothing to disguise the obvious fact, as clear as the beard on Henry's face, that they both looked rustier than Scholesy's ginger mop.

    Mind you, at least we can all sing songs about Thierry Henry having his head on upside down.

  • Comment number 93.

    Someone should glue a football to his statue's left hand (or was it right).

  • Comment number 94.

    Stop moaning about the handball! Like the Suarez handball as well, any player would do it for the benefit of the national team. Any one that thinks Rooney, Gerrard, Defoe, Lampard etc would let a goal in/not score because they would use their hand is ludicrous. Get over it, he did publically apologise for it as well.

  • Comment number 95.

    If Henry starts before Park, Arseshaving and Oxlade then those 3 really need to move on and away from Arsenal...nice (typical Henry) finish last night though

  • Comment number 96.

    and he will empart his wisdom to a few of the other strikers who need a little fine tuning to help hit the back of the net.


    Henry showed his class last night with that finish but I don't think even God could help Chamakh, Gervinho and Theo reguarly hit the back of the net!

  • Comment number 97.

    Glad to see that things are just as Henry left them, it will no doubt be very easy for him to adapt on account that nothing has changed. He needs to look at the trophy cabinet as a sign of familiarity!!

  • Comment number 98.

    Return of the King indeed!! Never heard the Emirates so animated, wish I could have been there myself.

    Even the most hardened cynic cannot help but be moved by the sheer jubilation in evidence at the Emirates last night.

    On a side note WHAT A PASS from Song, I swear he is fast becoming the jack of all trades. On a slightly less positive note, surely Arshavin and Chamakh should be written off now, unfortunately it just hasn't worked out and they deserve to be at clubs where they will get playing time and we need players who can come in and do a job when we need to rotate the squad. On another note I would like to see Ramsey become more incisive with his passing, I know he has the talent and I have seen him put some wonderful passes through, but to become like Fabregras both he and Wilshere when he returns need to improve on their final ball and increase their presence in the final third.

    All in all a very happy Gooner!!

  • Comment number 99.


    Not an Arsenal fan but Theo has shown he can hit the net. Amazing how folk are blinded by their dislike for other clubs.

  • Comment number 100.

    as for " written in the stars "

    the chorus is quite nice as for the Rap Lyrics utter tosh.


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