King’s return in London for Henry

Iconic veteran Thierry Henry proved he’s back on the hook for the troubled Gunners Monday, triumphantly beginning his second spell at Arsenal – and scoring the winner in his team’s FA Cup game against Leeds United.

The former France striker, who completed his switch to Arsenal on Friday, was introduced in the 68th minute replacing Marouane Chamakh at Emirates Stadium.

By that time Arsenal hadn’t been able to find the keys to the net to meet even the Championship division average.

The French wizard, Arsenal’s ace cover during the African Cup of Nations, instilled confidence in his partners. Seeing it, the home crowd started to propel their team with a vengeance. Ten minutes later, it was Henry who sidefooted home an angled finish after Alex Song’s clever pass to rapturous ovation from the stands.

The goal, a trademark Henry finish from the left, extended his club record to 227 goals as he started a two-month loan from Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls.

“It is unreal,” Henry told ESPN shortly after the game. “I did not think I would play for Arsenal again, now I score a winner. I love the club. I don’t know what I can say. I just wanted to help and hopefully I can do more,” he said.

“The feeling I had when I scored was amazing. Scoring a goal when you support a team, now I know what it is like for the guys who played for Manchester United, Chelsea to score for the club you support. It is a wonderful opportunity. It is important because you do not know when you will get another one. It was important I took it.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was beaming with pleasure after the game.

He was already a legend and tonight he added a little bit more,” he told a news-conference. “In training he was sharp and ready to play. I would not put him on the pitch if he wasn’t ready. That would be unfair.

“He had some pressure, he’s a proud guy, he didn’t want to disappoint people… it was a kind of comeback. He knew he would be compared to what he has done before. That’s what champions are about. They say they have no pressure but they want to be seen to do well.

“He has seen it all, he has done it all, we knew if we could find him he would be dangerous. It was like a dream when he scored. It was a story you would tell a young kid when you want to tell them a story about football. It’s not often like that in our game.

“Straight away with his runs he made them defend a bit deeper. He has a presence, his movement gave them a problem. When he got in that position I thought the angle was too narrow but the finish was special,” Wenger added.

The career of Henry, who starred for Arsenal from 1999-07, is commemorated with a statue outside Emirates Stadium, unveiled last month.

Leave a comment