Arsenal 1 – 0 Leeds: Genius Never Gets Old

January 10, 2012

It’s not a trick of the eye, it’s not a fancy photoshop job. That is indeed Thierry Henry in an Arsenal shirt, an Arsenal shirt of 2012, wheeling away to celebrate a goal.

And not just any goal, but an Henry goal. Song played in a brilliant through ball that split the two covering defenders, Henry took one touch to control the ball, and himself, and then he curled right into the corner of the net away from the keeper’s despairing dive. This was a goal that was a blast from the past – the good old times when it would be Bergkamp or Bobby Pires or Freddie playing the ball into Henry. It brought a joy to the Emirates that we’ve not seen in some time.

More importantly, it also brought us into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup where we play Aston Villa.

Leeds came with one objective last night: shut up shop and try to get a return leg at Elland Road to bring in some much needed funds. In the first half we had 63% possession, but created little in the way of real chances. Arshavin, Ramsey and Arteta all had half-chances but none that really caused panic in their defence.

I must give a word to the three mentioned above. Despite his wayward shots and odd bad decision, Arshavin put in as much effort last night as he has done in a long time in an Arsenal shirt. He kept going until the last minute, and it was pathetic he got the yellow card (although deserved) when he was the one kicked and dragged all night. Ramsey and Arteta also put in a massive shift in midfield, both are neat players who aren’t afraid to get stuck in. Wenger’s choice of Captain was spot on – Arteta is a calming influence in there, and with Jack due back soon from injury we’ve a nice midfield forming.

As for our younger players, Chamberlain had a decent game. He is a willing lad, always game to run and try the odd trick to get around his man, he’s not afraid of a shot either. What I liked about him last night was how he would spot a man free on the other wing and switch play with a good pass. Ramsey did the same on occasion. It was a great shame Coquelin went off injured, he has played well of late and was proving he was deserving of his run in the first team, hopefully his injury isn’t serious. Yennaris had a decent game with he came on for Coquelin, didn’t do anything rash and wasn’t afraid to get on the ball.

As for Ignasi Miquel – can someone make sure we wash all that Barcelona DNA bullshit out of him so when he becomes a top defender he’ll stay at the mighty Arsenal and not whinge to “go home. ” Here is your home Ignasi! He is only 19?! Is he?! Composure or what? (Although I know it is Leeds and they didn’t threaten much but this is based over his few games this season). (PPS He also has lovely hair).

At the back Kos and Squidgy did what was needed, which wasn’t much. Szczesny also did well to stay alert and make a good save right at the death – however, he needs to remember that sometimes it is okay for the keeper to just boot it into the stands. His fancy dan stuff out on the sideline that gave the ball to a Leeds player could be more costly against a better side.

Aside from that, Chamakh started well for ten minutes and then did little. I’m not sure if its him not trying or us not playing to his strong suit (whipping balls into the box for him to attack) but at the moment I’d rather see Park getting the spot on the bench and having a shot – with Chamakh off to Africa he should have his chance now, or will Henry take it?

And so we are back to where we began – with Henry. The headlines are all going to be about him tomorrow and why not? Look how much the goal meant to Henry, meant to Wenger, meant to everyone at the Emirates, to Arsenal fans worldwide, to non-Arsenal fans worldwide.

You see, genius doesn’t get old. No matter who a man plays for, you have to appreciate when they are good, when they are great. There was just this more than horrible belief that Henry’s career would be overshadowed by that handball against Ireland because that was the last “big thing” Henry did. Until last night. Last night’s goal was so simple to Henry, it brought back all those other 226 goals with waves of emotion.

THIS IS HENRY! This is the Henry that must be remembered. Twitter was absolutely mental last night with people proclaiming the “Return of the King” and it wasn’t just Arsenal fans. All the Arsenal players were buzzing, players from other clubs, commentators, celebs, nobodies, everybodies – think what you may of Henry’s return but isn’t the buzz that moment created reason enough to smile and be happy?

That handball against Ireland will be put into the annals of history and everyone will be talking of 9th Jan 2012 and where were you for the second coming of the king?

Me? I was at home in my room in Ireland going mental, thanking Henry for the one birthday present I wanted more than most (ask Peaches), and while you are reading this I will be at work, wearing an Arsenal shirt from the Unbeaten season with “Henry 14” on the back and telling any Irish person that wants to argue otherwise that 78 minutes into last night’s match is Thierry Henry, Son of Arsenal and one of the finest players the world has ever seen.

With 12 minutes remaining, Henry scores his 12th goal against Leeds in 12 appearances wearing number 12 on his Arsenal shirt in 2012

Tell me it wasn’t meant to be?!

Written by IrishGunner


City Preview …. cheers PV, jeers Ade

April 24, 2010

Strange to be playing a team one place below us and feel so ambivalent – it must be a response to the past couple of weeks. However, there is reason to look forward to today if only to vent some aggression and built up frustrations. Because today the comedy villain is coming to town.

Man City were always my second team. My allegiance came about through the wonders of Subbuteo. My set had red & white, and sky-blue & white players. Of course my team was The Arsenal, but I had many Gooner mates and needless to say (being an even handed sort of chap), I alternated colours with them. This was in City’s golden era, the days of Summerbee, Lee, Book, Bell and Doyle  – a team of power, imagination and skill. I can highly recommend “Manchester United ruined my Life” by Coiln Shindler to get a taste of that team, a book that could have been written by a Spurs fan about Arsenal over the past 30 years. I wonder if Subbuteo is still sold? So many winter hours of my youth were spent on it, but I guess it has been overtaken by computer games today

This afternoon brings the best City team since those far off days to THOF. The frisson of MC having three ex-Gunners will guarantee a lively encounter:

PV4: An Arsenal great and one of the finest MF’s to grace the Premiership. PV has yet to be effectively replaced in our team which shows the magnitude of his influence. A much loved  man who will receive a fine reception from the fans. It is said that he went to City to further his chances of going to the WC which highlights his ambition,  though I suspect it was to top up his pension fund. Nonetheless, PV remains a potent player and will enjoy his day in the sun.

Kolo Toure: Could have been an Arsenal great. His early career was so promising but when Sol left his form went into a tailspin. A top bloke, despite his bitching about AW earlier in the year, and a man who always gave 100% for The Arsenal. A member of the Invincibles. However, Toure never seemed to gel with Gallas and rumour has it that their relationship was non-existent in the dressing-room, as such it was no surprise when Toure was sold. I hope he gets a decent reception.

Which is more than I can say for the  other ex-Gunner lining up for MC. I will not be at THOF to welcome Adebayor home, but I wish I was. His reception could be less than polite! There is nothing like pouring scorn on a player from the safety of the stand, and we have been missing a villain since Shearer, Schmeichel and Sheringham retired. Not even a Spud or any MU player can provoke the antipathy that will be laid at Ade’s size 15 feet. And deservedly so, a more unpleasant player one is unlikely to see – from his cowardly stamp on RvP’s face to the insane celebration in front of the Arsenal fans, this man screams narcissus. What kind of egoist takes the decision not to play for his country following the tragic attack on the Togo bus – this by their Captain and the man most revered in a poverty stricken, football mad nation. Have any of the other members of the Togo side followed suit? I disliked Adebayor intensely when he wore the red and white, I hated his laissez-faire attitude, his patent lies about his love for the club, his dismissiveness of all the players around him, the preening and worst of all, the kissing of a badge that means so much to millions of fans and so little to him. €25m received for a man who I would have paid to leave was a superb piece of business from AW. Yes, he can score goals, the 30 in a season is a record that will not be broken for some time, but Ade was offside more times in one game than we have been all this season (very slight exaggeration). Perhaps we would have won the PL had he stayed, but I doubt it – this is not a man to lead the line, not someone to rely upon to inspire a team.

From the above you may correctly assume that my feelings towards TTT (The Togo T**t) are slighlty negative ……. To Pluto with him!

There are other players in the MC team! The odious but effective Bellamy, the quickly developing Adam Johnson who will give Theo much competition for an England shirt in years to come. I particularly like De Jong, who would have made a fine addition to our team when the Alonso purchase collapsed (I think the timing was wrong). Stephen Ireland is back from injury – a man with exemplary taste in cars – a fine player and one I would love to see us buy. And thinking of Alonso  ….  Gareth Barry,  the man who effectively stopped his arrival at THOF, which is reason enough on its own to dislike the rat faced Midlander. And of course there is Tevez., what a wonderful player this little chap is. If Adebayor had 50% of his passion and energy, he would be a world beater …….  but he hasn’t!  City, unlike us, have a goalkeeper, a man all Gooners would have liked to see us acquire 2 seasons ago. It wasn’t to be and a chance went begging to sign one of the World’s best GK’s, let’s hope he has a stinker today.

Injuries once again will determine who plays for Arsenal. Will Song be fit? His absence has been extremely costly. Sol and Silvestre are likely to continue as CB’s, though MC are a very fast team and I would play Sagna at CB with Eboue at RB. The rest almost pick themselves apart from upfront where we will hopefully see Van Persie start. Will we see Vela in the absence of Arshavin? It would be an interesting ploy but I expect AW to play safe and pack the midfield with Song/Eastmond, Nasri, Diaby and Rosicky.

A win or draw is important. We do not need to put further pressure on the team going into the last two games and as such have to secure 3rd. I believe we will get a result. The awful loss last week could be apported to lack of desire and discipline; those who played at the DW will want to show the faithful that the final 10 minutes was a blip.