Vintage Henry! Thierry scores winner on second debut

by ‘Ifreke Inyang

It was written in the stars. Thierry Henry, arguably Arsenal’s favourite son, grabbed the goal that sent the North London team into the fourth round of the FA Cup. Henry, whose loan deal was confirmed just over the weekend, came on in the 68th minute of the game, as Arsenal laboured against Leeds United. The Gunners were looking like a side short of invention and ideas until the Frenchman was summoned from the bench. Ten minutes after he stepped onto the pitch, Henry controlled a pass for Alex Song and with one quick, delightful movement, he opened up his body and passed it into the opposite side of the net.

It was a magical moment. The noise inside the Emirates was defeaning. “When he got in that position I thought ‘oh, that’s your angle’ but it was a bit too close,” Wenger said in his post-match press conference about the goal. “That’s where he surprised me. He still didn’t force the shot, he still made it look easy, where I would have expected him to take a very strong inside shot. He made it just look easy. At the start I thought he was too much on the left but he had that special finishing that he has shown tonight. That was the Thierry Henry finishing.”

Before Henry, former Arsenal players like Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann who provided stop-gap measures, but none of them is adored like him. Henry’s deal runs for six and a half weeks, but Wenger says they have an option to extend it to eight. With his 22-minute showing, there are already calls for Wenger to sign him up for the rest of the season.

It might proove a difficult deal to seal, but Henry, for an umpteenth time has shown that he knows how to write the scripts for Arsenal.

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