Living in the past is what we do as football fans. The moment of crowning glory apart we don’t tend to revel in the greatness of today and only realise what we once had when it is finally gone. It feels like we sold Thierry Henry all over again last week as the great man decided to call it a day. The goal, assist and greatest moments videos took charge of our Twittersphere and other social media life forms.
I still remember having seen him play for us both at Highbury and the Emirates and now feel truly privileged to have watched him strut his stuff and score some quite sublime goals whilst doing so. My fondest memory for a game I actually went to go and see was a 90th minute goal vs Real Mallorca in the final group game of the Champions League to put us through to the next phase. I think we needed to win by 2 goals in order to qualify and all I remember is being 2-0 up and then Mallorca scoring in the 75th minute to dampen proceedings. Enter Thierry Henry. Ashley Cole won a free kick deep in our own half and threw the ball down and played a great pass (ball still moving!) down the left to Thierry. He took one touch to put the ball in front of him, a few more to unnerve the keeper and in classic Henry style placed a side foot shot into the bottom corner to send us into rapture (http://youtu.be/iM8dFQzaqtI). Seeing 3 of my favourite players all score in a huge game was simply magnificent. What a moment. What a goal. What a player.
I really do hope that one day we do see him and Dennis Bergkamp at the helm one day, but not only there for PR purposes but actually there because they can lead us to glory once more. I always see Bergkamp as the tactician of the two and Henry as the passion/hair dryer man of the two. That’s not to say that I think he’s less intelligent, it’s more a reflection of their playing styles – which as we know could well mean nothing when it comes to management but it’s just a hunch I have.
I’m sure we all have great memories of Thierry Henry, but it’s just a shame that he couldn’t have led us to Champions League glory. It’s a trophy that has eluded Arsenal thus far and it seemed as though Henry was the man to lead us there. That he had to go to Barcelona to do it shows how difficult a trophy it is to win with Arsenal in comparison to the real big boys of Europe.
That aside he was a magnificent footballer and seemed to be a true gent. We’ll see more swooning over him over the next few seasons at least through him being on Sky and showing the rest of the clowns on there how it’s really done. #TH14 what a legend.
How a week of nostalgia can lift us tremendously high only for us to come crashing back down to earth with a quite abject performance against an average Liverpool side. We really do make average football teams look like world beaters at times and it’s hugely frustrating. All season we have struggled to impose our game onto anyone, even the smaller sides as we try and rediscover our identity. We seem to be missing that midfield maestro who can dictate a game protected by a midfield general who can make an entire opposing midfield back the f*!k off. In short we’re still crying out for a midfield anchor as well as Mesut Ozil in order to be ‘Arsenal’ again. At the moment the players seem unsure of themselves as well as their team mates. There’s seems to be a lack of trust around and that showed in the 98th minute when Cazorla waltzed passed 2 before electing to shoot rather than pass to Monreal for a 1 v 1 opportunity in the dying seconds. A team brimming with confidence plays that pass and leaves with 3 points no matter how bad we played. As it is I couldn’t blame Cazorla for shooting but inside I was screaming “Paaaassss!!!”.
Before the game I would have taken a point at Anfield which is always a difficult place to go. It’s just the way that we continue to snatch despair from the jaws of joy/victory that depresses me. People talk about Mertesacker ducking and us not being organised enough and look at someone or one individual reason for us to blame. The reason we conceded from the corner was quite simply because they all thought the game was won and also thought that ‘someone else’ would clear the ball. There was no one commanding the box for us, be it the keeper or any of the back 4. It’s the same old set piece balls up that happens week in week out for us and it’s not good enough. January is becoming increasingly important as the flaws in our game continue to be exploited. The thing is we have at least 5/6 games before we realistically sign anyone and on top of that it takes time for new players to bed in. We are looking at a run of 8-10 games in all competitions before we can realistically reap the benefits of a new face. Therefore it’s massively important that the wheels don’t come off for us. We now must beat QPR at home and take 4 points from West Ham and Southampton away in order to have any semblance of a chance to have a say in the outcome of this seasons title race. It already seems like a battle for 4th type of season but it doesn’t take a lot for that to change. ¾ good results for us coinciding with other teams dropping points can change the course of everything.
It’s been a real up and down week, but let’s not forget it’s Christmas. The best time of year in my book, so enjoy yourselves, enjoy the football and here’s hoping for a good present or two (9 points out of the next 3 games please Santa!).
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1