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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

If Henry was Brazilian, he'd be the current world footballer of the year too

The stats now confirm it: Thierry Henry is Arsenal's best ever attacking player. An improvised back flick control of a long pass by Toure, followed by a deliberately caressed banana shot volley from 20 yards that swerved into the far corner saw him equal Ian Wright's Arsenal goal-scoring record on 21 minutes. Then, 74 minutes into the match in Prague, he latched onto a perfect Pires through ball (really appropriate), took one touch towards goal, and placed it pass the keeper: 186 goals in 303 games.

Record goal-scorer, prolific assist-maker, total team-player, complete sportsmanship with the opposition, winning attitude, sprinting prowess reminiscent of Frankie Fredericks, masterful ball skills at pace, thunderbolt shot potential, clutch shooter; Thierry is a credit to himself because with all this he is ever humble to his teammates, 'the boss', the fans, and the club for giving him a hand when he was down back in the summer of 1999.

I remember first seeing him play for Monaco on Eurosport and being impressed with the enormous passion he had when he scored (he screamed). I later saw him in World Cup 1998 where he was used as a winger and it was clear he was as fast as Anelka. So when we bought him I was delighted: an 'Anelka (who I liked, and hoped a couple of seasons ago would return to Highbury) with fantastic attitude' was my impression of what Henry would bring. He has lived up to this- and then some!

Henry also proved yesterday why he is a worthy Arsenal captain. His arrival lifted his younger teammates who looked more energised and confident with his presence. It also lifted the fans. His first touch was to bring down a long pass onto his chest, and in the same movement pinged a volley that struck a defender for a corner. He then ran towards the corner while urging the fans to really get behind the team- who, just like me, were only too happy to see his determination for the cause, and oblige.

More than ever he did his trademark applauding to teammates for their efforts. During his injury he must have noticed how the likes of Flamini, Fabregas, Clichy, Toure are looking for leadership and encouragement from the more experienced players in the team. As Captain he knows he is the best man to provide this, and he did so last night... long may it last.

I was generally impressed with all the team yesterday. Cygan and Clichy has some rocky moments- but they also had good moments. It was good to see RVP start up front, I feel he is on the verge of exploding as a dangerous striker. His technique is amazing, and his spikiness can be a useful asset against a team that looks to get into a fight, i.e. Man Utd.

Next-up is a thriving Man City: hopefully Sol will be back to further bolster the team.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not bad for a player who "only scores in small games" !!!

10/19/2005 1:38 pm

 
Anonymous Andy said...

anonymous u have no right to say henry scores in small games what ru spurs, chelsea fan he seems to scorce against ur lot most times would u call them small games no!!! henry is simpley the best player in the world and he has been 4 the past 3 years!!!

10/19/2005 1:54 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arsenal since 1980....you've misinterpreted my sarcasm!!!

10/19/2005 2:04 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think he was being sarcastic...

but well defended. i agree.

10/19/2005 2:09 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he's an incredible player, a great goalscorer and a great man. However I disagree with your thesis on his ability to lead. He has yet to prove this. Indeed it could be argued that the evidence to date would suggest he's not ideally suited to this role. A few of the younger players seem in awe of him (which shouldn't be the case after they've trained withhime for a number of months) and some players (inc Reyes) seem almost afraid of him. Henry tends to scowl at others in frustration as many brilliant people to in all walks of life. I think he needs to break down these obstacles to be a true leader... Regardless, he is a legend!

10/19/2005 2:16 pm

 
Blogger Skippy said...

I wish this suugestion that if TH was Brazillian he would be world player of the year, would go away. TH, is a fantastic player, everyone knows that. But in my view, he is second to Ronaldhinio.

Will TH stay at Highbury? That is the question, which should concern all the Arseanal fans.

10/19/2005 3:49 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Guess what Skipper- I'm not going away!

In the calender year 2004 Henry was so far ahead of Flickerinho in terms of medals (Ron = 0), achievement (Henry = star man in a champiosnhip winning, unbeaten team), goals (Ron only scored 3 goals -all pens- in la liga from Sept to Jan), and assists that it should have been a no-brainer.

But Ron's toothy grin, Brazilian fancy-flicks, and a last minute goal against Milan in a champs league group match around the time of voting seduced the lazy international coaches to forget Henry's marvellous achievements.

This year is a different story because Ronaldinho won la liga and Henry has been injured.

But last year it should have been TH's- and if I'm wrong I'll present the actual comparitor of goals and assists stats, and medals, and let you still try to argue against me.

If Ron scored yesterday's goals the hype would be unbelievable!


I read first anon/Arsenal 1980 as being sarcastic- but admire the strong defence by Andy anyway.

Just to back Andy up: Championship-winning hat-trick against Liverpool, 30 yard missile against Man Utd (along with others), doubles against Chelsea, hat-trick in Rome; double in must win game at the San Siro; 38 goals in champs league against likes of Bayern, Valencia, PSV, Lyon; crucial world cup qualifier wonder goal in Ireland.....

Dave Farrar at Eurosport and other myth-perpetuators that first anon/'Arsenal 1980' was ridiculing should be expert enough to be aware of this list.

Thanx last anon for comments re leadership doubts. I have noticed the Henry scowl many times against Reyes- and memorably also to Lauren when at home to Chelsea last year when he opted to shoot instead of pass to an open Henry in the last minute.

But the young players do need to slightly toughen up and grasp his winner's spirit- and Henry is working on his encouragement skills as he showed last night. I have seen him often congratulate the nervous Reyes on his efforts in the past, too.

10/19/2005 4:30 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

One considers the criteria set to judge a World Class player. Ability, Skill, Passing, Tackling, Goals, Assists, Temperament, Teamwork, Regularity, the list isnt exhaustive but there's a few more to add, I assume. Henry has been fantastic, his 1st goal on Tueday was one few players would consider attempting, much less score from. But this issue of choosing World Player has risen before amongst the EFT members and Henry's name was mentioned as to why he wasn't chosen, particularly over Ronaldinho. What about the other nationalities that have been chosen? French, Portuguese, Italian, to name a few (well, the remainder are Dutch, German, Liberian). Henry was 2nd to Ronaldinho, in 2003 he was 2nd to Zinedine Zidane, so nationality has little to do with it.

Further, FIFA were criticised in regard to certain nominations over recent years and therefore opted last year for the selection procedure to be a voting system by national team coaches, national team captains and representatives of an international body known as FIFPro, who represent the interests of national professional players' associations, the international PFA if you will.

Now, the question is does a World Player have to show the winning qualities all round, for club and country, or not? Now, I would argue that while Henry has been awesome for Arsenal, he hasn't been for France as much. That, I would submit, is possibly one factor voters considered. And while Arsenal had been mesmerising the Premiership, they had not progressed well enough in the Champions League having been no lower than 2nd domestically for many seasons. One may say a World Player shouldn't have to carry his team or his team shouldn't have such significance on his nomination, but it's another possible factor the voters considered.

When you have Ronaldinho for Barcelona and Brazil, Ronaldo for Real Madrid and Brazil, Zidane for Real Madrid and France, players playing for decent or high ranking national teams, and playing well domestically and in Europe, it gives some indication of what the voters are looking for. You could add Frank Lampard and John Terry if Chelsea go on to win the treble and England play much better and progress well in the World Cup. Beckham was 2nd to Luis Figo in 2001, after WC1998 and Euro2000. You could add Didier Drogba if he continues to score often during a treble-winning run, but then the Ivory Coast have just qualified for the World Cup and probably will begin as a team destined to fail early.

Yet, in mentioning Drogba, maybe before, internationally, a player didn't need to be so world class. George Weah was World Player 1995 playing for AC Milan but couldn't lift Liberia to better FIFA rankings, the national side just failing in qualifying for WC2002 by 1pt, their nearest to qualification. After that it may have been included in the criteria after Zidane won World Player in 1998 and 2000, after France's WC1998 and Euro2000 success, and then forgotten when he won in 2003, after France's early exit in the last World Cup.

Quite simply (though there are those in positions who will do anything that contravenes obvious impartiality and simplicity), FIFA should leave the national coaches and captains and European representatives to choose who they consider as a World Player, rather than choose from a selected list of candidates. Such a list will always open cries of influencing judgement from a particular range of players. That is to say that such a list would hardly include players playing in the Middle East, the US, South America and Asia.


RedsMan.

10/20/2005 1:55 am

 
Blogger T said...

Redsman, your comments always qualify for Elitefootballtalk!

Yep, internationals and champsleague should also come into play, you know I would factor such factors into my conclusion. The fact that Ron did not at all play in the Copa America 2004, and also did not at all play in the champs league in 2003-04 season- instead knocked out of the UEFA cup in 2004- simply adds more fuel to my fire. On a one-on-one basis last year: TH beat Ron on every factor last year, apart from toothy grin and nicely timed goal against Milan.

I've just had a look at the breakdown of votes by association and it makes for amusing reading. Neither Mark Hughes or Gary Speed or the Brazilain rep's voted for TH as worthy as a place in their respective top threes; while Lawrie Sanchez, Sven and Becks, and the Argentinian coach had TH as number one: I'm now officailly a Sven and Becks fan, will support Argentina as my second team in the world cup, and hope TH now wallops Blackburn and Bolton in the Premiership, and Brazil in the World Cup!!

The Mexican captain made Pires his number one: classic vote!

10/20/2005 11:47 am

 
Blogger T said...

Correction: Perreira and Cafu did in fact respectively place TH in second.

Perreira made RVN his first choice(??!), and Cafu showed great loyalty by voting for his teammate- P Maldini- in first.

10/20/2005 11:52 am

 
Blogger SKG said...

well done to henry. i hope he stays at arsenal.

10/20/2005 8:48 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, T. I have to add the selection process baffles me. I have seen some exceptional goals, football, passing, creativity for 2004-2005 nominations, and with that written above, sense that it is an award possibly becoming further embroiled like politics - simply the winning vote goes to whom the public are seen to warm to or appreciate the most. But then perhaps the exception to this is Beckham, who came close but no cigar. What with Ronaldinho, Robinho, Ronaldo, and quite possibly (from the remotest of decisions or opinions in Europe) Adriano, a Brazilian could well be the nationality again to have formed the winner.


RedsMan.

10/20/2005 8:48 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Thanx SKG and Redsman. Must say that my impression after reading the association breakdown is that some international coaches and captains (particularly, but not exclusively, from more obscure football nations) make their picks based on either politics or who they remember had had a good match recently on T.V.

10/21/2005 12:42 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

FYI: Full list of nominees for European Footballer of the Year 2005:

Adriano (Internazionale), Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich), David Beckham (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Petr Cech (Chelsea), Gregory Coupet (Lyon), Cris (Lyon), Deco (Barcelona), Dida (Milan), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Emerson (Juventus), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona), Luis Figo (Internazionale), Diego Forlan (Villarreal), Luis Garcia (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus), Juninho (Lyon), Kaka (Milan), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Roy Makaay (Bayern Munich), Claude Makelele (Chelsea), Paolo Maldini (Milan), Pavel Nedved (Juventus), Michael Owen (Newcastle), Park Ji-sung (Manchester United), Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Raul (Real Madrid), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal), Arjen Robben (Chelsea), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid), Robinho (Real Madrid), Ronaldinho (Barcelona), Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Andrei Shevchenko (Milan), John Terry (Chelsea), Lilian Thuram (Juventus), David Trezeguet (Juventus), Marc van Bommel (Barcelona), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United), Patrick Vieira (Juventus), Xavi (Barcelona), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid).

7 Englishmen
7 Chelsea players
3 Liverpool players
1 Arsenal player (though Vieira is included)
3 Man Utd players


RedsMan.

10/25/2005 1:30 am

 
Anonymous Phyper said...

I know many may not wish to hear this, but personally I feel this is just a waste of time and space. I find award shows pointless and from what I've read despite the calibre of voters. World footballer of the year and all these awards are no better than the Brits; a music award thig that's lil more than decided by a bunch of pre-pubecant school kids with no clue of anything.

My point really is this you can't sit down and compare players from all sorts of positions and clubs and then say oh this guy is the best in the world this year. There are just far too many factors that come into play, not least those they work with. Don't get me wrong players should get recorgnision for what they have accoplished but to have any credibility at the level of World or European Player of the Year a serious amount of money needs to be pumped into the research. And I do not for one minute believe FIFA would put down that kind of money.

10/28/2005 7:24 pm

 
Blogger ierean said...

You also ignore the fact that for most coaches at present the pinacle is either Spain or Italy. Any player from the primiership has to do twice as much to win the World player of the year. the other factor is that the voting takes place well after the season and the lasting impression is on the immediate past and current form. The fact is in 2005 Ronaldinho was the best and Jan to the time of voting unparralleled. The voting considers not Calender years but football seasons though the call it a year.

There is actually a measure to calculate the best player but of course they do not use it but rather use the subjective measure of fundamentally asking who do the panel think they would want on their teams. The fact is unless you are The coach of a team with Henry or Ronaldinho you would select the one who would add most to the team Ronaldinho gets the edge because he is considered to be the better passer in addition to a good goal scorer and of course Spanish Football is more entertaining.

Last of all remember george Weah won the award and then you will realise that henry winning the award is not down to his nationality but the league in which he plays.

12/21/2005 1:47 pm

 

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