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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arsenal - better off without Henry?

The next few weeks promise to be interesting times for Arsenal fans without Thierry Henry in the lineup. Henry has been without doubt the best player in the Premiership era. His touch, skill and mesmerizing goals have lit up the English league for so many years that I am astounded that he has not yet won the European or World Footballer of the year.

However, witnessing some recent perfomances from this young and exciting Arsenal team, you cannot help but wonder whether Henry is holding back Arsenal. The big games against United, Porto and Chelsea were all played without Henry and resulted in Arsenal's best results this season.

The Arsenal youngsters seem less inhibited when he is not around, they look less like a bunch of kids trying desperately to impress the most popular kid in the class and be his mate.

Adebayor in my mind is a perfect example of this. Adda put in a tireless and highly skillful perfomance on Sunday and did the same against United where he scored a wonderful goal. In short, he looked a completely different player than when he is paired with Henry and subjected to the big mans stares of despair and frustration with every misplaced pass. I saw a similar relationship between Henry and Jose Reyes, with Reyes never quite being allowed to impose his own character and learn by making mistakes in "Henry's" team.

Gilberto Silva seems to be a much better leader of the Arsenal youth. Unimposing, yet experienced and quietly vocal and with a very level head, Silva seems a natural leader - somthing I have never felt about Henry.

Add in to the mix that Henry does not seem to be quite the same player he has been in recent years - by all accounts his performance against Fulham was abysmal by anyones standards - and the fact that he is beginning to pick up injuries players his age tend to do, the question must be asked:
Are Arsenal better off without Thierry Henry?


Anonymous East at the Grove said...

I don't think for one minute the team is better off without Henry. A fully fit Henry makes any team better and it is absolute rubbish to make this type of comment because he has not played well this season. When he returns to the fold fit and healthy you will realise how absurd your comments are. People have such short memories it is astounding. Thierry showed us loyalty in the summer and your lack of faith and failure to recipricate is shocking. I said all that without swearing.


12/12/2006 10:53 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with East at the Grove. We would have beaten Chelsea if TH had played. His speed and skill means that opponents have to have three defenders on him the whole time. He's also a PERSONILITY and the Emirates needs personalities.

12/12/2006 10:57 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

From a Chelsea perspective, I was glad to hear Henry would be missing our game so from that you can guess I think that Arsenal are a better team with him.

12/12/2006 12:00 pm

Anonymous lc said...

Arsenal is a better team without TH14, specially when Arsenal plays against the big boys. TH14 can't hold on the ball the way Adebayor did against Manu and Chelsea. Last year, we lost three times out of three against Chelsea with TH14. Arsenal looked like they were playing without a striker.
The conclusion I come to is that Pires, Viera, Kanu and Edu mad Th14 what he has been for Arsenal and I can't see him coming back to his best if AW doesn't sign similar players in a near future.
But, despite the quality of the lads, a striker and a strong ball winning midfield signing are needed in order to keep the club among the big four.

12/12/2006 1:08 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Arsenal a better side without Henry is questionable, something which I felt would have stirred from the article. A questioning of the author's view the Gunners are better off without him. Do I agree with this? I don't know at this point but to say they are less a side without him has so far proven to be less so. Without his scoring abilities I expected the Gunners would fold under the pressure of Drogba particularly with Terry and Carvalho stalwart at the back. Had Robben been starting, it could have been a different scoreline. Those are my titbits. I agree with Abdul that the young side at the back, without Gallas and Toure, worked very well.

But WHEN you get stupid comments like the first one that goes to lambast the article and ends with a rude term, and includes they made the comment without swearing, then it makes that comment stupid, not that of the author. You disagree with the point in the article, fine, why are you rude about it? You struggled to comment without swearing, perhaps you need to learn to calm down before making comments, either verbally or literally.


12/12/2006 5:32 pm

Blogger SKG said...

its funny because i sometimes wonder whether liverpool play better without gerrard.

there's no doubt that without your best player, the rest of the team have to make that extra effort, and perhaps with your best player, the others feel that they can just give him the ball and that's that.

henry is a superb player and any team would miss not having him in their first eleven. arsenal are just crying out for consistency. at their best, the gunners are still the most fluent and classy side in the premiership.

to "east at the grove" - don't post comments on our site again.

12/12/2006 6:08 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says....first let me say well done to all those giving the insulting post above short shrift.

Next as a true gunner, I welcome all intellegent comment re; my team, and even welcome comments from supporters of other teams. In this case I think the conclusion to the TH point is and will be decided by the points that the team rack up in his absence.

My own opinion is that Arsene has made TH too much of the issue for the team as a whole. I do not agree with him as captain Gilberto has shown more aptitude already in just a couple of games than TH has ever done. I also, again in my opinion, think AW has played him in the totally wrong role as front running striker. I would prefer him behind Adebajor feeding off his brilliant knock downs. This is the plan B we have been screaming for. The thought of TH being let loose to wonder were ever and the others trying to 3 man mark him for 90 mins is a perfect scenario.

Unfortunately as with all other suggestions, AW will not listen even if he read this. That is what he is paid for, to take the responsibility etc.

Mind you Id love to see what I suggested tried, and with Toure or Gallas given a run in midfield next to Gilberto. Think about it. Gilberto is as good as Makelele, and Kolo is easy as good as Ballack. Billy G, could surprise everyone with his attacking ability too.

I shall be very interested in seeing how the team now perform without TH until January?

12/12/2006 7:32 pm

Blogger T said...

Really interesting article Abdul (you writing about the Gunners after I recently wrote about Man Utd- what's going on!:)) and I think it is a fair question.

Its quite ironic that its posed because in the recent past I have heard it said that we are a one man team (Thierry being that one man). As much as I disagreed with that I also disagree that we are better without Thierry... his goals and assists record is sensational and we are at our most dangerous when he is when he is fully fit and playing in a 4-4-2.

What I will say is that Adder is way better as the hold up man in a 4-5-1 formation and I would like to make the comment now that I was so impressed with the way he took on John Terry on Sunday: I can't remember Terry looking more ill-at-ease trying to mark a Premiership striker.

This season Thierry has not been at his best and the first one to admit it is Thierry. He did not have a pre-season and has frankly looked burnt out. What he has needed is a break to recharge his batteries and his neck problem - which looks quite convenient to me - gives his the opportunity to do this and come back fully charged for the second half of the season.

A quick point on formations: 4-5-1 was definitely right for Chelsea given their power and our young defence. But with Wigan tomorrow and the next two home games against Pompey and Blackburn I hope we go back to 4-4-2 as worked well against Spurs.... this 'front-foot' system I think is more suitable for these opponents.

And a quick point on Gilberto as captain: Redsman texted me during the Chelsea match and (I's sure he won't mind me repeating) he said that he simply enjoys Gilberto as the captain. And I fully agree- I have always really liked Gil's humility and attitude with his teammates... and the way he looked after his young defence and midfield on Sunday was inspirational.

LC- I like your points but don't really agree with them. We do have the quality in the squad to have players complement Thierry... and as for a strong ball winning midfielder I think that potentially Abou Diaby will fit this bill.

Finally, East at the Grove, we accept all views on EFT but insults are not acceptable.

P.S. There has been a lot of Arsenal talk on EFT recently which is partly my responsibilty... I hope to do my bit to redress the balance over the next few weeks.

12/12/2006 8:48 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Thanks for the constructive comments to this article. TH is an Arsennal legend and all I sought to do was imagine how the gunners would be like without him. As I write, Adda has just scored v Wigan...

12/13/2006 9:34 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...




2/04/2007 12:25 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a brain, I did not have to read the article because it is nonsense.

2/04/2007 12:27 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Henry has being injured once in his career. What nonsense injuries are you talking about. HENRY HAS BEING INJURED JUST ONCE 'MAYBE', during this time that he was suppose to be injured, they were working on his fitness.

What injuries?? Your article lacks substance and sense. It lacks maturity and logical thinking. Rooney has had worst and more injury than Henry.

Think before you write.

2/04/2007 1:36 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly, this is a fair enough question. As an Arsenal fan I idolise Thierry Henry... When he snubbed Barca to lead the new "Emirates" era I was overjoyed. The fact that he came out straight away with his decision rather than put us through the Vieira-esque summer holiday trauma of will he/wont he go to Spain just showed how much more Arsenal means to Henry than it did to Vieira.
However, one argumement that has been put to rest is that fact that Arsenal are not a one man team. This time last year when the specualtion about Henry being here this season was rife - everyone was of the opinion that that if Henry left, Arsenal would not be able to finish in the top four. This season Arsenal have proved that Henry can be left out for several games and the team still plays dazzling football and gets results against its closest rival's. I admit that I have even thought this myself this season " Are we better without Henry?" Unbelievable but true, but the team have had a great Carling Cup run outplaying Liverpool with Steven Gerard at Anfield, played Chelsea away and almost nicked a victory and played Man U at Old trafford and taken away three points. I think the key answers to this arguement have already been made. A: Henry is undoubtably one of the Worlds top players, he's unique & he's in a class of his own. B: Todays Arsenal are the next generation who have to fill the boots of the World class players who previoulsy made Henry who he is today, who bought the best out in him and who Henry came into the team looking up to. Its no wonder that with Henry in the team some of them seem to be intimidated and fearful of putting a foot wrong. Todays Arsenal need to learn how to get the best out of Henry and Henry needs to adapt to the team that is now around him to get the best out of them. I think the answer to this arguement is that Arsenal without Henry can cope, they can cope adequately and they can play in the way that Wenger desires - but if you look at Henry's come back against Charlton last month, an on from Arsenal with a hungy Henry are formidable and a joy to watch. Are Arsenal better without Henry, not really - Their just more adequately equiped to go without him.

P.S - Its only now I notice that the initial post was made in December, when Henry was at the bottom of his slump in form and before we had gone a month without him. I think at the end of the season we will have seen the best in Henry's Arsenal, and I will look back and laugh at at the fact that I may have thought otherwise!!!

2/04/2007 1:47 pm

Blogger T said...

Yep, sorry to Newsnow Arsenal readers, but this article was first posted in early December and for some reason it been posted again (as well as some other older arricles) by Newsnow when we upgraded the site this morning.

Anyways, it is clear it was a provocative question posed by my colleague at EFT. In my comment at the time this article was posted I predicted (as many Arsenal fans thought also) that Henry would revive after a needed time-out from action and this is what has happened. Another outstanding finish yesterday proves it yet again..

2/04/2007 2:13 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was bollocks in December, and it's bollocks now.

2/04/2007 2:25 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henry would revive after a needed time-out from action and this is what has happened."

Sorry, didn't Henry not have a sniff against Utd at the Emirates until his goal? Wasnt that the case again yesterday where he was hardly around until his goal? That doesn't mean he has and so you are wrong.

"This season Arsenal have proved that Henry can be left out for several games and the team still plays dazzling football and gets results against its closest rival's."

Henry a permanent exclusion from Arsenal and then we will see. Nothing like the going gets tough and you dont have that advantage anymore. Same goes for the pool too when Gerrard leaves. Chelsea have several players we utilise so one absent does not make a catastrophe. This point is also contradicted by a Gooner fan above, calling your team ordinary without Henry. Read.

"the team have had a great Carling Cup run outplaying Liverpool with Steven Gerard"

Again, another incorrect point. The pool played better than Arsenal but did not finish, they alloweds Rosicky his time to score and Carragher made a howler of the ball for Henry's goal. Had they had finishing to their virtues, could have been a different story, but nonetheless dream on for we know the Gunners love to wind up the pool.

"played Chelsea away and almost nicked a victory"

Yeah, another valuable point. Equaly as valuable as Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Everton almost 'nicking' a victory too. Oh yes, and Newcastle. Can't wait until we come to the Emirates.

Thank you. I will come again.

2/04/2007 2:44 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Again, another incorrect point. The pool played better than Arsenal but did not finish, they alloweds Rosicky... "

Another in-correct point eh? You would appear to be describing the FA Cup game? When I said

"The team have had a great Carling Cup run outplaying Liverpool with Steven Gerard"

I was reffering to the Calring Cup. The clue is in the reference to the "CARLING CUP". You have clearly demonstrated what was clear from the majority of your post. You do not know what you are talking about!

" Thank you. I will come again."

Really? What and face more humiliation? Like Chelsea coming to the Emirate's - Bring it on...

" 1-0 to the Arsenal!!!!!!!!"

2/04/2007 6:02 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, stupid, you have deciphered from one minor detail I do not know what I am talking about. Your team are not as gallant and as beautiful as you think they are and without Henry permanently we will have to see. As for 1-0, you are dreaming still. Think you can get away with us as you did with Utd? Wait and see, you succumbed poorly to Middlesbrough and Henry was hardly in the game yet you view him as some messiah after five minutes of actually doing something to salvage a point that should have been three had he been the wonderful player you think he is.

Coffee, anyone??

2/04/2007 6:53 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me? Who you calling stupid? I have deciphered from one minor detail?!!

So when you publically qoute someone, claim the qoute is in-correct, attempt to correct that qoute, but you offer the analysis of completely different game , you regard this as one minor detail... I regard it as clear evidence that your response was irrelevent and also clear evidence that "YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT!!!"

That's what you get for being stupid, "Stupid!"

Your delusions of grandeur are character traits typical of a Chelsea fan... I suppose were all supposed to feel sorry for you because Roman wouldn't give Jose any sweets in January?!!

Getting back to point - Would Arsenal have beaten Boro without Henry yesterday, would they have been a better team without Henry... I dont think so. Could anyone else in our team have taken that goal or created another to bring the score back to 1-1??? Probably not. Although Henry didn't contribute much, neither did the rest of the team. But although Henry didn't contribute much and yes, he was quiet for large parts of the Man U game, is it not the mark of a great player who can be be out of play for large parts of a game only to contribute a moment of quality that changes the outcome of the game?

2/05/2007 12:08 am


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