Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome back King Henry!!! (It could have been welcome back Ginger Ninja too...)

Henry, a player which oozes so much class even at the age of 34. I was elated (yes, I was) when he signed on loan for Arsenal, those who know me know why and my prediction is for Arsenal to win a trophy this season, if not the Premier League.

The stage was set, against a team promoted to the Championship only last season - Leeds with plenty of history and fervor supporters albeit it's Leeds of 2012, not the Leeds of old with Robinson, Kelly, Radebe, Ferdinand, Harte, Bowyer, Dacourt, Bakke, Kewell, Smith and Viduka.

I did not watch the game, but I was with an Arsenal mate, he's Arsenal enough to stay at Highbury (right beside the Emirates) at a non-footie thingy and I told him from the onset before the game started that I am more than happy to see Henry back in the red and white of Arsenal. This is a player, for all the pain he caused against United was just so pleasing to watch. Etched in my memory: That bloody lob against Barthez, receiving the ball with his back facing the goal, 1st touch - flick the ball, swerve of his body, 2nd touch - lobbed it into the far top corner! %^&*()_ bloody good goal!

It was a fairy tale setting, with Van Persie on holiday, Camakh looking more like one of the JLS (Google them) than an all out striker he was touted when he arrived and Gervinho needing plenty of finishing lessons from Henry (maybe that's one of the reason why he was brought back?) it was pretty much all set for Henry to steal the show.

Drab first half, dull game, inferior opposition, I can't fault Simon Grayson, Wenger's sparring partner for the night - the game was lost even before it started. There he is, Henry, King Henry, immortalised in bronze, 11 goals against Leeds of ol', a quadruple in the last match between the sides sitting on the bench. With the hype, the cheer and the reception granted to Henry, it's the classic gamesmen tactic from Wenger, awe your opponents, bully them into submission just by the sheer sight of brilliance, not on the field of the game though with the injuries he has, but the sight of an all time legend. King Henry, glad you are back.

Sir Alex could have done the same had he brought Scholes back in the League Cup match against Palace, legend who left the club, not too match fit, Championship opposition, surely a timely well written script for a legend's 2nd debut? Sounds like Henry's debut tonight? Simillar but not so, knowing Fergie, he will persevere till the end, until needs must before he pulls the trigger, with Rooney's speculation in the press, he needed a diversion to drop it and drop like a hot potato he did, Scholes was the gambit up his sleeve, Rooney was sparred the pre-match hype. Sir Alex has done it in the past, offloading Rudd and Keane when they were too much to handle, giving Hernandez his debut much sooner than expected because of Bebe's flop and Scholes as a foil for Rooney's speculations, brilliant, just brilliant, ruthless, cunning but just brilliant.

Wenger too has the same streak, with Chelsea, Citeh and Spurs losing key players to the African Cup of Nations (yep, it's not the African Nations Cup) Henry's homecoming might just be the boost Arsenal needs to mount a January title challenge. The team just needs leaders, not just one, but one in each defence, midfield, and attack, like the Invincibles of old. I doubt a leader could be found for each 1/3 of the pitch in this January window, but at least he has Henry back, a Gunner through and through, one who will surely galvanise the team with his mere presence. Maybe wake up or inspire some mediocre players?

Scholes could do the same, with United's midfield in tatters, he could be a stop gap solution, but more than that an in-the-face reminder to the midfield foot soldiers-demoted-generals of United that Scholes, at his age, out from retirement will still be first off the bench when needed - buck up Carrick, Gibson, Anderson & Co. BUCK UP!

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