The Return of the King to North London

Theirry Henry might be looking more like Nicolas Anelka these days, in terms of hair and beard style, but he’s still got that touch. The way he places his foot for the softest of shots, somewhere between a pass and a curve ball, so accurate into the corner. He’s not as fast, not as strong, but he was enough to score the only goal for Arsenal in their 1-0 win over Leeds.

A link to the golden days, that seem so far away. They still have Arsene Wenger, but I’m not sure there’s much love between the fans and the French manager. He just earned himself some quiet time as he stabilized the wobbling ship thanks to a rampaging Robin van Persie. But Henry? Everything about him reeks of success, of the Invincibles from 2003-2004.

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Henry’s crying at the ceremony which unveiled his statue was the final part of his return to the club he played and scored so many goals for after 4 years of Barcelona and New York, including a Champions league title with Barcelona. But there’s no place like home, and Henry, who began his career playing for Monaco and was saved by Wenger after a terrible spell with Juventus, feels perfectly at home in the Arsenal red.

So will this be the push Arsenal need? Lets not forget Leeds are a Championship side, so we still haven’t seen Henry facing the real competition. But it’s more than just what he’ll produce on the pitch. It’s his ability to affect the others. Leadership, example. Henry’s name was forever tainted after the handball against Ireland, but he’ll always be a legend for Arsenal fans, their greatest player ever.

At 34, with his best behind him, Henry isn’t here to break scoring records like he did in the previous decade. The goals are a welcomed bonus, but his true worth is in his ability to influence and help improve the younger lads, who weren’t around when Thierry Henry was the best striker in the Premier League and probably the world.