Post-Sunderland, pre-Milan, forever Thierry Henry.

February 12, 2012 20 Comments by Sian

There is a painting of Thierry Henry on the outside of the Emirates Stadium. It appeared a couple of summers ago as part of the ‘Arsenalisation’ of our new home. It was the one we were concerned we’d have to form a human chain around when Ireland played there shortly after the handball incident that saw them potentially miss out on a World Cup place. There he ‘stands’ alongside Brady and Adams and Bastin, and the club crest. And even on that painting, where his face is unseen, he is unmistakably Thierry.  Even faceless, he has that arrogant swagger everyone has come to know and love.

I like to think it was that swagger that saw him surge forward to collect his third (and 229th) goal of his time back at the club, during our match against Sunderland yesterday. It was a 3pm kick off here in the UK, thus only streams and Arseblog liveblogs and tweets and Soccer Saturdays were there to communicate the goings on at the Stadium of Unharvested Crop… er… Light. So, when word came that the first half had been, well, basically shit, I don’t think anyone was very surprised at all. It was that same old problem of plenty possession but no murderously ruthless instinct going forward.

Time ticked by with little or no action. Sunderland, having done their best to park a massive fat-arsed bus in front of goal while giving us no room to work with whatsoever, were actually the ones to bring the game to life in the second half. Wojciech Szczesny and his Thirties hairdo were called upon twice in quick succession as suddenly, we were on the back foot. Familiar story? I think so.

Robbie Fowler was first to tell me the news of their goal. It seemed Per Mertesacker had come over all John Terry (except, you know, with morals and stuff) and had gone down while under no pressure to allow James McLean to break the deadlock and put the home side ahead. There can hardly be any calls of “Why didn’t they stop?!” when (you’d like to think!) we’d have done exactly the same thing. See, Per hadn’t just slipped. He’d completely done himself on that shitpatch of a pitch everyone had been complaining about all afternoon. There really was no excuse for it. That said, it isn’t like Sunderland’s boys had little mini patches of perfectly grown grass attached to their studs. Everyone was playing on the same surface, so complaints that the pitch got in the way are pretty blunt. Still, it’s unlikely anything will be done about it in advance of our next match there, and it was also probably the largest contributing factor to Per’s knacked ankle. He’s supposed to be having a scan on it today, so fingers crossed for him on that front.

With poor old Per stretchered off with his ankles sticking out the end of the stretcher, on came the downtrodden Aaron Ramsey as Alex Song moved into defence. The really, really rubbish Ramsey who’s had ridiculous abuse sent his way in recent weeks, took only five minutes to pull us one back. It was a strike from far out – by our standards – and took a hit off both posts before finally nestling itself in the back of the net, but it was a goal we and he really, really needed. So, can we lay off him for a bit? He’s lovely and I love him. Shut up.

Then came the bargaining portion of the afternoon. “Well, this is technically a point gained… away… we have one eye on the Milan match… always better to come from beh- OH WHO ARE WE KIDDING THIS IS HELL!” And it would have been. With Liverpool having lost to Manchester United earlier in the day and Chelsea minutes from losing to Everton, our failure to capitalize would have once again been awful. That said, I had an odd Aston Villa-style feeling of “We are so gonna win this”. Survival instinct?

I got Twitter jailed for refreshing too many times, time was ticking by and the only upside was that Fowler is such a quiet spectator that there was never any danger that any of the constant yells being heard off-screen were coming from him. And then finally, it happened. Charlie Nicholas screamed. We all knew. Well we didn’t, but we hoped at least. Here is that moment from @MattWigley, who recorded it. No, it’s not the actual goal (they can all be found at Arsenalist’s site), but it’s always nice to remember the moment you first heard some news. Unless it’s bad news, obviously.

Superb cross from Arshavin (massive props to a similarly abused player), and what a way to end Thierry’s last Premiership game for us. As always, check out Sha’s site for photos and gifs etc. Clearly, the three points were more important than the fact Thierry got the last goal, but it doesn’t make it any less special. He and his swagger also had time to ‘Shush’ Martin O’Neill before full time. Perhaps this could be considered disrespectful but given O’Neill and Wenger’s history I reckon he was just trying to get one back for his main man AW.  Thank you, once again, to the man, the myth, the legend, the second best Frenchman to have ever lived, ever. Given his last departure felt so abrupt, it’s amazing that he’s been able to come back (post-statue no less!) and truly cement himself in the hearts of us all, including those who were not even into football when he left us almost five years ago. That sentence was, yes, a bit vommy but whatchagonnado?

Clearly, we were not allowed to end a match unscathed and Per Mertesacker’s absence from the Milan game on Wednesday is a big blow. It hopefully does mean that Vermaelen will get to play back in his favoured position and we will get to see the coming together of KOSMAELEN THE DESTROYER. Gibbs was back on the bench yesterday, so it’s unlikely he’ll start in Italy, but his return couldn’t have been much better timed.

I’m going to Milan on Wednesday and it seems like so are most Arsenal fans, which should be good. It’s only the first leg, but given the brilliance of the last time we played there, a good performance from us would be juuuust lovely. Ooh, and we’re now fourth place in the table! Also, given Newcastle’s collapse at Spurs yesterday, we will remain fourth for another two weeks. Not bad. So, we’ve began our Sunderland-Milan-Sunderland sandwich in a tasty fashion.

On to the filling!

20 Comments

  1. Irishgray
    2077 days ago

    Nice one Sian :) Have to admit to almost switching off my laptop yesterday in pure frustration when McClean scored for Sunderland, so glad I didn’t!!! It was a really scrappy game but Rosicky was awesome, Theo was nowhere near as bad as people are making out. Poor guy can’t catch a break, if he does not score or make an assist he is called crap. Hope Per is ok in the long run but at least we have Gibbs(who I think will get the start in Milan) and TV back in at CB.

    What can I say about Henry or should I say what can you NOT say about him? I think today he is officially our greatest legend, ever!!! I am just so glad we Irish did not attack his painting en masse, would have really felt bad about it now lol!!

    Bring on Milan!! The San Siro has been very good to us in recent years, long may it continue. COYG!!!!!

    Reply

  2. Gabi
    2077 days ago

    Brilliantly summed up as per usual Sian! Thierry has most definitely cemented his place in my heart. It’s been so unbelievably brilliant to see him play for us, and score – and score WINNERS! The man is a legend and a hero and I’ll be forever grateful to Arsene for re-signing him even for a short time.

    That said, what on earth are we gonna do when he leaves? :/ Robin clearly can’t do everything!

    So so soooo pleased for Rambo to have scored though. Cracking goal it was too. Boy did he need that! One day we’ll see Aaron & Jack together. What a midfield that will be! A word for Arshavin too – yet more proof that class is permanent. Can’t think of many other players who could’ve made that cross!

    On to Milan – have a fantastic trip, and please bring us back a result :)

    Reply

  3. Gf60
    2077 days ago

    Funny sort of place to imagine that Fairyland is alive and well and living in the Stadium of Light. Hans Christian Andersen couldn’t have dreamed that one up.

    Reply

  4. vaders_grandfather
    2077 days ago

    Dear Sian,

    KOSMAELAN THE DESTROYER.

    Your words are like viagra for tired eyes.

    That is all.

    Reply

    • Dobbi
      2077 days ago

      Yes i also had to stop and re-read that twice, quite enjoyable and i can actually picture it/(them?) too. Fantastic!

      Reply

    • crazeemunky
      2077 days ago

      i was about to comment on that lovely title but whatever i can muster pales in comparison to your succinct genius.

      Reply

  5. Alan
    2077 days ago

    Siany – the Thierry Henry of Arsenal bloggers.

    Reply

  6. Treez
    2077 days ago

    Carlsberg don’t do blogs – no point- they’ve read yours!

    Reply

  7. korihikage
    2076 days ago

    great title :) ))))

    Reply

  8. UncleK
    2076 days ago

    Terrific blog Siany.Only grumble is that rotten away kit that we’ll have to think of as lucky now.Loving KOSMAELEN,by the way.Not quite up there with COQPONG,but a close second.

    Reply

  9. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2076 days ago

    I hated this year’s kit – but I did shell out for the 2012 # 12. Put it on first thing Saturday morning and Henry as he does more often than not, came through once again for us.

    He’s sealed two games for us in two different competitions now with only the CL away match left before his return.

    No pressure, Titi, but rest assured I’ll be wearing the shirt on Wed…

    Sian – looking forward to your Italian field report, safe travels…

    Reply

  10. El Greco
    2076 days ago

    Thanks for the blog, Sian, and I am glad you were able to include the King scoring the winning goal!
    I was out during the game and didn’t know the result. No sooner had I returned home when the phone rang, and it was from Cape Town and my two Gooner friends screaming down the phone!. They were in both in a frenzy following TH12 winning goal!
    You just can’t beat the sharing of something like that.

    Have a great time in Milan, and I hope you tempt destiny!

    Reply

  11. Jessica
    2076 days ago

    beautifully summed up, love kosmaelen the destroyer !

    Reply

  12. Daniel
    2075 days ago

    I’m a bit late to the party here but would like to add that a sentence involving Thierry Henry can never be vommy in anyway, because no sentence will ever sum up how much he has given to this club and, frankly, my life!

    I said this on Twitter on Friday: “I reckon (and hope with all I have) that Thierry has one final blazing gift for us. Going to miss him badly, just seeing him there.”

    I am really going to miss that man!

    Great blog, Siany! Will be thinking of you and the fam on Wednesday, hoping it will be the Sian Siro. Sorry, that’s terrible, but whatchagonnado? ;)

    Reply

  13. Alex
    2075 days ago

    Have to agree with Vaders_Grandfather, Alan, Treez & Korihikage on their various thoughts, this blog is a joy to read :D

    Going to outside London away games is a stretch and a half enough, so going out of the UK will have to wait till next season at the minimum, but have fun at the ‘Sian’ Siro (Nice one Daniel *thumbs up*), I’ll be saying my goodbyes (for now, the great man will be back :) ) via ITV 1, hopefully it will go better than my tearful response to the news that he was signing for B*rca in 2007 at the hands of my dirty Red (Only One Reserve Game at Old Trafford to his name) Manc Older Brother and Sister.

    Hoping & Praying for good ol’ Thierry to pull one more trick out of the bag to help the mighty Arsenal into the last 8, and hopefully beyond :)

    Reply

  14. korihikage
    2074 days ago

    1Nil

    i love the away kit actually..like the colours. :)

    anyway, have u seen the new home kit? it was like on twitter? i don’t like the black strips they have included.

    Reply

    • vaders_grandfather
      2074 days ago

      Korihikage,

      I believe they (Nike) do that every year, just to gauge public response.

      I don’t like the proposed shirt; but even if The Arsenal played in bin bags with heart and courage, I would would be there, in my replica bin bag (and matching shorts).

      Good Day.

      Reply

    • 1NilToTheArsenal
      2074 days ago

      Hey Kori,

      It’s probably psychological, but I like the kit now, since I’ve already spent the money…even for the CL patch on the sleeve (let’s hope we get to wear it next year…)

      Haven’t seen the new home kit -will check it out. Thoughts on today?

      Reply

  15. korihikage
    2074 days ago

    vaders gramps

    lets hope it won’t come to that ;)

    Reply

    • 1NilToTheArsenal
      2074 days ago

      Oh wow! Just saw the new kit it here (f that’s really it): https://twitter.com/#!/sharat1984/status/169744610464235520/photo/1/large

      The only way that kit could get any uglier, is if Tevez or Suarez became Gunners next year. Ouch!

      One of my favourites of recent times was the collared electric blue away shirt from a couple of years back. Very sharp that one…

      Reply

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