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Theo Henry

By Tony Attwood

Sometimes the gods are with you.  My season ticket seat is to the right of the North Bank goal, upper tier.  A perfect panoramic view except that it means that goals at the Clock End are little bit harder to see because at the distance of about 150 yards, perspective goes, and can’t always see at once if the ball is heading into the net or back up the pitch.

But such a sacrifice is worth it if Arsenal score six up your end in the second half, and you have a perfect view of every one.

Was I nervous at 3-3?  You bet.  Was I stunned at 7-3?  Beyond doubt.

Last time we got 7 I was about as far from the action as it is possible to get – Melbourne, Australia.  This time I found myself in exactly the right place.

After the game Arsène Wenger said Theo was definitively not leaving in  January. So I should hope.   It wasn’t just that Theo was good, he was better than Thierry Henry when he first arrived at Arsenal (age 23, as I and everyone else pointed out yesterday), and I sat in the upper tier of the North Bank, Highbury, with my pal Roger and showed my deep understanding of football by demanding, “What is the point of a centre forward who plays on the left wing?”

I got it in the end, and yesterday I got it again after the 23 year old Theo was far better than anything Henry did in Year One of his reign.  Vieira apparently said in that first season that Henry couldn’t hit the clock, let alone the goal.   But Wenger (unhampered in those  days by a hyperactive AAA) carried on playing him.

Theo’s had six years under Wenger before becoming a terrific centre forward, which makes an interesting comparison.

Thierry had five years at Monaco, playing 105 times and scoring 20.  A momentary sojourn with Juventus (16 games in fact) and then he came to Arsenal and a reunion with Mr Wenger.

But here’s a fact.  The media is packed solid with people saying that Arsenal not playing Theo down the middle until now shows the stupidity and obstinacy of the manager.  Which is pretty much the same stupidity and and obstinacy that he showed with Henry I guess.  The comparison between the two is fascinating.

As for the future, Thierry Henry stayed seven seasons at Arsenal and played 254 times – and he stayed, until he was a fading star, because he loved Wenger and loved the club.   Barcelona bought him and ended up paying £250,000 a game for him – as I’ve reported so many times before that you’ll be sick of the fact by now, but I still think it shows that by and large (not always but by and large) Mr Wenger knows when it is time to let someone go.

Theo has played something over 160 games, and says he loves the club.  And so he should.  He would have shone anywhere, but probably not as brilliantly as he shone yesterday.
.
The final goal which you must have seen by now, was an utter masterpiece of Henry-esque proportions and design.  OK so was the first, but the last goal showed something that I have only seen from Henry before – the utter inventiveness and originality.  99.9% of strikers would have stayed on the ground for the penalty.  Theo decided to score instead with the most outrageous chip.
.
Now think of Thierry, who was of course in the stands watching the young man he is now helping.  Think of the invention of the instant free kick while the wall is still getting into position.  Think of the man with his back to goal, and two defenders harassing him, and a keeper on the line – and then he back heels it into the net.  Just think of it all.
.
Think of the speed, and of playing on the left wing and scoring across the goal.  It is all there, and I have been lucky enough to watch no only Henry score and score and score, but now have seen the Mark II version.
.
Theo Henry.  To the gods I give eternal thanks.
.
————

25 comments to Theo Henry

  • Lobster

    A really REALLY good performamce by Theo. A showing that any centre forward in history wouldve been proud of. But he’s not Henry, sorry, I can’t c Theo showing up in all the big games and scoring that wondergoal against united, he hasn’t shown me he has the power and technique to pull off something like that. And he might just leave us at the end of the year so, naturally, I don’t want to tell the sob story of how Henry 2.0 left us on a free at the age of 23 to my kids one day

  • nicky

    @Lobster,
    I’m inclined to join with you in having some reservations regarding Walcott. Yesterday’s game of fast open football was a perfect stage for ALL Arsenal’s “strikers” to shine, which they did.
    I want to see Walcott perform against a 10-man defence as Henry in his pomp often did.

  • Sam

    But Theo is surely leaving in summer. So I don’t care about him anymore. Need to rebuild yet again in summer. Back to square one again. Same old arsenal , one step forward, three steps backwards. Well done board and Wenger. Let alone buying,we can’t even keep hold on to whatever quality we have got. Hopefully , one day somebody at the club will wake up in the morning and suddenly realise, hang on, we are THE ARSENAL, we need to show it to the world by winning some trophies, rather than just 4th place in Champions league. Hoping that day isn’t for.

  • george graham

    All arsenal’s top players leave after having a good final season. Theo WILL leave but where? City? MU?, Chelsea? Abroad? Don’t rule Spurs, it can happen. Either that or Kroneke will fly in to force wenger to sell like he did with nasri as he does not to increase the wage structre

  • george graham

    All arsenal’s top players leave after having a good final season. Theo WILL leave but where? City? MU?, Chelsea? Abroad? Don’t rule out Spurs, it can happen. Either that or Kroneke will fly in to force wenger to sell like he did with nasri as he does not like to increase the wage structre

  • The font

    Lets get one thing straight if theo wants to go he will go it is absolutely nothing to do with the reported difference of 25 k per week. All the signs say he is going to leave if you follow the pattern of nasri van fab the only difference is he is truly settling in to our style of play he will not get past Torres van persi or aguero so that only leaves Liverpool or abroad. On a personal basis he will know it is better if he stays

  • nicky

    @George graham,
    Can’t agree at all with your 11.45. Henry and Fabregas had particularly poor last seasons and I’m sure there were others.

  • Stuart

    @Lobster
    But one of the main complaints by critics of Henry is that he rarely turned up for the big games.

  • Mandy Dodd

    erm…why exactly would he choose Spurs GG? An alleged 90kpw wage cap, not regularly in the CL and not as good as us?
    Think he is off somewhere, but if he plays in the middle , most likely to a lesser club than us, if he plays on the wing, possibly Utd if they lose Nani. Juve – PSG? Who knows. But cannot see club better than we are wanting him in the middle because of who they already have…if he goes to such a club to play on the wing, we know this is either all about money, or he is in some way pissed off with Wenger or the club

  • Tasos

    Theo Walcott is only just beginning to full-filling his potential at Arsenal, and his potential remains huge.

    But for years people in “the know” have been telling us Theo simply isn’t good enough and never will be.

    Now I feel the very same people are asking why Arsenal haven’t signed him up to a long term contract and how foolish of the club if he is allowed to leave.

    If he wants to play up front, he now has his wish.

    If he wants more money, others will be able to double Arsenals maximum offer easily.

  • Gooner S

    If Theo is half as good as Henry was then he will be a great player but we should stop comparing Walcott with Henry. He gets picked or not by his own performances. Yesterday, Walcott was superb. He now needs to be consistent as a centre forward.

    Clearly I would like to see Walcott stay and I would also like Arsenal to add another centre forward in January from a squad perspective because Giroud and Walcott are not enough cover for the rest of the season unless we are extremely fortunate with injuries.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some are now saying Theo can exceed £100g pw with bonuses and sidelines….and a 90k basic (see Darren1Arsenal tweets – this guy does not claim to be an all seeing oracle, but well worth following) – so if there is any truth in this, and he does not sign, can only be a dispute with the club, or more on offer elsewhere…or just keeping options open until the summer.
    Waiting to hear what the great Stewart Robson says about Theo, he has previously been less than appreciating…as he has been with most things to do with the club

  • JohnW

    And Lobster, I think Theo leaving is about to happen. It would really be both a Christmas and New Year gift wrapped in one is he signed a new contract.

  • Lobster

    JohnW, Theo penning a new deal would be an amazing gift for us all for so many different reasons. 1st we keep a great player who has been properly schooled in the Arsenal way(invaluable), 2nd we make a real statement to our players and the public that we are not a West Ham or Ajax(a selling club) and 3rd, if our next great squad is truly being built with a brirish backbone then surely giving away a young, british potential TH14 2.0 is irony in the truest sense of the word

  • dan

    Nobody knows anything at mo, let’s just wait and see!

  • americangooner

    the desire in AW to keep theo is as great as ever was. he has been vital as a substitute and as a starter. but every time he puts on a performance, the nagging feeling of whether he will stay at arsenal after May persists.
    if it doesn’t take long for the five boys to sign the contract, why is theo taking such a long time? even after AW trusts him as a CF, why is he coy about extension? this contract saga is way way baffling than any.

  • Sam

    This article will stand void and null if Theo leaves in the summer.All the patience and hard work Wenger has put in making the player he is now will go down the drains..willbe much much more gutted than when RVP left us.

  • Dec

    Tony, methinks a certain number 8 by the name of Wright was the MK1, TH14 the improved French speaking model and now, potentially, young Theo the latest version of legend as created by Arsene.
    Gooners everywhere should hope sense prevails over greed and the future is secured.

  • alex

    For me Walcot has already signed some where.Period.

    Guys !As the Americangooner said if the player really want to sign or extend a contract what is all this timing consuming ?

    We heard the same things from Wenger over and over and it never materialised.

    Walcot is been told clearly by his agents how to respond when question are asked in regard his contract.And he is not letting down his ~(ADVISORS).

    If one measure Walcot since his move from Sutton surely has improved.Guessing from what i have seen so far is far away in his skills like :

    Short dribbling
    Long dribling
    Definitely not good on air
    Physical strength when acting as lone striker.
    His decision is still horrible.

    At 23 he can still improve but it took seven years to reach where he is today.What guarantee do we have that is not going to be the same as
    Agbadahor ?

    Over all happy if he stays but not over whelmed.
    Sad if he leaves but not devastated.#

  • Okay we have been in this so many times and we are back into it again. As of me i will never trust in any word from the board which says so and so are not going not until i see it with my own eyes. Sometimes the no of Arsenal means yes.So if Thoe goes we will bring in Chamberlain and if we sell Chamberlain ,i will wait and see Sanchez watt. Those of you who have the belief of Theo staying i just say to you when until you see him in the Arsenal jersey otherwise never count your eggs”

  • Domhuail

    Mostly bullshite speculation and ignorant,ill-informed wild theorizing about Walcott. Let’s look at the situation realistically:

    1)He is still negotiating and can be signed anytime before the opening of the summer transfer window or even after, if necessary….let’s not presume things are going South until they do.
    2)He is definitely NOT TH14 just yet but there are signs he’s enjoying the roaming role just like TH14 did.
    3)Wenger knows how to deal with his kids far better than any of you pseudo-managers on this blog could ever dream of doing…let the professionals handle the professional challenges…stick to being supporters.
    4)IF he decides to go, Wenger will bring in a replacement and so far, his track record isn’t too bad.
    5) Don’t believe any of the yellow media rumour-mongering and other crass hysteria excreted by those hacks about Arsenal….they don’t have any more information than most of us, but they do have inventive imaginations…if you are stupid enough to swallow their offal, then swallow away.

  • AL

    As pointed out already, Theo was lambasted for not having a football brain, was called this and that by many pundits/commentators, and that he had reached his pinnacle, or couldn’t develop any further,…. Now he’s starting to show his true potential(no doubt a result of a manager who showed patience when all else failed to see what he was seeing) the same pundits/commentators are back blasting Wenger for not having played him down the middle sooner or tied him up to a long term deal. You just couldn’t add it up. I hope he signs, more for the stability of the club and the potential he has too. I’m not worried about the weaknesses he’s shown, people mature at different levels: Thierry was relatively unknown at 23, Drogba at 24, I also rememebr Eto’o being so wasteful at Mallorca early on in his career that Madrid were happy to sell him on to Barca, and everyone knows what happened. So at that rate I think Theo has actuially dsone a lot better than some of the best strikers that went on terrorise defences in the world had done at the same age. I do have a feeling most of those saying he’s reached his peak will be left with egg on their face… if he stays. Lets just wait and see how this pans out, fingers crossed he signs. As for the comparisons with TH14 MK1; they both started on the wing, have/had lots of pace, both had the privilege of working under the same manager from a tender age, so I dont see why not. If Wenger himself believes its possible then who am I to say its not.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sign it Theo and there maybe a statue of you to look forward to !

  • loserss

    whoops sorry wrong link uploaded in the wrong box..plz ignore…RE above, I sincerely hop Theo has not been blined and misguided by his agent…i think he is doing a rvp but doing it more diplomatically…the golden boy style…i hope i am proved wrong..

  • Some interesting stats on Theo in the PL this season:

    951 minutes played in the PL this season
    8 goals, one every 119 minutes
    6 assists, one every 159 minutes
    A goal or an assist every 68 minutes.

    Compared to Bale:
    1485 minutes played
    9 goals, one every 165 minutes
    1 assist, one every 1485 minutes
    A goal or assist every 149 minutes

    Let’s go a step further and compare to Robin Van Persie:
    1576 minutes played
    14 goals, one every 113 minutes
    6 assists, one every 263 minutes
    A goal or an assist every 79 minutes