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Thoughts on Thierry Henry and the Arsenal Managerial Post

Image result for wenger thierry henry

In recent weeks, a lot has been said about Arsene Wenger’s future and it has become a tiresome exercise for the manager, the players and to some certain degree, the fans. We don’t know what the manager’s long term plans are, until he reveals it and its pretty much evident that our board is absolutely clueless on his plans as well. These uncertainties puts everything in limbo and all we can do is speculate about who would be his successor after 21 wonderful years of service with the club.

The media outlets and pundits alike have wasted no time in making their proposed nominations with names like Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Max Allegri and even Diego Simeone touted as his potential replacements. Another faction has mentioned the club’s greatest ever player, Thierry Henry, as a potential replacement and I’m going to dwell on that a little.

First off, the Sky pundit / Belgium assistant manager shared his thoughts on the issue with an interview with Canal Plus,

“It doesn’t depend on me, there are things to be respected, it’s my club of heart but I do not have any right-wings. My name is quoted to succeed Wenger, I hear that. But it’s hard for me to talk about it I have a lot of respect for everything the coach has done.

“Am I ready? I don’t know and nobody knows, but I also need to learn my job. I will not be a consultant all my life, but coaching is not my aim.

“I have not fixed any goal in the head, I will love it [being a coach] and I will do everything for it. But, right now, I’m in learning mode.”

The ex-Gunner has taken a coy approach here, not ruling himself out from the job if its available and most importantly, admitting that he’s still on a learning curve in football management.

Which brings me to my bone of contention – is Thierry Henry capable of managing a massive club with lofty ambitions (lol) like Arsenal football club? Your guess is probably as good as mine – Yes, No, I don’t care? So I’m going to look at this from a holistic view, before reaching a conclusion on what my thoughts would be in this debate.

Yes Faction

This belongs to the faction that probably that Thierry Henry is the man for the job. Scoring 228 goals in 376 games for the club, he was an unbelievable attacking prowess and as a manager, he would instill that mentality on his players. He is very passionate about the club and takes time out to always visit the lads in the dressing room and the stands, so you can say that he has an influential presence on the team. He had a brief stint with the youth squad and knows some training regimes that can be applied to the first team if he gets the role.

Then there is the stuff he says on that his comfortable Sky Sports seat. From his analysis and tactical displays on the show, he seems like the guy that would have some sorta master plan for the team and he always expresses his views on Arsenal as ‘we’. If given a chance, he could exhibit those things he says, buy those players he believes should be at the club, shake things up the way he would like and bring the club back to its glory days but of course, this is all theoretical.

No Faction

This belongs to the faction that strongly believe that Henry should not even be considered at all for the role. To them, he is largely inexperienced and has not proven himself capable enough to hit the ground running in a club of Arsenal’s magnitude. They’d prefer him to start up small in a lower division side and prove his mettle before playing with the big boys. C’mon, there are other managers out there like Diego Simeone that has won one La Liga (13/14), one Copa Del Rey (12/13), one Spanish Super Cup (’14), one Europa League (11/12), one UEFA Super Cup (’12) and most impressively, two appearances in the UEFA Champions League finals.

Then there is the Gary Neville factor that proves that not all good pundits make good managers. Neville got a dream Valencia job in December 2016, managing 28 games for the club before getting the sack in March 2016. He had a terrible win rate of 35.71%, winning just 10 of the 28 games for the Mestalla based outfit. That 7-0 defeat against Barcelona was the nadir of Neville’s time in Spain. Who knows, Henry can be another Neville? Those kind of fears would be allayed.

I Don’t Care Faction

Of course, they don’t care.

What I think

If Arsene Wenger truly decides to leave the club in the summer and the board, in their infinite wisdom, approach Thierry Henry, for the position of the club’s manager, I would be extremely delighted. I regard Henry as my favorite player of all time, so it would be awesome seeing him manage the team. Like the ‘Yes’ faction, Henry is a guy that could make things work and I know many would highlight his inexperience as a major factor but these things are not cast in stone.

In the end, Arsenal football club made the decision and it’s our job as fans to support the new manager, irrespective of his background and other criteria we may want to use to judge him.

Lemme give you a chance to tell me what you think

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Go Top After Easing Past Stoke

Match Report Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

This fixture against Stoke at home was one that the fans had become accustomed to collecting three points at the end of the game. The records spoke for themselves – 14 consecutive wins at home against the Potters with eight clean sheets to match, but this was a team arriving at the back of two consecutive Premier League victories, so it wasn’t going to be a stroll in the park.

The stats boys also made us understand that Theo Walcott had 99 club goals and was in search of his century, and it goes to show how much time has passed since that young kid Sven-Goran Eriksson took to the World Cup and never handed him an appearance. The English forward had a chance early on when he received a brilliant through ball from Skhodran Mustafi but his first time drilled effort was saved by Lee Grant. Then in typical Arsenal fashion, the Gunners conceded what seemed to be a soft penalty. Granit Xhaka challenged the ‘Welsh Pirlo’, Joe Allen, in the box and his trailing elbow caught the Stoke midfielder on his face, causing Lee Mason to point to the spot. Normally, that kind of the decision was meant to be followed with a booking, but the ref chose leniency.

Charlie Adam stepped up and sent Petr Cech the wrong way to put Stoke one up. You tend to wonder when Cech would save a penalty though. I read somewhere that since the 2011/12 season, he has faced 12 penalties and conceded all. My bigger concern would be why the Gunners have conceded three penalties at the Emirates this season. What’s up with the clumsiness in the box? Only Hull has conceded more with seven.

To add insult to injury, Mustafi picked up a hamstring injury and the boss has confirmed that he would be sidelined for at least 21 days. Thankfully, we have Rob Holding that has been in good form this season and a Gabriel Paulista that can put a good shift when required. There is also a certain Per Mertesacker that is working his way to full fitness. Mustafi’s injury allowed Hector Bellerin to return to the fray, pushing Gabriel to the middle to play alongside the captain. Bellerin’s introduction proved to be a stroke of genius as he reacted quickly to Alexis Sanchez’s through ball to feed Walcott whose one-timed poked effort beat Grant on his near post to level the score. 100 club goals for our man and 1-1 to the Arsenal.

Going into the break with the draw was the least the Gunners deserved and they came into the second half with some hunger to do something more. The home side grabbed the lead when Mesut Ozil beat the offside trap to latch onto Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dinked effort. Seeing Grant off his line, Ozil lobbed the goalie with a looping header to score his ninth goal of the season. If he scores one more goal this season, he would reach double figures – a feat he has never achieved with Arsenal. This has already been his highest scoring season in an Arsenal jersey but he scored 11 in Werder Bremen and scored 10 goals on two different seasons with Real Madrid.

2-1 is always a delicate scoreline, so it was important for the Gunners to grab the next, and they did with another substitute, Alex Iwobi. The Nigerian was in something of a drought in recent weeks, now he has two goals in two games. Kudos to Mason for giving the advantage after Sanchez was scythed down by some bloke but the Nigerian unleashed his inner Robert Pires to side-foot the ball home.

As Walcott stated in post-match interview, ‘everybody is contributing‘ which is a hallmark of the team this season. I look back at seasons past when a certain Robin van Persie would have 37 goals, then Walcott would have 10 while the rest of the team would be struggling for scraps but this season, it’s a lot different. You’d be surprised to know that Arsenal has scored 60 goals already and we are not in the half way point of the season. Alexis has 13, Walcott 10, Ozil nine, Ox has six, Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez have five each, new boy, Xhaka has three, Iwobi, Koscielny and Santi Penalties and Sir Own Goal have two, then Chambers had one against Liverpool before switching to Middlesbrough.

This essentially means that Wenger can rely on any of his players on the pitch to do the business and it would go a long way.

All focus will be moved to Everton, that continued their rot with a 3-2 loss to Watford but the Gunners would have to put a leash on Romelu Lukaku that found his scoring boots with a brace after a four-game dry spell.

Sayonara.

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Stoke Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

We are back to the Premier League with Arsenal taking on a Stoke side that has picked up form in recent weeks. Considering their poor start to the season, Mark Hughes has steadied the site at the Bet365 stadium, winning five and drawing three of his last nine Premier League matches. However, Stoke’s record at the home of Arsenal is downright terrible with the Potters getting their last win as far back as 1981. The Gunners have beaten Stoke in their last 14 home games, notching up eight clean sheets in the process.

Arsene Wenger did well to shuffle the squad in midweek, making six changes to the side, and he must be very happy with the result, as the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Lucas Perez in particular, contributed immensely to the overall outlook of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they return to the bench today but the bottom line remains that they can put up a good shift when they are called upon. Arsenal would have fitness tests for Hector Bellerin and Per Mertesacker, while Francis Coquelin returns from his suspension. Stoke on the other hand, will be sweating on the fitness of Marko Arnautovic and Bruno Martins Indi, as both players received knocks in their victory against Burnley.

With the current table toppers, Chelsea, playing West Brom on Sunday, the Gunners can have a psychological advantage if they beat Stoke with two goals, as it would send them to the top of the table. With several teams scalping for points, it would be important for the Gunners to get three points today.

Injury Updates

Arsenal: Per Mertesacker (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Chuba Akpom (back), Matt Debuchy (hamstring), Yaya Sanogo (calf), Hector Bellerin (ankle – doubt)

Stoke: Ryan Shawcross (calf), Phil Beardsley (knee), Geoff Cameron (knee), Ibrahim Afellay (knee), Stephen Ireland (leg), Jack Butland (ankle), Marko Anautovic (hip – doubt), Bruno Martins Indi (face – doubt)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: D W L W W
  • Last Result: FC Basel 1-4 Arsenal
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (13)

Stoke Form

  • Last Five Games: W D L W W
  • Last Result: Stoke 2-0 Burnley
  • Leading Goalscorer: Joe Allen (4)

Predicted Lineups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott; Sanchez

Stoke (4-2-3-1): Grant; Pieters, Muniesa, Martins Indi, Johnson; Imbula, Adams; Arnautovic, Shaqiri, Diouf; Walters

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 0 Arsenal win.

Sayonara.

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