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.
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.
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
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In the wake of Arsenal’s recent run of results, the latest Premiership betting odds will be firmly stacked in Arsenal’s favor, as the bookies will probably believe that tomorrow’s game will certainly not be a stroll in the park for the Gunners despite being at home. A poor return of five wins in 15 Premier League games has seen the Gunners float in mid-table waters, and this has caused a stir among the Arsenal faithful.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll still have a bet on Arsenal. I’ve seen this club go unbeaten and I’ve been there throughout the trophy-less spell. I’ve witnessed my team throw away a handsome four goal lead and I’ve also seen the team come back despite being four goals down in the first half.
Arsenal will host West Brom knowing that anything less than a win would suffice for the fans. The players have been all over the news as well, doing what they do best – talking with their mouths in front of the cameras, instead of talking with their legs on the pitch. Francis Coquelin wants his team to have focus, Bacary Sagna wants the team to be wiser, Mikel Arteta wants to do his best to win the fans and Olivier Giroud has stated that the fans have been brilliant to him.
According to the official website, the club has an ever-increasing injury list. Abou Diaby (Diabytes) and Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) have been bored for a long while and they’ll be happy to know that Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Theo Walcott (calf), Bacary Sagna (foot), Laurent Koscielny (thigh) and Andre Santos (the spirit of van Persie’s jersey) will be with them on the treatment table.
The French defensive duo of Sagna and Koscielny picked up knocks from the Battle of Goodison but it’s really sad to know that the attacking duo of Walcott and Podolski will be joining their ranks.
This means that Arsenal will have Gervinho and the Ox on the wings supporting Giroud and the French forward might be starved, as both wingers don’t have crossing in their lexicon. I’d love to share these words culled from Soccergunz in his recent post, 5 Lessons from Greece,
…Chamakh and Gervinho were dismal: Save the assist to Rosicky, Gervinho was his usual annoying self. A simple pass would have been great in many situations but he just dilly-dallies and dribbles to a brick wall. Chamakh was worse. Nothing went right for the Moroccan. He is a goner.
…Chamberlain isn’t living up to expectation: He might be 19 but Arsenal isn’t a youth Championship side. He has been below-par this season and I didn’t notice him on Tuesday night. Is he being over-hyped or are we being impatient? Ramsey and Coquelin are in the same ship.
With the creative talent Arsenal’s midfield has in its disposal, it’s really sad to know that Arsenal’s second-string attack isn’t up to scratch. The attacking triumvirate of Podolski-Giroud-Walcott has a good goalscoring return of 24 goals, but when Wenger fielded their deputies against Olympiakos, they were pretty much peripheral figures.
You could say that I’m being harsh on Gervinho, Chamakh and the Ox judging from the fact that they haven’t had much playing time this season (bar Gervinho) but the lack of attacking cohesion showed in Greece was a cause for concern as injuries have paved the way for these wingers with below-par performances all season long to strut their stuffs yet again.
I really hope that they’ll give me a chance to swallow my words on Saturday and I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that front. Mike Jones has been appointed as the referee for the contest and we can only hope that the Gunners will come out with all guns blazing this time.
With Arsenal failing to get a center forward that was good enough to fill up van Persie’s big shoes (no disrespect to Giroud), many believe that Arsene Wenger has to delve into the transfer market this winter to get a clinical center forward that would bang in the goals that would propel the Gunners further up the table.
For a striker coming from another footballing culture, Giroud has done well but at this point in time, he has no able deputy. Any injury suffered by the forward would make Arsenal fans press the panic button so hard, it would spring from its remote control. Nowadays, Arsenal has been reduced to using Gervinho as a center forward and we all know how that has panned out.
There must be a reason why Gervinho never seems to look up when he’s with the ball in the final third. Could it be his massive forehead, his dreadlocks covering his eyes or it is because he’s looking for Aliens on the pitch to destroy because he looks like a Predator?
Arsenal will have to make do with Giroud,
the Predator Gervinho, Chamakh (oh my!!), the Ox and the injured attacking duo till the January transfer window.
The media Vultures have wasted no time in linking Arsenal to several forwards in the football galaxy. The Mirror reports that the Gunners are lining up bids for Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Wilfred Zaha, the Sun reports that Arsenal is set to trigger Demba Ba’s £7.5m buyout clause and the Telegraph reports that the Gunners have Fernando Llorente on their radar.
Articles like this are usually taken with a pinch of salt but when Goal.com, Football.co.uk, Just Arsenal News, Soccer Without Limits and many more columns out tell you that King Thierry Henry is coming back to Arsenal for a third spell, a few thoughts have to go through your mind.
Last Christmas, I wrote an article giving 5 reasons why Henry shouldn’t be re-signed by Arsenal (Bleacher Report’s version here). As expected, the article brought mixed emotions as some Gunners shared the same sentiment with me while others felt that I was wrong to judge the King.
With Gervinho and Chamakh out in the shores of Africa, Henry had a fairytale debut with a trademark finish against Leeds United. After playing seven games with the Gunners, he signed out of the Premier League in grand style with a 93rd minute match-clincher against Sunderland.
Henry solidified his legendary status with the team and Wenger had expressed his desire for the King to stay a bit but Henry had other commitments with his parent club, New York Red Bulls.
One year on, Arsenal is in a similar situation, with Henry’s return imminent. Last time out, I had expressed my concerns about his age, lack of pace, Henry being past his prime, tainting his legacy and ultimately, the fact that there are better players out there.
This time around, I’m 100% percent behind the King returning to the Emirates yet again but he should focus on being an inspiration off the pitch, and if afforded a chance, on the pitch. At the age of 35, Henry has seen it all – Premier League titles, FA Cups, La Liga titles, Champions League, you name it.
In this current crop of Arsenal players, no one, I mean, no one knows what it feels like to stand on a podium celebrating a trophy. Winning your first trophy is like smoking a cigarette for the first time, for some strange reason, you’ll be compelled to take another cigarette…and another, till you get to the point where you’ll quit smoking years later.
Funnily enough, some never quit till they die.
Translating it back to football, Sir Alex Ferguson is a manager that has won many trophies with this Manchester United side and he had every reason to quit after surpassing Liverpool’s long-standing record of 18 League titles. Despite winning 12 League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, 10 Community Shields, two Champions Leagues, one Cup Winners Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and one Club World Cup, he has not rested on his laurels and his team are currently topping the table, despite having a jersey that looks like a table cloth.
Here he has smoked so many cigarettes and despite being a chain smoker, he’s not quitting anytime soon. That’s why Arsenal lost Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, because there were no cigarettes for them to smoke.
When Olivier Giroud heard about the rumors linking Henry with a possible return, he was overjoyed. When he joined Arsenal this summer, he wasted no time in choosing the No. 12 jersey and I have a hunch that the decision was influenced by the fact that it was a jersey recently vacated by Henry.
As I’d stated earlier, having a living legend like Henry around will be a positive influence to the lads, because they could do with a lift right about now.
On the pitch, Henry has done pretty well to maintain good fitness levels as well as his amazing goalscoring form in the MLS. In the concluded 2012 season, Henry scored 15 goals (including a corner kick) and supplied 12 assists in 25 games. His team finished in fourth place though.
In conclusion, I’ll welcome Henry back to Arsenal in open arms. Feel free to share your thoughts as well.
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