Most of the headlines this morning are, unsurprisingly, about Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry which is a bit of a shame as the team deserves to bask in the glory of a 3-0 win over Sp*rs for a bit longer.
Today’s Sun says that Wenger and Henry will release a joint statement insisting that there is no rift between them while Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has played down reports that there was bust up between the two. He says:
I think Henry’s having a conversation with the manager. He wants to play every match but from what I can gather Arsene doesn’t think he’s in absolutely tip-top shape and he is going to have a chat. I don’t think it is a particularly serious matter but Arsene is the boss and he’s a pretty good judge.
Depending on which paper you read or which website you go to Henry could be out for as little as a week or it might be the new year when we see him. I suppose the best way to look at it is in a positive way. If he’s injured then he needs time to get himself right. If there’s something not quite right with his head then a bit of time off might sort it out.
Whatever it is you can be sure Arsene Wenger wants, above all else, a fit, hungry and committed Thierry Henry back in his team. In the meantime we’ll have to do without him. He was already suspended for the Porto game and it looks certain he’ll be missing for the trip to Stamford Bridge. As it’s a big game I’m sure Adebayor can do well but seriously speaking we’ve got the Togonionator, Robin van Persie and Julio Baptista who is looking to make his mark. It could be worse.
There isn’t a team in the world that wouldn’t miss a Thierry Henry who was firing on all cylinders but for whatever reason, and fatigue could be one of them as Goodplaya points out amongst his observations, he hasn’t been doing that this season. Perhaps the time away will let him recharge mentally as much as physically and while it’s unfair to expect any player to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders it’s not unfair to expect a little more from the club captain – and I don’t mean specifically on the pitch.
Watching Arsene Wenger on Match of the Day after the Sp*rs game was very strange. While he obviously wanted to emphasise the performance of the team and give them the credit they deserved you could see he was troubled by something, obviously the Henry situation. It’s very rare you see the manager so agitated and he looked almost volcanic as he tried to stop himself erupting. Still, he’s decided to deal with the situation his way and for whatever reason that means Henry is out of action, whether he likes it or not, for some time.
As well as that, and again I agree with Goodplaya, I don’t think Henry’s appearance at the game on Saturday was attention seeking. I think if he’d been put in his place by a manager who isn’t exactly renowned as a disciplinarian then he reacted in the right way, publicly giving his colleagues the support that perhaps he hadn’t been giving them when he was playing.
I’m not worried about the effect this might have on the squad either. Very often things like this galvanise teams and give them a spirit that you can’t manufacture on the training ground. We’ve got a big week ahead and we have to concentrate on that, not what might have happened between the manager and one player.
There’ll be more on the Porto game tomorrow and Wednesday as team news filters through. The draw for the 3rd round of the FA Cup was made yesterday and we got a nice easy draw against a lower league team. We’ll travel to Anfield to play Liverpool just like in the Carling Cup. I suspect there may have to be some pints with the mug smasher to watch those games as whenever we watch Arsenal play Liverpool together Arsenal always win. Luckily I’m making this text invisible to Liverpool fans so he won’t be able to read this and have any reason to not join me for the games.
And that’s it. More tomorrow.