Posted on August 16, 2017 by ADMIN

Eh? Thierry Henry blasts Arsenal’s title chances!

Well there is a turn up for the books. We are used to various ex-Arsenal pundits like Paul Merson laying in to Arsene Wenger on our TV screens, but Thierry Henry is usually a bit easier going with Le Prof, especially considering that he is continually being linked with being Wenger’s successor one day.

But no! He was scathing in his verdict after the Leicester game, and declared that the Gunners have little chance of winning the title if they don’t improve their game play. “You talk about evolution or revolution: I call it stagnation,” Henry said on Sky.

“I watched the game and I could tell you what was about to happen. Every time Leicester had the ball I thought they were going to score and every time we had the ball I thought we were going to score.

“I’ve seen it so many times: are you always going to score four and concede three? At one point you’re going to get found out.”

“People were having a go at the defence but when you’re playing in a back three a lot depends on the people in front of you. If they don’t apply pressure then you’re going to be exposed in the back three,” said Henry.

“Based on how they played, I have’t seen any change (from last season).

“Tottenham didn’t concede, Man Utd didn’t concede – and usually you win the title because you don’t concede goals.

“That is something they need to rectify, not only the back three. You can’t have your two holding midfield players bombing forward and overlapping the wingers and being in the box.

“Yes sometimes they will score, but most of the time you want them to do their job.”

I think this is a little bit harsh considering that we were without most of our centre-backs through suspension or injury. Surely Arsenal can only get better as we get our players returning to the fold. We got the three points and if we can get another three on Saturday I will be more than happy….


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55 thoughts on “Eh? Thierry Henry blasts Arsenal’s title chances!

  1. Robin Vanpayslip

    It was weak but that annoyed me a bit. Two holding players? We have 3 central defenders. To put two holding players on top would mean half the outfield team is defensive minded and in the centre!

    Let’s not get carried away. We were defensively sound at the end of last season. The last game was because two left backs plus a rookie were in defence. That won’t really happen too often. Plus Holding is very good with an established CB next to him

      1. Kostafi

        This is an over-reaction. Henry is paid £80k a week for these overreactions. Arsenal fans shouldn’t get carried away. I find it amusing that Henry can say “we” and still blast Arsenal live on Sky- but it is what he is paid to do. Pay me £4m a year and I will insult everyone. I might cry at night on a pillow made of £50 notes, but I will do it every week lol

        The bottom line is it was a makeshift back 3 due to injuries, suspensions, and lack of match fitness. Holding was responsible for one of the goals but he is still an U21 player. Xhaka’s was responsible for another but had 2 assists. We won the game and that is all that is important. It is only the 2nd time in 8 years we have done so.

        Spurs played a newly promoted Newcastle crying for reinforcements and only found a breakthrough when Newcastle were down to 10 men. City laboured for two-thirds of the match against a newly promoted Brighton? While West Ham were completely woeful. None of these compare to Leicester who were champions 15 months ago. Chelsea conceded 3 as well and lost, so perspective is really important to us fans, maybe not to Henry, but certainly the rest of us.

        1. ZA_Gunner

          You are wrong to assume that about Henry. In fact he is paid to be a professional pundit, I would rather trust a professional than some random person giving out advice. It even makes more sense to take Henry’s words as a word of advice since getting paid by Sky Sports means he is not affiliated with Arsenal and can be impartial in his analysis of the club ie: without being biased. What we should know from Henry by now, with enough evidence to support it, is that he is a Gooner and his heart speaks in abundance, therefore for him to criticize his club and come out with these words must have been difficult. What he is showing here is in fact care and concern for the club, which is what every Arsenal fan should do.

          What you have failed to understand from Henry’s words is not that he was critical of the back 3, but the manner in which we conceded so many goals. He pointed out that we had too many defensive midfielders wanting to bomb forward and leaving space behind for potential counter attack, and if you read between the lines and use it as a source of info for analysis, you can clearly see he is implying we need to be stronger in the midfield by not losing ball possession, pressing more when we don’t have the ball and not let ourselves exposed. It is very easy to read and make assumptions because just by reading the headlines, someone like you is already inclined towards a prejudice which is driven by your emotion rather than rationaliy.

          Finally my argument is proven in your last paragraph. You used Spurs and Chelsea to support your argument and make it relevant for your own interpretation. If you were unbiased why not mention United and Man City as well? The reason is because for you as long as you cherry picked the facts that supported your opinion, the others which are as equally valid but of which goes against you views becomes irrelevant. So don’t go and discredit someone when you yourself have proven to lack the credibility to make that argument in the first place.

        2. Elvinho

          Let’s call a spade a spade. Henry was spot on. the earlier we put sentiments aside and face reality the better for we as a club.

    1. SynthiagoCazorla_Hvman_Machine

      I think sometimes we misunderstand Henry’s criticisms.

      Yes we played with a makeshift defense (something many of us would of overlooked had we lost the game), and yes we won the game eventually.

      What henry is criticizing here is not the central defense, but rather the way we generally setup to play in central midfield, even when were playing were playing with a weakened defense. It’s going to cost us a lot more games going forward if we continue to setup our midfield that way.

      He thinks we need to be smarter -not necessarily hyper defensive- the way we play in central midfield. Kante/Matic weren’t the most scintillating attacking combo, but Chelsea won the PL last season and they played some nice football sometimes.

    2. ZA_Gunner

      Well yes, Xhaka; Elneny and Rmasey are considered those type of players. What Henry is trying to imply and if you can read in between the lines is that our midfield is not good enough and that we need a CM, ie: something we’ve all been talking about on this forum since day one.

    3. JoJoAFC

      I agree totally with what Thierry has said. You can’t have both your holding midfielders trying to be strikers, that’s why I think we need to sign N’Zonzi to sit back and protect our back 3 . He is EPL proven and is a beast off a DMF. If we can’t get him maybe we need to play Kolasinac there and Monreal on the left. But until we have a proper big strong DMF we will always be exposed out the back cause all off our holding players forget their defensive duties and bomb forward and LeCoq is not skillful enough to be a DMF for us . Saed has played in the position before and it’s part off his CV.

    4. JoJoAFC

      I agree with everything Thiery Henry said. We need a DMF that sits back and protect the defence not 2 holding midfielders that want to play as strikers. N’Zonzi would be perfect to partner Ramsey or Xhaka. EPL proven and is a beast, wouldn’t be to expensive and could play the role perfectly. I wish Wenger would buy 2 midfielder a DMF and a deep lying playmaker my dream would be N’Zonzi partnered by Goretzka or Seri

    5. Midkemma

      We didn’t play 2 holding players in the middle, we played a B2B (ElNeny) and a Deep Lying Playmaker) Xhaka.

      In other games we have seen one of the defenders step up and act almost like a CDM infront of 2 CB, stepping up to intercept/make the tackle, this was lacking with Monreal leading the backline.

      That just supports what you said though about Holding 😉
      Look at how well he did with Per next to him and keeping Costa frustrated, top potential but he needs experience around him to help him fulfill that massive potential.

      I got to say as well, Bellerin gave the ball away far too many times which put pressure on Holding, that didn’t help him at all considering Monreals lack of experience in CB and leading the CBs…

  2. Frank

    He is right. The defence looked shady, possession was given away too easily, Wenger had players playing out of position, the midfield looked weak, Ozil went missing again, Sanchez looks disinterested, Ox might be sold to Chelsea, Wenger has only bought in 2 players and we were lucky to win against Leicester City at home. We will be doing well if we get anything out of our next two games, Stoke and Liverpool away.

    1. gotanidea

      Agree, Henry is right. We have seen that substitution’s goals scenario so many times.

      Arsenal is still playing with Wenger’s old system, despite the formation has changed to 3-4-2-1. The players are instructed to play safe by passing the ball quickly, but the fast tempo leads to many mispasses.

      The 3-4-2-1 might work currently, but it will not work so well in the future, because the other teams have already faced it in the last season. The system has to be improved and better players are required, if Arsenal wants to challenge for the title in this season.

  3. ThirdManJW

    Overall, on one hand, the criticism could be deemed a little over the top considering we’ve only played two games, won two, scored five, and won a trophy. But the reason for this early season worry is that it has been the same old Arsenal in the transfer window, the same old Arsenal against Leicester.

    Yes the back three was a terrible selection, and Chambers should have played, and that will improve once we get our big names back. But what was very typical from Wenger was the set up. Considering we had such a weakened defence, why didn’t Wenger instruct Elneny, Xhaka, or both, to sit back, and protect the defence more? We even scored first, which was the perfect opportunity to then protect what we had, no need to keep pushing everyone forward so much.

    I’ve lost count of how many times down the years we score, and then concede within just a few minutes, which we saw yet again against Leicester. That’s a tactical issue for me, and a problem that will never go away until we change manager.

    1. TH14-TW14

      They equalised from a corner kick situation. How would sitting back and protecting the defence have meant no corner kick conceded? The goal was primarily caused by Cech leaving his line when he shouldn’t have and nobody challenging Okazaki for the header. It had nothing to do with a “strong DM” or X or Y midfielder sitting back and protecting the defence. Again the second goal was a result of a careless pass by Xhaka that gifted Albrighton possession from a position where he is always dangerous. It was not about sitting back. In fact they were the furtherest back you should expect them to sit at the time. The third goal again was from a corner kick which our players failed to challenge Vardy.

      Many seem to cling to this narrative of a so called strong DM who “sits back to protect the defence”. Look at Matic, he is always seen in this regard but there’s never a game he plays that he does not take a shot within 20 yards of the opposition goal line. The two he has played so far for Man U he has taken such shots, yet he has been acclaimed to have “freed Pogba”. If he were to be an Arsenal player, they and many here would say that “he bombed forward”.

      Defending is about a unit and not one imaginary “all action destroyer DM” whose job is to “sit back and protect the defence”. There’s only a little a single player can do if the team does not defend as a unit. No DM can stand a very fast dribbler alone or two-on-one situations if he is let isolated by the unit.

    2. ZA_Gunner

      Agree and as I’ve stated before in this forum we need a disciplined midfielder that can read the counter attack when we bomb forward because behind the wing backs, there are acres of space to be capitalized by the opposition.

      @TH14-TW14: Henry is not saying we conceded goals because our defensive midfielders weren’t there to cover for the defense, he is implying that by not doing that we will be letting goals throughout the season like we always do. Also United can have Matic play in a more advanced central role is because they play with 4 at the back and not 3 at the back so your argument is irrelevant as you’re not even comparing the same system. I want to end off by saying the reason why we had both Xhaka and Elneny play such advanced role is because we lacked creativity in the middle therefore we were forced to use them more in the build up play. Ozil was also invisible for parts of the game thus someone had to play the creative role. This shouldn’t happen as they should be playing in a more reserved and defensive format in order to cover the space behind in case the opposition exploit that space. This should be enough reason to highlight the need for a creative CM similar to Cazorla so that either Xhaka or Coquelin can be liberated and focus more on maintaining and balancing the middle in defense; ball possession and hold up play.

      1. TH14-TW14

        The talk of “bombing forward” has nothing to do with 3 at the back system, it started many seasons before we changed to 3 at the back. The person most accused of “bombing forward” is Ramsey who isn’t even the DM when we play with a back 4, so your argument lacks merit.

        Besides, I was replying to a comment on this article not necessarily Henry.

  4. l

    Yeah admin, we got the 3 points. But Henry got the main point. We cannot be defensively careless on a consistent basis. While it is good for the holding midfielders and fullbacks(or wing backs) to assist in attack, compromising their defensive duties is not good. This has caused us a lot of points. Our loss against Monaco in UCL few seasons ago is as a result of negligence of defensive duties from the fullbacks. It is easy for opposing coaches to tell their players to watch out for Arsenal’s defensive errors when they attack. Sometimes we get lucky, and sometimes it goes the other way. We can give excuse for absent of our main CDs but what about helping the makeshifts from the CMs and WBs. Chelsea won their only UCL cup by playing a team of mostly a makeshift at the finals against Bayern.

  5. Pragmatic Arsenal Fan

    Judging from the current transfer, pre season games and Leicester performance, Mark my words: Arsenal will NOT win the EPL this 17/18 season.

    1. TH14-TW14

      There’s nothing to mark here. Winning the league is something that mathematically has a 1/20 i.e 0.1 chance of happening for all 20 teams. Not winning the league has a high probability of happening (0.9 chance) for all teams so predicting that is easy. The thing you should have done is to tell us with certainty who would win it if you had any clue of the future.

      Now disappear!!!!!!!

  6. Pablo Picasso

    What concerned me the most is that despite the change in the formation, our style of play still remains the same!

    We are too predictable, its always Cech into Xhaka – Xhaka to either Ozil or Bellarine – Bellarine back to Holding – Holding to Elneny – Elneny to Ox – Ox gives it back to Elneny – etc and while all this is happening our opponents are setting up for defending and a counter attack.

    The sideways passes and slow build up is so boring to watch, sometimes we need to be a little direct, its why we always look better with Sanchez, Carzola, and to some extent Iwobi on because atleast they take the game to the opposition and want to score and every chance.

    Even with Lacca on we still couldn’t play the ball over the top for him to lash on. Until our style of play is improved whoever comes in it will still be the same old Arsenal.

    1. Midkemma

      Bellerin form has dropped and IMO Ox should have played as the RWB, it was frustrating to see Bellerin lose the ball as often as he did and not provide the same attacking threat we all know he can produce and what the Ox has been producing recently in RWB…

      I don’t get how you say sometimes we need to be a little direct after pointing out how we are being direct until the oppositions def stops us. Cech to Xhaka, Xhaka to Ozil and it is with a AM in 2 passes.
      Or from Xhaka to Bellerin who’s job is to attack, Ox was looking to drive forward when playing RWB and was kinda direct in his attacking play (wowing us in the new role)…

      How is that us not trying to be direct?
      Alexis you praise for taking the game to the opposition but he holds up the play as much as other players do, he may not make the sideways pass but he makes the sideways dribble just as much. He is an exciting player and he can get past a player or 2 to create space, he has drive… That is why we forgive his high risk style and the countless times he has given the ball away to stunt an attack. Kinda feels a bit biased to praise Alexis for direct play but also moan about Xhaka for holding the play up and being predictable by passing it to Ozil…

      Oh as for the last part about Lacazette, we did play a ball over the top and he scored the fastest EPL goal to claim a record on his 1st EPL game. Could have done it more but to say we couldn’t when Lacazette set a record for a ball over the top is just BS.

  7. OxInTheBox

    a bit harsh because 4 CB’s didn’t play.
    but he has a point about our pressing game, is bad now and was bad when we used 4-3-3.
    you can’t play a high line of defense without good pressing game, or you will get caught, no meter how good your CB’s are.
    wenger just don’t know how to make the team press systematically, like guardiola and putachino does. good DM and CB can balance that, but not solve the problem.

    1. TH14-TW14

      The downside of a pressing game is always the risk of counter attack. It doesn’t matter how good your defence or DM is, you will always have some moments in the game where you suffer that. Barcelona suffered that against a Chelsea side that was down to 10 men in a champions league semi-final. The only problem with Arsenal is that we don’t press as good as Barcelona and the current Spurs (or should I say that we don’t press at all).

  8. Vijay

    “Personally I want him to stay here for a long time.”- Arsene Wenger on the potential sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Damn

  9. Mobella

    Henry is the only ex arsenal player/pundit that speaks about arsenal with his emotion intact. He speaks base on what he sees and provide solutions. Unlike Ian wright, Merson etc who just talk buy, buy buy and other craps they talk about. We can’t continue to make stupid mistake at the back and expect not to concede goals. We need to cut out stupid mistakes at the back especially those needless passes when we are under pressure at the back. That was responsible for Leicester first and second goal. Our players also need to be positionally aware of their duty on the pitch. Lack of this is too evident in our game. so TH14 is absolutely right here.

    1. gotanidea

      Agree, Henry is clever and usually gives good solutions. I remember when he suggested Arsenal to use Sanchez centrally behind a striker, as a playmaker.

      Arsenal kept using Sanchez in the left wing, until Arsenal changed their formation to 3-4-2-1. It took a long time for them to realize that some things need to change.

  10. andydale

    The midfield is the problem they were giving away possession to much, And were very slow we need a box to box player who also has a physical presence. But like i said after we signed lacca we were done in the transfer market, we are going to be relying on a bunch of crocks in our midfield.
    carzola ramsey wiltshire.

  11. tobby1983

    It’s in my nature to trust people who have things at stake, I’m gonna trust Wenger this time, he has too much at stake. This goes wrong, and Wenger goes down…….finally and permanently. So I trust the old guy!

  12. sulgem

    the formation change only and having the same old weak arsenal won’t make a difference , all the players has to work hard on the training for stamina, endurance ,strength, which is a key to press on opponents not to give them space and time to settle on the ball even on their half as a result disposes the ball and have a fast attack ,And also having precise pass, a killer and on target shoot to the goal.and also to replace the players that can not be improved for the required performance with a skillful and strong players ..That is what i think makes the team stronger and challenge for the title.

  13. Dom

    Do remember that Thierry and AW do not see eye to eye on all things. Henry was a great forward but is not necessarily the most accomplished tactician of the day, and most certainly not a leader. He does and says what Sky tells him to. I lost some respect for him during the fiasco at the World cup in S.A.
    Today as an ex Gunner, I would expect him to be a little more placating and certainly more supportive of his old club and manager. But he’s acting in a similar manner than he did in Knysna.
    Ferme la Henry !

    1. Kamikaze

      people always dnt want to hear the truth…we are still not good enough deep down you know its the truth!

  14. AndersS

    What is new the last couple of years is that even pundits, who usually are favorable towards Arsenal, dare say, what is so obvious.
    We are leaking goals because of our midfield, and in stead of killing the messenger, we should concentrate on the message.
    Henry is right (like so many others, who are syaing the same thing), and we can’t win the league this way.

  15. ManMulo

    You know what People who do not win do? They make excuses, which is one thing i wish us Arsenal fans would do less of and that’s why i agree with Henry, lets demand more from our players even if it was a make shift back three they all earn thousands of pound and should be able to perform when called upon.

  16. tobby1983

    I honestly feel Arsene will surprise us all this season. Whatever he does, whoever he sells or buys, in whichever direction he goes. I will support him…..till December, at least!
    I just think I smell some new passion on him. I also feel there is an air of preparation around that team. Leicester was really good that day, to have finished them like we did in the last fifteen minutes without so many of our big guys shows some promises. And here and now, I’m telling you we will beat Stoke and Liverpool. How about that?

  17. Dan

    Add merson, Stewart Robson and the biggest twat of all Adrian Durham all they do is slag off Wenger and arsenal football club pathetic losers who know zero about anything havnt got a brain cell between them!!!

  18. Chairman Gallant

    We won that game against Leicester, mind you. On another day,we could have lost.The best form of defence is to attack, as an old saying goes, which is still relevant today. And that was what Arsenal did on that opening match.That was the opening game of the season, and every teams is raring to go, except West Ham of course. Liverpool conceded three and drew, Chelsea conceded three and lost at home to Burnley.We should be grateful to our boys for a job weldone. Arsenal will not be conceding three goals in every match, that is for sure. Henry should be less critical of our team. Wenger should make sure he keep the OX and other key players like Sanchez and buy one more ‘exceptional’ player and we are good to go.

    1. Gai

      Let’s give credit where it’s due,United were just too good for westham. You can’t seriously think they didn’t want to win the game.

  19. Adajim

    Henry nailed it, absolutely right. U can’t be playing 3defence and your 2 holding mf keep bumping forward there must be communication, at least 1 has to stay in ur half when u attack and both must be seen in ur half when u defend.
    Hate me or not, AFC don’t know how to defend. 1 quality pass will slice the whole defence open. This is EPL wenger should try and focus more on defence, our system is too much of attack whereas there is no superstar to do the magic, we only base on fast pass tempo, a well organized team, just need to keep the ball from us, play from the back, slow down the tempo and we are well beating.
    I wonder why we keep running back when opponent is on the attack. In my opinion defense must start from 3rd half, any rash tackle in d my, u don’t run back home to defend in ur 18

  20. ManMulo

    The Reason the Pundits keep talking smack is coz i 10 years Arsene hasn’t been able to prove them wrong, we’ve seen it season after season Arsenal showing the same old frailties, i really hoped this season would be different but with the addition of only two players and the Sanchez uncertainty I’m not convinced

  21. Paul

    The biggest worry for me as an Arsenal fan is the inability of Wenger to offload players. This is one of the result of giving average players a high salary and a long contract. Teams that would be willing to give them a chance to play, cannot afford the wages and rather than accepting a reduced pay many rather see out their contract with Arsenal thus ensuring their agreed salary. Maybe Arsenal might have to bite the bullet and offer to buy out the remainder of their contracts and invest in better quality players. We desperately need a CM in the Carvalho mode and someone with the ball retention and passing skill of a Carzola to be able to compete with the best in the league.

    1. neil

      I think you.will find fans here saying that… sell the squad players for any old money amd buy buy buy for whayever people are asking for! this is business and not gping to happen..
      let other teams pay market price for our players if we are going to say to Wenger to do the same for ones we want to buy ! People on here saying get rid of Sanchez for 35mn ! There will be a lot of activity these laat two weeks and those players you are saying want an easy pay cheque will want to play !

  22. DarkGunner

    I don’t care about anything that media says (With all respect to Henry) , they are always trying to make a negative atmosphere for Arsenal , It’s quite pathetic actually , in the talking points about premier league , Arsenal is either absent or getting bashed even if they win the game.

    Those that are bashing Arsenal defense based on one game have apparently forgotten that we didn’t have our original Center backs (Mert , Kos , Mus).

    In recent years 5th has been the Arsenal’s worst ranking , but other teams have had even worse rankings , yet you don’t see those teams getting bashed as much as Arsenal.

  23. Midkemma

    I remember people complaining about our win against the foxes when they won the EPL, we have to remember that they are a good team and even though last year they didn’t do as well, they did better than us in the UCL.

    Who is to say they will have the same poor EPL season with less to worry about again?

    It was upsetting to watch the CB selection when Chambers could have been used in CB freeing up Sead for LWB and having Ox RWB… It hurt us 🙁

    Let us not forget that we did face a good team and we shown desire to win it even though we was playing bad, do champions not somehow manage to find the win when they had a bad game?????

    Too early to tell anything from.

  24. David Rusa

    Though I can’t authoritatively state who will win EPL, I can confidently state that Arsenal will be one of the teams competing for the trophy. Thierry Henry was just playing to the gallery like he has been doing lately. He minds his job with Sky TV more than his love for Arsenal. I was sincerely incensed to hear Henry comparing Man U team to Arsenal’s invincible after just one game. Has Henry become a prophet now? That was a very reckless statement which borders on cheap popularity! I wonder whether these pundits ever care about tarnishing their reputation! What happens If Man U starts performing poorly? Henry’s credibility will be badly damaged as well as his relationship with Arsenal.

  25. Adeyemi Royalman

    Arsenal lost arsenal is bashed
    Arsenal drew arsenal is bashed
    Arsenal won arsenal is bashed

    What exactly do they want?

  26. Paul

    Why are some arsenal fans happy with the mediocrity and stagnation that has gone on at arsenal for a long time.
    Henry is as smart and intelligent analyzing as he was on the pitch, unless you are blind to see what he is saying or you are not intelligent enough.
    He got the stick saying giroud is not a first team player for a big team, now we almost all agree after bashing him last season.
    We need to press from the opponent’s half to defend better, the team needs to mark as a unit and with brains, we have suffered not pressing big teams like Bayern, barca e.t.c and we suffer not marking small teams intelligently.
    We don’t address our needs on time, imagine how long before we got a real striker in lacazette after we have been wasting money on lesser alternatives like chamakh, e.t.c the best players we have have the worst physios.
    We scout great players and we don’t get them cos we can’t pay the extra 5-10mills because of our stupid valuation
    Our coach is weak on telling off the players that are not given their all, he plays players out of position cos he can’t identify pay for what we need so he makes do with what he has, we let great leave when even though we are short on their position (Martinez and szesny, Campbell, I hear Gabriel is going to valencia), we have many average players in the team, we appoint either injury or error prone or average players as captains(mertesacker, arteta), we indulge in weak players (ozil, monreal)

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