Wenger: Henry return is like a dream for me

 

Emirates Stadium

Arsène Wenger said last night that Thierry Henry's dramatic winning goal for Arsenal on his return to the team in their 1-0 FA Cup third-round win over Leeds United was like a "dream".

More than four and a half years after he departed for Barcelona, Arsenal's all-time top goalscorer added a 227th goal to his club-record haul with a 78th-minute strike, having come on as a substitute nine minutes earlier.

With the Emirates in raptures and Henry embracing Wenger as part of his celebrations, the Arsenal manager also suggested that the player could extend his loan from New York Red Bulls from six and a half weeks to eight.

"It was a little bit a dream," Wenger said after seeing Henry score from Alex Song's pass. "It was the story you would tell some young kids who you wanted to tell a story about football. And fortunately, it's not often like that in our game but sometimes it happens."

"He was already a legend here and he added just a bit more to the whole story. When he got in this position I thought 'Oh, that's your angle, but it is a bit too close,'" Wenger said afterwards. "And that's where he surprised me. He didn't force the shot, and still made it look easy.

"He had that special finishing that he has shown tonight. That was the Thierry Henry finishing."

Henry, whose return to Arsenal was gleefully greeted by the home fans, said that he hoped it would not be his last goal for the club. "I don't know what to say, to be honest," he said afterwards. "I love the club. I want to help out at the end of the day and hopefully I can do more. I don't know: I hope it won't be the last one."

His own emotion at scoring was obvious, and he said he could enjoy this goal more than any before. "The feeling I had when I scored was amazing. I am enjoying the club as a fan, I wasn't before," he revealed. "I will always remember tonight. I don't know why, but when it comes to Arsenal, something happens with me. Sometimes in a bad way, but most of the way in history in a good way."

Wenger was not surprised by the impact Henry made on a game that was flat for the 68 minutes before his arrival. "He has seen it all, has done it all," Wenger said. "So you could see straight away when he came on that he was a presence on the pitch. And if you could find him he will be dangerous. He's sharp physically."

As Henry promised, he demonstrated he still has an exceptional footballing intelligence. "Straight away through his runs he made them [Leeds] drop a little bit deeper," Wenger said. "The intelligence of his movement always gives defenders a problem. After 10 minutes on the pitch he knows where to go." Wenger added he had not decided how to combine Henry with Robin van Persie.

Leeds manager Simon Grayson, who saw his team defend well before the goal, was not at all surprised by what happened. "It was probably written in the stars that what did happen would happen," he said. "And that's the class of Thierry Henry who's shown that so many times. How many times has he been in that left-hand channel and bent one into the bottom corner?"

Henry's signing has already paid dividends for Arsenal, but who else could be joining the Gunners this month? Click here to take a look at Arsenal's potential January transfer targets.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map