Soccer

Henry makes fairytale return

2012-01-10 07:43
Thierry Henry (File)

London - Thierry Henry made a scoring return to Arsenal colours on Monday as he came on for the final 22 minutes of Arsenal's 1-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Leeds United.

VIDEO: Thierry Henry scores on Arsenal return

The 34-year-old forward, on loan from New York Red Bulls, replaced Marouane Chamakh to a tremendous ovation.

It took him just 10 minutes to have a decisive impact, running on to Alex Song's through-ball and rolling in a calm finish.

"It's kind of weird," Henry told ESPN. "I came back from holiday 15 days ago. I never thought I was going to play for Arsenal again or score a winner.

"I don't know what to say. I love the club and I hope I can do more."

The celebrations spoke of how popular he remains, and while he is clearly not as fit as the Henry who left four-and-a-half years ago, his class in the box was undeniable.

It was his twelfth goal in 12 appearances against Leeds.

"You could see Thierry brought his class but also how much it means to him to come on and make the difference," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"It was something you couldn't even predict before the game. It's great that he's back here and got the goal that qualifies us.

"You see that when he gets in these kind of positions, we've seen it so many times, him finishing at the right moment. It looks easy but it's not."

Arsenal had been utterly dominant until then without having the composure in the final third to make their superiority count.

Aaron Ramsey twice went close with long-range efforts, Mikel Arteta drew a low save from Andy Lonergan with a sidefooter from the edge of the box and Andriy Arshavin fired across the face of goal.

But this was Henry's night; the greatest actors always have the best lines.

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