As Arsenal’s foray into the FA Cup with Leeds United rolled forward, the chances that were created were spurned by skyed shots, narrow misses, gutsy dribbling, and the cowardice of a team that decided to play an 11-1-0 formation. Arteta led well as our skipper today. Ramsey’s brilliance was overshadowed by overly strong volleys, while Arshavin looked a bit more comfortable and tenacious, yet was denied any glory through a combination of vicious fouls and a set of finishes that needed an ounce more of bite. Coquelin will be missed, but Yennaris appeared composed in back, as did Miquel. Ox was tenacious today, so I can only hope he will start more for us in the near future. Our Polish Wall saw little action today, save for some…er, saves at the end, but it all came through when Chamakh was subbed by none other than Thierry Henry.
As the legend himself volleyed forth from the stands into the pitch, the stadium erupted in a frenzy, welcoming the man whose talent gave way to our storied club’s glory. Cameras were ablaze and fans bared their red and white with pride as the man who helped win three FA Cups for Arsenal returned to keep the fire alight….well, at least for two months.
But yes, it was in the 78th minute where Henry truly welcomed himself home to Arsenal. Song’s pass was brilliant as Henry hung clandestinely nearby the back four and made headway to the near post. However, he spread his body wide, and aimed a curling low ball to the far post, and Leeds’ keeper was in the dust. The net gave way to the volley, the stadium erupted in triumph, and a man who seemed to defy everything in his prime had all but done it once again. He ran past the goal with arms splayed out, yelling, beating on the Cannon close to his chest and raised his arms up in triumph. He embraced his old coach, his teammates, and more importantly, the cries of all those that came to see him once again. The cheers were for Arsenal my friends, the cheers were for him.
Today’s win was a win for Henry, and yet, as the man who gave much to Arsenal’s glory walked off from the pitch in victory, it begs the question as to what truly constitutes an athlete as a legend. Is it his work ethic, his victories, his bond with the fans, his feats, or is it his loyalty? Those are questions reserved for a night at the pub, with ale on the table, food in your belly and your mates gathered ’round, but those are remarks well deserved for a player, a footballer, a man of such stature as Henry. And no matter what we may say or claim about the beautiful game and its many, legendary exponents, there will always be one player, one man, that is dear to THIS club. He is daring. He is insouciant. He is triumphant. He is Arsenal. He is Thierry Henry, and he is, above all else, legend.