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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Henry brights in Arsenal victory over Middlesbrough

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Thierry Henry is an idol for Arsenal. Even more now, after his three goals in the victory 7-0 over Middlesbrough. The London team was excellent in all his lines.

In this game Pires, José Antonio Reyes and Fredrik Ljungberg excelled, but it was Thierry Henry, inevitably, who caught the eye with a performance that was a privilege to behold. “You felt today when he decided to do something, he could,” Arsène Wenger said. “Anything he wants.”

Henry’s insistence that he will extend his deal at Arsenal provided “the club can match my sporting ambitions” still draws some scepticism, but the manager believes that it must be “a matter of weeks rather than months” before a deal is concluded. Coach Wenger thought that it was no coincidence that such a performance should have come on the back of Henry’s declaration of loyalty. “I feel he is more free,” Wenger said.

He thinks “It has cut inhibitions inside the team and for him as well. You can clearly feel that. There were always negative vibes before. It was never ‘will Thierry stay?’ more ‘Thierry will go’. There was uncertainty and, when you are concerned, it weighs you down.”

Maybe the knowledge that the Gunners had spent some cash in the transfer market had as well buoyed the captain. Emmanuel Adebayor and Vassiriki Abou Diaby have been secured for a combined total of £10 million and Walcott’s signing should be confirmed in the next two days at a fee of £12 million — £5 million up front, with the rest dependent on appearances for club and country — which would make him the most expensive 16-year-old footballer in the sport’s history.