So. Thierry Henry scored on his return in Arsenal colors yesterday, as if you hadn't already watched the video a thousand times. For me, as I'm sure it was for most, it was a bit surreal; Henry, older, bearded, slightly more bulky and lumbering, waving his arms in the air, waiting. Then Song looks up, and Henry knows. He just knows, he sees Song's eyes look, and he moves. He sees the Leeds left back linger four yards behind his fellows, the ball rifles through, he moves his foot, cushions it away from his marker, and it's 2004. It's 2000. I'm sitting in my grubby college living room in Minneapolis. It's 2012 again, and Henry--the fan--is running, leaping along the byline in celebration, not the calm, almost arrogant affirmation of scoring in the midst of his first 226. This is disbelieving ecstasy, and it feels weird, but so great.
Go watch this video, which Arsenal have provided for free on the official club site. It's about as good a video as you'll see this year.
More reactions below the jump from around the Arsenal blogosphere. Continue to share yours in the comments.
When he got in that position I thought 'oh, that's your angle' but it was a bit too close. That's where he surprised me. He still didn't force the shot, he still made it look easy, where I would have expected him to take a very strong inside shot. He made it just look easy. At the start I thought he was too much on the left but he had that special finishing that he has shown tonight. That was the Thierry Henry finishing.
The cynical out there might say it was just a 1-0 win in the 3rd round of the FA Cup againt a tired Leeds side who’d been under the cosh all night. Maybe on paper. Thankfully football isn’t experienced that way. In the grand scheme of things it might be easy to play it down but football is about moments. We have 90 minute games during which the mundanity is broken by skill, controversy, human error and more, and anyone who can’t enjoy what they saw last night, well, that’s their loss.
Kevin McCarra, in the Guardian:
It was a goal perfectly reminiscent of his great days with the club. Alex Song slipped the ball through in the 78th minute and Henry, on loan from New York Red Bulls, came in from the left to slant a right-footed shot across the Leeds United goalkeeper, Andy Lonergan. The movement and finish were so typical of the scorer that the episode would have been a cliché had it not felt so exhilarating.
The joy of the moment, the release of nervous energy and unbridled elation of the moment erupted in any heart carved of red and white; the years rolled away as Song slid the ball through the line of defenders, the left edge of the penalty melted as Henry’s body shape dictated where the shot was going and inevitably ended. This was Arsenal’s Sex Pistols at Manchester Free Trade Hall moment.
The diagonal through ball from Alex Song was perfect. It could have been played by Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, or even Dennis Bergkamp. The first touch was immaculate, the body shape breathtakingly familiar. The giant clock suspended from the Emirates canopy seemed to stop, dead. Time wound back to 2004 and, briefly, Thierry Henry was invincible again. As he drew back his right-foot to strike the ball, the Emirates was momentarily hushed. Then followed the trademark sidefoot strike. Before the ball crossed the line, Henry glanced across at the linesman. He just had to check. Check that this was really happening, that it wasn’t a dream, that a cruel flag wasn’t about to deny him his moment. He knew, of course, that the ball would settle in the bottom corner. When he’s wearing red and white, it invariably does.
Tony Attwood at Untold Arsenal:
But somehow as it registered that being there last night was another one of those moments I wanted more. I want the film. Not the film on TV, although that will have to do, but the film from my seat, which provides a superb view of the subs warming up, and is perfectly placed to view the goal Thierry scored in and has Ian, Stefan and I just looking at each other in sheer disbelief.
It may not happen again, but it doesn't need to. Yesterday was enough for me.