LONDON, January 19 – Thierry Henry made an explosive start to life on Sky Sports by admitting Arsenal have ‘gone backwards’ over the last few years before his former side’s 2-0 win against Manchester City.
Henry, sitting alongside Graeme Souness and presenter Ed Chamberlin on Super Sunday, believes Arsenal are missing a world class holding midfielder to protect the likes of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
The 37-year-old stressed the importance of former team-mates Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva during Arsenal’s unbeaten Premier League campaign in the 2003-04 season.
Henry said of Arsenal’s current side: “Yes, they have gone backwards, it looks like they are a team who looks to finish fourth.
“When you look at Arsenal they should be trying to win the title. I’m sure Arsene, the fans and the board want more. You can be upset at Arsenal losing to Stoke City but it is the way they went after Arsene and the words they used.”
“They are not far but they are missing a big piece. They are missing a (Patrick) Vieira and a Gilberto Silva.Those guys would have done anything to allow us to perform well. They protected the back four. Do Arsenal have that now, I don’t think so.” the Legendary Henry added.
Henry went on to lavish praise on former Arsenal midfielder Song by claiming the West Ham loanee would improve Wenger’s side.
“Song would improve Arsenal.That is the type of player you want in front of your back four.
“Song is the captain of the boat. He protects the back four. You need someone to dictate, put players into position, make little fouls by kicking someone – like Claude Makelele used to do,”said Henry.
Arsenal have claimed just one point out of a possible 21 during their last seven visits to Manchester, something Henry urged his former side to address before their trip to the Etihad Stadium.
He said: “Today has to be the day. I was playing before and Graeme too.Your pride has to kick in. Forget even about the Premier League.
“If I was at home and I was playing against my brother – one day, you have to go out there and prove you are a good team against a good team. That’s not an easy task and hopefully they are going to do it today.”
Souness, meanwhile, believes Arsenal are too nice to compete for the Premier League title and Henry did not disagree with his new colleague.
“Arsenal historically are too easy to play against, ‘I am a fan of Arsenal but they frustrate the life out of me. Would you like your daughter to date any of the Arsenal players? They are a team of son-in-laws,”stated Souness.
“They are all nice guys. You need some rascals.”
Henry may just be Arsenal’s lucky charm as his former side delivered an impressive performance to claim a 2-0 win at the home of the champions.
The Frenchman said their performance was ‘amazing’ despite only having 32 per cent possession.
Henry said after the match: “Arsenal usually play with the ball but they were brilliant. They didn’t have the ball for most of the game but the 32 per cent possession was enough to win the game.
“What a game Cazorla had today. People mention Alexis Sanchez but don’t forget Santi Cazorla. He controlled the midfield. He is the man who makes the team tick. The only thing he didn’t do well was the dance.”
Souness added: “The word that jumps out is disciplined. They denied space all over the pitch in a very un-Arsenal way.
“They were clinical. They defended brilliantly and never allowed any space. If they could just bottle it, then they would be a major threat.”