Arsenal’s winning combination minus Thierry Henry

Arsenal supporters will sooner or later have to contemplate life without Henry. Barca or Inter are ready to swoop down and spirit one of the defining strikers in club history and in the world. A question that should cause some to have sleepless nights. Can Arsenal retain its winning ways without Henry and win enough to challenge for the title? So here is a bit of an insight.
Thierry Henry’s injury plagued season resulted in a truncated 17 appearances but he still netted 10 goals. In those appearances, Arsenal won 9 times, drew 5, and lost 3. Without him, Arsenal won 10 matches, drew 6, and lost 5 for a GD of + 9. So the short of it, the club was not exactly overwhelmed by his absence. But the story is different when both Henry and Van Persie were missing. In 12 matches without the duo, Arsenal managed 5 wins, 4 losses, and 3 draws and had a GD of zero. In other words, Arsenal was reduced to an also ran team without them. There was some modicum of success against Reading and Aston Villa minus the duo but Arsenal went through some of their most humiliating losses during this stretch.
However it gets interesting in the absence of Henry. He was injured all of December and January. In that time, Arsenal had one of its most productive spells. In those 7 matches, Arsenal won 4, drew 2, and lost one for a GD of +8. At almost the same time William Gallas got sidelined by injury. This led to two things, one was other players stepped up their goal scoring output with Gilberto and Adebayor scoring four each, Van Persie with three, and Flamini with two. In fact, the loss to the Blades was probably due to the late introduction of Fabregas more than an hour into the match. The other was that the defense toughened up considerably with Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure being the constants as Wenger rotated Hoyte, Djorou, Eboue, and Senderos.
Arsenal’s best winning combination sans Henry, thus appears to be Van Persie, Gilberto Silva, Fabregas, Flamini, Adebayor, Clichy, and Toure. With them Arsenal can be assured of regularly winning games but the question will they win enough to get them 80 points which would be needed as a minimum to challenge for a title.

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5 comments on “Arsenal’s winning combination minus Thierry Henry
  1. Interesting stats. At some point we have to be a club sans TH, and big clubs always manage to move on and continue at the top. If he goes now I would be sad (I still think he will be a top player for 3-4 more years), but with the right player coming in we can be challenging for everything next season. Remember over the last 5 years there are plenty of big sides in Europe that have done well and won things despite not having Henry.
    If he goes most Arsenal fans will worry about who we can bring in to relace him. When great players go it is not always about bringing in direct replacements but about rebalancing the team. Rather than look for a direct replacement though look to RVP,(who I believe is actually the closest type of striker to Henry out there), to do more of his role and bring in a more in the box 25-30 a season striker. Any of Eto’o, Anelka, Millito or Huntelaar will do. Don’t fancy Torres or Villa. RVP is technically better already and neither of them boast a great strike rate. They are over valued largely by the media.
    If your strike force has a blend of high goal tally, creativity and good link up play then you have a great forward line, regardless of whether it includes the name Henry or not. With RVP, Ade, Bendtner, Walcott and one of the above we will tick all the boxes in boasting one of the most potent forward lines in world football.

  2. Henry is still a major game breaker. But on paper, Arsenal still has plenty to work with on the forward line. Van Persie is a great scorer and assist man. Adebayor can score as well as Silva (who I’m on the fence with on whether he’ll get better this season or worse. And yes I know he’s a def mid, but he knocks in goals). Bendtner had a great season with Birmingham and helped out tremendously with their promotion. Vela, he’s probably not ready yet. I’d definately give Walcott more time and I could see him coming into his own by the later half of the fixtures. Also, Arsenal still has José Antonio Reyes, who came on for Beckham to notch Real Madrid’s winning goal and the La Liga title…
    Really, I’d probably sell off Reyes to a Spanish club while his stock is at it’s highest and use the money to bring in someone else. I wouldn’t do this with Bendtner though. He seems like he could turn into a star in the EPL. Really at forward, Arsenal has a good, young front line to work with.
    With Fabregas aka Mr. Assist, and Silva in the mid, they’ve got a fairly potent scoring side without Henry. 80 points good? No. Not this season at least. But maybe the next. If it were me and Henry left, I won’t try to grab another huge named forward. Instead, I’d try for a big name midfielder who can score and yet another younger up-and-comer forward who is at least ready enough to come in as a sub and get some results.
    If Arsenal keeps adding pieces smartly, I could see them contending for the title 08-09. This coming season though, right now I could see Newcastle actually challenging them for fourth.

  3. Good stats. I’ve seen reports in the British press make the same point. Even Skysports had an interesting segment a few months ago summarizing Arsenal’s results this past season without Henry. I will be very sad to see him go but I’m resigned to the fact it may well happen.
    I honestly don’t know how successful Arsenal can be without him until this young squad matures some more. RVP is terrific of course. I just want him to last a season without injury.
    And have you noticed, Shourin, how every time you post something about Arsenal, you get several comments, as opposed to your other posts? A majority of your readers must be gooners. :-)

  4. Sandrahn
    I think so too. Gooners are rightly concerned about the direction of their club. It has been an unsettling season and the main thing is to get back to playing soccer with Arsene at the helm. I think we can take the loss of Henry but not Arsene. That would be catastrophic.

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