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Friday, 13 January 2012

Should Arsenal start Thierry Henry along with Robin van Persie?

Should Arsenal start Thierry Henry along with Robin van Persie? - Arsene Wenger's selection dilemmas against Swansea

The Gunners legend announced his return to the Emirates with a winning goal against Leeds in the FA Cup, but will the French striker now feature in the Premier League?

If you travelled back to sometime between August 1999 and March 2007 and told Arsene Wenger he would one day consider not playing a fit and available Thierry Henry, the Arsenalmanager would probably greet you with a perplexed look.

But that is the selection dilemma the French boss is facing ahead of his side's trip to Swansea City on Sunday.

Henry took just 12 minutes to put the exclamation point on his return to the Emirates Stadium, coming off the bench as a second half substitute in the FA Cup to score the only goal of an otherwise subdued clash with Leeds United.

And while it had been suggested the Gunners faithful would not be getting the same Henry who dazzled them for so many years, the goal itself had more than an air of familiarity about it, as 34-year-old skipped away from his man, opened his body and calmly side-footed past Andy Lonergan, just as he had done so many times before.

Wenger had initially indicated he would only use Henry sparingly - in FA Cup games and from the bench - but the trademark way in which the striker reopened his account has certainly given the Gunners boss food for thought ahead of the clash at the Liberty Stadium.

"Will Thierry start or not? I don't know yet," he said. "He can play behind or in front of Robin or on the flank, Robin can play on the flank too, but I don't know yet what I will do. They can play together, of course, and they did play together."

Premier League newcomers Swansea are no pushovers, either - especially not at home. Brendan Rodgers' side play a style of football Wenger no doubt approves of, and have suffered just one defeat on their own patch so far this season, to a solitary goal against Manchester United.

And, having suffered defeat to Fulham last time out in the league, with Tottenham extending their lead over their north London rivals to an unprecedented nine points after beating Everton on Wednesday, a win is of vital importance to Arsenal.

Henry's return coincides with the loss of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh, who have departed for the Africa Cup of Nations, and though the latter has been reduced to something of a bit-part player after struggling to find form, the Ivorian forward has become a regular feature in Wenger's starting XI.

Arsenal with Henry


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