Thierry Henry revealed his concern ahead of Arsenal’s tie with Manchester City after their 2-0 loss at the hands of Napoli, suggesting their backline may struggle with a more rested City side.
The Gunners travel to the Etihad for the early Saturday kick-off, while City were able to not only rest players against Bayern Munich but played on Tuesday night.
Arsenal managed to qualify despite last night’s 2-0 loss, albeit in second place thanks to Dortmund’s late winner. While Henry felt the nerves during the second half, he stressed that the important thing is they qualified from the Group of Death, and has backed them to beat whoever comes their way in the Round of 16 Knockout fixtures.
The Frenchman told Sky Sports post Napoli-Arsenal:
I was worried during the second-half but at the end of the day, Arsenal are through to the knockout stages. My only concern is how they will cope against Manchester City as they have had to defend a lot during the last two games, especially in the last 30 minutes against Napoli. The Manchester City game is an early kick-off on Saturday and Arsenal don’t have much time to recover, while City rested five or six players against Bayern Munich.
I remember the year we got to the final. Everybody laughed when we were drawn against Real Madrid. I remember their officials leaving the draw and saying they were happy they got Arsenal. Then we beat them. Next we went to Juventus and everyone said it was an easy one for them, but again we went through. You have to beat the big teams at some stage. You don’t want to play against those teams this early in the knockout stages but that’s the way it is.
The Arsenal legend has been training with his former club over the past few weeks or so during the MLS off-season. He’s seen first hand what record signing Mesut Ozil can do, and has drawn comparisons with fellow Frenchman and former Arsenal star Robert Pires.
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Although there maybe no second loan spell to the Gunners this season, Henry wishes he could have played with the German maestro.
[on Mesut Ozil] I would have loved to have played with him. He reminds me in a different way of Robert Pires. He is the type of guy who if you give him the ball he will give it back to you. If you move left he gives it to you and if you move right he will share the ball.
He can find a guy that is quick or a target striker or play any type of ball you want. It seems like he has time all the time and we all know that’s not the case.
He plays like he’s playing at home in his garden and nobody is around him. It’s weird, but that’s the kind of player you want. You need to be composed on the ball and I think he’s brought that to Arsenal Football Club.
This time last year, nobody would have predicted Aaron Ramsey is a candidate for the Premiership’s Player of the Season.
Henry’s not a bit surprised though, claiming he always had the talent to succeed at the highest level.
Everybody knew that he had talent and Arsene even more so. Some people gave him some stick for standing by him. He’s not really surprised me. I’m always waiting for someone to show me what they can do, then I can eventually judge and there’s nothing else to say about what he’s been doing. We can always speculate about what someone can do, but it’s about what you do. What he’s been doing has been tremendous and hopefully he can do even more for us.
Olivier Giroud has earned plenty of plaudits this season for both his goal scoring and team play, and Henry feels the difference between this season and last is his determination to be lethal in front of goal and be instrumental in every Arsenal game.
Henry said of his compatriot:
As a striker you need to pass the line of being a killer. He has that in his eyes now. When he first arrived it was like he wanted to see what it was like in England, but now he doesn’t want to miss a game. He wants to be the guy that makes his team win or the guy that sets up a goal. He wants to be the guy and that is what you need if you want to be the guy. You need that attitude.
Plenty of stellar quotes from the legend himself, especially how his side proved all the doubters wrong by progressing to the Champions League final despite a tough draw.
Arsenal want to win the illustrious European trophy, so regardless they need to beat the best teams to make the final, however in recent years finishing second in our group has barely helped us.
We can beat anyone on our day, but let’s not focus on who we face next until the time comes, we must respond against City and gain some momentum once again.