by Daniel Snowden

The return of Thierry Henry had been greeted by most Arsenal fans as if it were the second coming (which it is, in a sense) and expectations were only heightened after the great man started his loan spell with a bang, rolling back the years to execute a typically “Henry” style finish.  This, after he came off the bench in the FA Cup
(a competition he always seemed to like, and one that Arsenal have not even got to the final in since his first departure), to score the winner, only adding to the fairytail.

Following his goal it almost seemed as if the good times were back. However, this signing very much has the feel of a sticky plaster, applied to stop Arsenal’s season fragmenting away into yet another disappointing campaign on all fronts.  This feeling has only increased following three league defeats in a row, the first time this has happened to Arsenal since 2007 and now the fans are starting to become much more vocal in their displeasure, despite the return of the King.

Indeed, despite Henry’s return the fans have now really started to turn on Wenger and this is in no small way related to the situation at the top end of the pitch, with the situation clear for all to see in both the summer and winter transfer windows, yet the man with the money looks to have plumped for the easy, sentimental option and hoped he can muddle through the season.

Yet it is exactly this sort of short term thinking which could lead to yet another fruitless campaign, which will surely give Robin Van Persie, Arsenal’s only real viable attacking threat, much to chew on in the summer as he decides whether to extend his contract for another few years at Arsenal, or to get himself a transfer while he is hot. In this instance Arsenal would be in no position to do anything other than grant his request, lest he goes on a free transfer a year later.

We are left with Henry to console ourselves, praying that he does the business and can hold the club together.

So, the signing of Henry looks like it was made to help Arsenal get through a difficult period with both Chamakh (don’t laugh!) and Gervinho away at the ACoN, as well as giving fans a bit of a boost. But in the long term a more permanent solution needs to be found. This is especially true given that Andrey Ashavin no longer looks interested
in playing and Theo Walcott, although brilliant at times, is often more frustrating than exhilarating.

And this is where Arsenal encounters a big problem, one which may have also prompted the Henry signing. Who would Wenger sign before the window slams shut (notice how it always slams shut?) next Tuesday? Many mangers are reluctant to sell their best players part way through the season and those that are tend to put an extra few million on the top. Now, Arsene is not a man who is willing to splash the cash, preferring to leave it to the very last second to buy the required players. He does this at the expense of having players in place for key matches, which in the long run could well be to the club’s detriment. For example, the start of this season and the rush to get bodies into the club a few hours before the window slammed shut.

In addition Wenger has said that he only ever looks for top quality, which is frustrating. I understand the desire to bring in someone as good as RvP, but this is not always possible. Why not go for Kevin Doyle, or Craig Bellamy (ok, maybe not the man, but that sort of player), someone who can play in the Prem and knock a few goals in on a regular basis while RvP is injured/suspended/rested, as well as giving Arsenal another option from the bench? Instead we get linked with Podolski, who then rules himself out of a move, and that is it. Not even any rumours in the rumouriest time of year!

And so we are left with Henry to console ourselves, praying that he does the business and can hold the club together and does not get injured again. And then what? Perhaps Chamakh will be rejuvenated playing in the ACoN and come back full of goals, vindicating Wenger’s faith in the process. Or maybe Ashavin will realise that if he wants a good move in the summer he needs to buck his ideas up and bang some goals in?

Or maybe the King will stay, and turn from a plaster into a plaster cast. At least until it needs to be cut off in the summer…….