Tag Archives: Thierry Henry

Francis Coquelin demands number 14 jersey at Arsenal

French central midfielder Francis Coquelin has claimed first dibs on Theo Walcott’s number 14 jersey next season if the Englishman leaves the club. Coquelin believes he is the heir apparent for the shirt number made famous by club legend Thierry Henry.


That is a load of rubbish, and the headline itself probably got a load of your knickers in a twist.

I also hear that Mohamed Elneny wants to wear number the number 1 shirt in 2018/19 and Hector Bellerin wants to wear a Petr Cech style hat with his top knot sticking out.

So rumours surfaced earlier in the week that Mesut Ozil would only stay at Arsenal if he was given the number 10 shirt. This is literally a made up story for RTs and hits. As fake as my Francis Coquelin demands number 14 jersey at Arsenal headline on this blog.

Firstly, I would be surprised if Ozil signing a new contract hinges on the shirt he is going to wear.

Players are motivated by 3 things:

    1. Money
  • Success
  • Love of the club


Now we can get rid of number 3. Ozil is motivated by money and success. And probably more money than anything else.

I imagine Ozil would wear Joe Willock’s number 69 (wah-hey!) if we were to pay him £300k a week.

It really is a non-story. People coming out and saying Jack does not deserve to lose his jersey and others saying Jack is always injured, give it to Ozil if it means he stays.

Why does it matter what number you wear? Whether it be William Gallas in 10, Abou Diaby in 2, Or Ozil in 11. It is just a name and a number.

Bring back the days where everyone wore 1-11 without the names on the back. But the marketing and sales boys would not have this. Getting a name and number is just to generate money for the club with idiot adults who still buy club shirts with a name and number on the back.

Ozil should be playing for Arsenal because he wants to be at the club, not because of the number on the back of the shirt.

And if he really is demanding the number 10 shirt to stay, he knows where the door is.

The number on the back of the shirt is not important. The performances on the pitch are.



How do The Invincibles and Class of 2017 compare?

Yesterday Arsene Wenger cam out and claimed his current crop of forwards was the best options he has had in his 2 decades at the club, surpassing the invicibles:

“Certainly numbers-wise and quality-wise together [they are the best],” Wenger said ahead of today’s clash with struggling Watford.

“We had never so many players who could perform and score goals – certainly never.

“Dennis and Thierry had the quality but we did not have a large number. We had Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires as well so it was not bad.”

Many have used this of further proof that Arsene Wenger is a deluded old man who has gone senile. It is further quotes to prove that he now looks at the current set up through rose tinted glasses.

Arsenal’s current forward options are: Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil & Lucas Perez. How can these compare to Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord. The invincibles.

Well the statistics do make for interesting reading:

Invincibles v Class of 2017


So the Invincibles scored a goal every 2.96 games. Whilst the Class of 2017 are a goal every 3.01 games. Almost nothing in it. We are talking about a 5 minute difference. But of course, it disproves Arsene Wenger’s point. The Invincibles were superior goal scorers, but only just. And probably not by as much as people think.

For me there are main differences between the two groups of players is top end quality. The Invincibles had Thierry Henry.

Henry is by far and away the most clinical player out of the 12 players and the primary reason that the Invincibles scored more than the Class of 2017.

A minor reason is Dennis Bergkamp against Mesut Ozil. Bergkamp was much more of a striker than Mesut Ozil. Scored more goals.

Henry better than Giroud, Bergkamp better than Ozil. When you combine all 12 players into a single long list, it makes equally as interesting reading.

Long List


This list further proves that Henry was superior to every other player. Our greatest goal scorer of all time. But the next two on the list are interesting. Both from the Class of 2017. This shows that whilst the Invincibles were heavily reliant on goals from Henry, the Class of 2017 has two goal scoring options.

Lucas Perez has to kind of be disregarded as he has played so few games to make a true judgement.

You then have the next 5. Pires, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Welbeck & Walcott. Very similar games to goal ratio.

So the Invincibles had the best goal scorer, but the Class of 2017 had the better options.

Player v Player

side-by-sideA last comparison is just seeing players per their position.

Again, this highlights the importance of Henry and Bergkamp. Henry is vastly superior to Giroud. Bergkamp better than Ozil. This is not exactly ground breaking news.

On the left hand side, Sanchez out scores Pires, which again is not exactly surprising. Sanchez is better than Pires.

The right hand side of the midfield might surprise you. Walcott is more dangerous than Ljungberg.

Wiltord and Welbeck are both hardworking strikers who also cover the wide positions. Wiltord had played a lot more than Welbeck, but their record is identical.

Lastly we have Perez v Kanu. Not similar in style, but they are the lost ones left. Kanu on his day was a game changer, but was extremely inconsistent. A scorer of great goals, rather than a great goal scorer.


I think it is wrong to compare the Invincibles to the Class of 2017. The Invincibles won league titles, and went unbeaten. Add in a lot of FA Cups. Whilst the current crop have just those 2 FA Cups to show for their efforts. But the comparison does make interesting reading, and the difference is not as much as you would think.

The difference is Bergkamp and Henry.


Note: I know I spelt Wiltord’s name wrong in the pretty pictures

Steven Gerrard shows Thierry Henry how its done

Yesterday Liverpool announced that Steven Gerrard would be returning to the club taking a full time coaching position in their academy.


The former Liverpool captain only retired from football at the end of November last year, and within a couple of months has already agreed to rejoin his boyhood club as a full time academy coach. As predicted, this has led to a lot of Arsenal fans moaning that so many of our ex-players, so many legends of the club, are not on the coaching field of London Colney or Hale End.

This ignores the fact that the likes of Steve Bould, Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires are involved with the club. Lesser known ex-players like Giles Grimandi, Ryan Garry, Danny Karbassiyoon, Steve Gatting, Greg Lincoln, Steve Morrow and Kwame Ampadu also have possessions at the club.

Some people act like we can have hundreds of ex-players of coaches, and they should be coaching at the club, no matter how good a coach they are.

Of course, like anyone, I do wish the likes of Thierry Henry, Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp were at Arsenal. But they have all chosen to take their post-playing career elsewhere.

Martin KeownLee DixonIan WrightRay Parlour have all decided to take up a career in the media. It is a lot easier earning your money speaking once a week on Match of the Day, a few times a week on Sky Sports, or for a few hours every morning on TalkSport, than working 7 days a week, getting to Arsenal’s training ground at 7am to coach, not leaving till 5pm, and having night games.

Coaching is not easy, it is not well paid. You can get as much money appearing once a week on Match of the Day as you can being a coach at a top club. Less work. Same (or in many cases, more) money.

We do have many players who decided to stay in the game. Dennis BergkampMarc OvermarsGilberto Edu decided to return to their home countries, Holland and Brazil respectively, to ply their trade. And some of the cases, it was also a return to their boyhood clubs that they supported.

Patrick Vieira was offered a big money contract when he retired for Manchester City, moving into an ambassadorial role with the oil-rich club. He is now managing Man City’s sister club in American – New York City, where he has a 40% win percentage.

Then we have Tony Adams. My first Arsenal hero. A 14 year old me in 2000 would have had him down as Arsene Wenger’s replacement at Arsenal. At that age, it did not matter that he might not be a good manager, he was Mr Arsenal. As it turned out, he was an awful manager who took both Wycombe Wanders and Portsmouth backwards. He was last seen in Azebaijan. Being an Arsenal legend does not mean that you should automatically become Arsenal manager.

Finally we come to Thierry Henry, and this is where we compare him to Steven Gerrard.

Henry was offered a job at Arsenal, similar to that which Gerrard has taken up at Liverpool. Involved in the academy, Henry was offered a full time job coaching Arsenal’s Under-18s. He turned it down as he wanted the role to be part time.

The reason behind him only wanting a part time role was purely a monetary one. In 2014, he signed a six-year deal with Sky Sports worth a staggering £4 million a year. £24million. It was impossible for him to work full time for Arsenal and full time for Sky. He was never going to break his Sky contract to take a full time job at Arsenal for a lot less money.

Instead Henry joined Roberto Martinez’s Belgium set up, on a part time deal, which did not affect any of his work with Sky.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have also decided to take the big money on offer from Sky than return to coaching – Neville did it for a bit with Valencia but soon returned to the comfy Sky Studio.

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard has shunned a media career. He could have easily have got a job with Sky Sport. A recently retired legends, an England captain, he could have negotiated himself a deal close to that of Henry’s. But he did not. He loved Liverpool, and clearly wants to coach Liverpool, even if it means harder work and less money then he would get sitting on a TV sofa.

And that is the difference between the two. Gerrard has become part of Liverpool’s academy set up because he loves the club. Henry turned down becoming part of Arsenal’s academy set up because he loves the Sky money.