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In what seemed more befitting a movie screen than in a soccer match, Thierry Henry was welcomed back to the Emirates Stadium and in return, scored the winning goal for Arsenal in a 1-0 FA cup win over Leeds United on Monday, pushing the club into the fourth round of the FA Cup to face Aston Villa at the end of January.
Henry’s goal for the North London club sincerely verified Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger decision to bring the French striker back to the club on January 6, on loan from New York Red Bulls, to cover for Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh, who are currently participating in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. His performance also extended his already impressive goal record with the club to a 227 total.
Wearing the number 12 on his jersey instead of his recognizable number 14, which at the time of his loan is being worn by Theo Walcott, Henry was substituted into the match in the 68th minute and received a standing ovation for his second debut with Arsenal. Ten minutes later, Henry was able to slip behind the Leeds defenders and put the ball into the bottom-right corner, giving Arsenal the only goal of the match, and the lead that would allow them to continue in the FA Cup tournament.
”The feeling I had when I scored was amazing,” the 34-year-old Henry told ESPN television. ”I think I will always remember tonight.” The outcome of the match provoked flashbacks of Henry’s previous reign at Arsenal which lasted from 1999-2007. The eight-year long stint with the English club turned Henry into one of the most successful players for ‘The Gunners’ in the early 21st century, making him a legend in club history.
Henry’s career has gotten him the Premier League Golden Boot four times; he won the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998, and also won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in 2009. At the age of 34, Henry is still going strong, winning more trophies and awards for whoever he plays for.
Although he is set to return to the United States in March, Henry will be sure to provide goal opportunities on English ground throughout his stay and cement his affectionate place in the hearts of Arsenal fans. By season end, he might even have created other opportunities for himself and his future career.