Those of you who don’t like soccer can skip this!
Proving that English football writers know nothing, they’ve voted Thierry Henry FWA player of year for third time in a season when Arsenal have been rubbish and he’s been notable by his absence from most of their toughest games. Arsenal have ridden a very easy draw in the European Champions league final (avoiding Barcelona, Chelsea and AC Milan, the three best teams in Europe). In the knock-out phase they got Juventus in a real form rut and Real Madrid in a dreadful state, and only just scraped past them. They got kicked out of the FA cup at Bolton in a game in which Henry was totally absent while being on the pitch, and have struggled to come 5th in the league. While he’s a great player and deserved the award before, he did not this season.
Any one of John Terry, Joe Cole or William Gallas (Chelsea’s best players as they dominated the league again) is much more deserving. Wayne Rooney had a great season while his Man Utd teammates imitated doormats around him, and, and even Stevie Gerrard, inexplicably given the PFA award (the one the footballers vote for) had a better year than Henry.
I guess reputations count on; but the Premier league table doesn’t lie, and the luck of the draw in the Champions league will run out on the Gunners when Barcelona stuff them in Paris next month. Perhaps if Henry reproduces his best form in the World Cup Germany this summer, and the French team holds together behind him, then the World Player of the year award next December might be justified. But that’s based on the calendar year. Over the 2005–6 season, it’s not Henry’s year.