OFF-TOPIC: Henry doesn’t deserve to be player of the year in England

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.


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6 replies »

  1. In Arsenal’s last game at Highbury, in which Arsenal needed a win (and a Spurs loss at imminent cup-finallists West Ham) to guarantee a Champions’ League place regardless of whether they win or lose the final in Paris, who scored a hat trick? A *hat trick*? Thierry Henry.
    Perhaps he reads The Health Care Blog, and if so, I am sure he is delighted to prove the point and show that you weren’t right on this one, Matt!
    Henry is a world-class football magician and we’re all privileged to watch his mastery, whichever club we support, and obviously he deserves this accolade.

  2. I think you’ve got a case for arguing that others could have been contenders for player of the year, but I fear your personal biases have coloured your opinion just a tad. Can you *really* say this season has been “a season when Arsenal have been rubbish” when they are in the CL final, regardless of whether they have had a relatively easy draw (with which I don’t agree anyhow)? Does it matter whether they “only just scraped past” Juventus and Real Madrid, when that’s how Chelsea (whose players you nominate for the award, among others) will have won the league this year, match after match?
    Arsenal have been patchy, but when they have turned it on, they have been excellent. They thrashed Middlesborough 7-0 when it could have been 11, and Aston Villa 5-0. In both, Henry was spectacular. When Arsenal beat Real Madrid in Madrid, Henry shook off four or five players – starting with Ronaldo, whom he dispatched in the centre circle – to drive home the key goal. Against Villareal at Highbury, while it was Hleb’s cross that set up the goal, it was Henry who drew out two Villareal defenders from the left corner, and then arrowed a pass between those two defenders to Hleb, who thus had the time and space to make the killer cross. And against Tottenham, who deserved a lead at Highbury despite a controversial goal, who came on to flick in the equaliser? “Massively absent”? I think not…

  3. Actually anti-Chelsea bias has reared its head very early in their dominance. It took Liverpool in the 80s and Man U in the 90s quite some time to be this hated. And the writers reflect that.
    Plus as the Chelsea team is based on a defensive and grinding approach rather than sexy football (closer to Liverpool in the 1980s than Arsenal at their pomp, or even Chelsea in the Gullit/Zola era), it’s harder to see one player stand out. I think most Chelsea fans would struggle to pick between Terry, Gallas and Cole. Lampard has been a little below par most of the season (although his par is very high and he’s coming back into form now–which is good news for England).
    But the fact remains that Henry has been massively absent from many games. You should see what Johnny Giles says about him on Irish TV. He’ll do something nice, play someone down the wing, and thn stand around. Then when the cross comes in there’s no one in the box. Then there was that penalty “pass” to Pires…
    He just doesnt deserve it over the balance of the season. And Gerrard only deservred it for one game, which was LAST season (although admittedly after the awards last year….)

  4. Its obvious that Henry has one (two?) eyes on Barcelona next season. He kept himself well out of trouble v Villareal. Sure, he scores goals – he’s good, but Matt’s right, the committment hasnt been there this season and it shows.
    Much better candidate has been Frank Lampard. 20 plus goals from midfield, outstanding committment, and he defends, too. And, like most people, I dont even like Chelsea, Probably the football writers dont either. I suspect that explains their decision.

  5. Juventus not among the top three? Choke artists for sure.
    Henry is still (IMHO) the most dangerous goal scorer in the world, unbelievably efficient on his opportunities. I’m an American and probably still don’t get it, but probably some element similar to NFL/NBA debates on best player vs. most valuable.

  6. William Gallas! Your having a laugh aint yeah?
    Joe ‘cant get a game’ Cole !!
    Your wrong about Arsenal to. Their team performance against Real Madrid & Juventus was outstanding, especially for such a young team. The form at the start of the season was poor (due to lack of experience), but how Wenger has turned a incompletely inexperienced team of youngsters into near european champions in less than half a season is very impresive indeed. This is what most of England thinks to.
    Gerrard was deserving of the PFA award, and Henry said so himself live on UK TV straight after the Villareal game. After all, who knows better than the players themselves? Henry also pointed out how Liverpool and Gerrard are the inspiration for Arsenal this season.
    Middlesborough will win the UEFA cup this season.
    England will win the World Cup
    Chelsea will win the European cup next season.
    England dominates world football once more.
    Americans still won’t get it.