Henry signs off with final loan repayment
SUNDERLAND 1 ARSENAL 2
Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger hailed the "legend" of Thierry Henry after the 34-year-old came off the bench for his final Premier League appearance before returning to the New York Red Bulls to snatch a dramatic victory at Sunderland.
"He finished the story of the legend today in the championship. I hope he will add some in the Champions' League on Wednesday," he said. "But certainly, he got us the three points in a very difficult game."
That goal alone went much of the way to justifying Wenger's decision to bring Henry back to Emirates Stadium, although the manager joked it might also have come back to haunt him.
"I felt it might haunt me as well because he goes again and people will say, 'Why did he not stay?' It shows you as well that they never lose it, these players, exceptional talent survives.
"You have that at the moment with Giggs at Manchester United and Scholes, and Thierry Henry here. It's just a luxury to have a player like him on the bench."
Asked if Henry, who is available for the midweek Champions League trip to AC Milan but will return to the US the following day, could come back next season, Wenger replied: "We will see next year. Maybe he might want to stop at some stage as well."
The Frenchman snatched victory in the first minute of stoppage-time to finally see off a spirited Sunderland.
Sunderland had taken the lead when James McClean took advantage of Per Mertesacker's 70th-minute slip to run in on goal and fire past Wojciech Szczesny, although he could not have known the German had collapsed in agony after catching his studs in the turf.
Mertesacker, who had survived concerted first-half appeals for a penalty, was eventually replaced by Aaron Ramsey, who made his mark within minutes when he blasted home an equaliser off both posts to set up a fascinating final 15 minutes.
Wenger confirmed that Mertesacker is out of the game in Milan with ankle ligament damage, the extent of which is yet to be determined.
For Sunderland boss O'Neill, it was just the third defeat of his 14-game reign, with the others coming at Tottenham and Chelsea.
"It was obviously disappointing to lose the goal, but I have no complaints about the team whatsoever," he said.
"The last couple of months, their heart and soul has gone into the game. We are just obviously disappointed to lose from a winning position."
Sunday Indo Sport