Thierry Henry in clash with angry Arsenal supporter
Published 16/01/2012 | 08:00
Thierry Henry was involved in a heated verbal exchange with an Arsenal fan after Sunday's 3-2 Premier League defeat against Swansea, while manager Arsène Wenger also accused Nathan Dyer of diving to win the Welsh side's penalty.
On the final whistle, Henry had urged his team-mates to acknowledge the contingent of travelling fans after Arsenal's second consecutive league defeat but reacted when one supporter angrily voiced his dissatisfaction.
Henry gestured at the fan and seemed to beckon him in his direction, with witnesses confirming that he urged the man to be more positive and get behind his team.
Henry later told Arsenal officials that he had simply wanted to speak to the fan and persuade him that he should support rather than criticise the players.
The former Arsenal captain, who was playing in his first Premier League match for almost five years, also confirmed that he had not been subjected to excessive abuse from the fan.
Just as against Fulham two weeks’ ago, Arsenal were beaten yesterday after initially taking the lead and they are now four points adrift of Chelsea in the battle to finish fourth. Wenger pinpointed Swansea's equalising penalty as a pivotal moment.
“We lost under special circumstances,” Wenger said. “It was decided by some strange decisions. The first one is the referee who gave a penalty that was complete imagination. It was a good dive – well done to the player. I don’t understand where they found the penalty.”
Wenger also highlighted Arsenal’s defensive frailties. “There were some other turning points,” he said. “When we came back to 2-2, straight away, a defensive mistake. It looked similar to me to Fulham. Lack of appreciation of the ball. Our defensive performance was not good enough and that’s why we lost the game.
“We made defensive mistakes that you should not make. In the last two games we made mistakes that, at that level, are difficult to explain.
"It is unbelievable. For a team of that experience, for a team of that ambition, it is difficult to explain.” Wenger, though, refused to expand on the reason for Arsenals defensive difficulties and, inexplicably, praised the performance of left back Ignasi Miquel.
He also expressed disappointment with his team’s attacking performance, claiming that they had created enough opportunities to win the game.
“At 2-2, I thought we had a good chance,” he said. “We missed some unbelievable chances. That is difficult to understand and explain. There was enough to win the game with a bit more composure. Apart from all that, well done to Swansea, they played well and deserved to win.”
Brendan Rodgers, the Swansea manager, described his team’s unexpected victory as an “incredible” day.
The match was watched by England manager Fabio Capello and he believes that the performances of Nathan Dyer, Danny Graham and Scott Sinclair will have given the England manager “something to think about”.
Rodgers added: “I’m sure he would have been surprised at the level. All three were a threat. They play with a style that, if they went to international football, it would be no big surprise for them.”