A sunny, if blustery north London morning to you all.
Something on Thierry Henry first, even if I am loathe to talk about the whole business too much. But this time, he’s come out and said he’ll decide where his future lies prior to the World Cup. Very sensible if you ask me: if we do not make the Champions League, the world’s best striker might consider moving on. If we do make it – or win it, heaven forbid – then I suspect he will stay. He’ll be 29 in the summer so it’s that time in a player’s career when you have to think about the final third of your career. I’ve no problem with that.
It’s amazing how someone’s position can change though – a few weeks ago, when we were racking up our tenth league defeat, were knocked out the FA Cup and the semis of the Milk Cup, you’d have been forgiven for thinking we’d struggle to keep hold of him. Now, we’re unbeaten in a month, have beaten Milan’s record for clean sheets in the Champions League and are playing some of the sparklingest (my new word) football for some time.
In other news, Clichy and Cole are closing in on returns, which is great news. Having said that – and I’m only partly playing devil’s advocate here – how unfair would it be to drop Nigel Flamini when one or the other is finally fit? I think Flamini has been one of our best performers this season, I really do, especially at left-back. On the strength of his performance against Juve, he’d have reason to be miffed if he was dropped just like that.
I notice that Dennis is not available, again, for today’s visit of Villa. Bergkamp has been an absolute legend for ten years at Highbury, nobody disputes that he’s been one of our best strikers of the modern era, but this season the team appears to have finally overtaken him. Don’t get me wrong: he was, on balance, worthy of that “one more year” we sang about, but his usefulness has been as much off the field as on this season. His touch is still there, but he’s constantly injured now, and it’s sad to see.
Suffice to say, we need to push on and claim all three points today. The Totteringhams have a tricky game in the north-east, Allardice’s Unwatchables have a tough home tie against the Mancs, and Blackbeard have not got the easiest of games on Monday night, at home to this season’s surprise package, Wigan.