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Where and how will he play?
Arsene Wenger is most likely to play Thierry Henry in the second half of the match.
In his post-match interview with Arsenal Player after the Leeds United FA match midweek, Wenger said this about where and whether or not to play Henry with Robin van Persie.
I haven't decided yet. Robin will be back against Swansea. Will Thierry start or not? I don't know yet. He can play behind or in front of Robin or on the flank, Robin can play on the flank too, but I don't know yet what I will do. They can play together, of course, and they did play together.
Here are my thoughts on how Henry should be played.
First, it seems more profitable to play him as a substitute rather than as a starter, for although Wenger has stated that Henry has been training extra hours to gain full-match fitness, he may not yet have regained it.
But even if he has, it may be better to play him as an impact substitute, especially when the goals refuse to come.
Moreover, Arsenal want to be stingy with playing him to reduce the chances of injury, burnout or loss of confidence from elusive goals.
Furthermore, bringing him on as a second-half substitute can serve as a morale booster to both players and fans, especially in difficult matches.
Here’s an insightful comment from a fellow Gooner on the issue. I have culled it from the comments section of this article.
The comments from players regarding Henry are precisely why signing him on loan was such a good decision. Regardless of his goal tally, and even before he scored against Leeds, his presence in and around the team is a lift.
What I didn't think of at the time, but which became evident when I watched the second half of that Leeds FA tie again, was how he also lifts the stadium.
His presence alone has inspired fans to get behind their team. Quite often, over the course of recent seasons, the Emirates has resembled a morgue.
At times it must be a terrible place for the team to play in—the jeers the boos, the gasps and moans when players miss or give up the ball.
All these contribute to this overwhelming sense of anxiety at the Emirates, which has to be counterproductive and maybe contributes to stifling the side's potential for success (Fabregas stated Arsenal was never the same after the move from Highbury, as the atmosphere at the Emirates was never replicated).
Henry’s coming back has reminded the fans of the club’s proud heritage. I hope it inspires a better atmosphere going forward. The players deserve that.
Second, I believe Henry's potency can be better exploited through playing him in the middle, the exact same way he was played in the Leeds match.
To play him as a winger may not serve his present strength.
Henry, we know, is not in his twenties anymore. Playing on the flank will be more demanding of him in general, especially since he’d be required to track back frequently to defend. You want to conserve his energy, which can be better applied terrifying the opposition’s defense.
Moreover, you want him lurking within the opponent’s defensive line in search of that one chance mentioned above.
Here’s how I propose changes be made to accommodate him when he’s brought on.
Remove Andrei Arshavin, whom I assume will now start frequently in the absence of Gervinho.
Shift Theo Walcott to the left flank and then move Robin Van Persie to the “Iniesta position,” which means he doubles as a quasi right winger and a false nine. As a false nine, he begins majority of his movement higher up on the flank and then moves diagonally inside. As he does this, Aaron Ramsey who plays at the tip of the midfield, moves outward to the wing position on the right.
Meanwhile, van Persie searches for Henry who lurks within the opponent’s defensive line.
The foregoing should work splendidly. However, I’m sure Wenger will find more fascinating ways to utilize Henry in the next six weeks.