Thierry Henry at 40: Ranking His Best 40 Arsenal Goals

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  The Thierry Henry statue outside the stadium prior to kick off during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

It's August 17, and Thierry Henry is celebrating his 40th birthday. To mark the occasion, Bleacher Report has attempted to rank the top 40 goals of the Arsenal legend's career.

This is not purely decided by aesthetics—the contextual significance of every goal is also taken into account. Click on the links to witness Henry's remarkable gallery of strikes for yourself.

          

40. 12/12/04 vs. Chelsea

This goal is included because it shows off the speed of Henry's thinking. When the referee granted him permission to take the free-kick, he instantly clipped it into the goal, leaving the goalkeeper stranded.

         

39. 06/03/01 vs. Spartak Moscow

Henry was not known for his headers, but he towered above the defence to score here.

          

38. 22/02/03 vs. Manchester City

An immaculate touch and a crisp left-footed strike are enough to win this goal its place in the ranking.

6 May 2000:  Thierry Henry of Arsenal is challenged by Marcel Desailly of Chelsea during the FA Carling Premiership game at Highbury in London, England. Arsenal won 2 - 1. \ Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport
Ben Radford/Getty Images

            

37. 06/05/00 vs. Chelsea

This goal may look straightforward, but it's worth noting that on the way to scoring, Henry outmuscled the great Marcel Desailly.

          

36. 30/10/02 vs. Borussia Dortmund

Another brilliant free-kick. This time 'keeper Jens Lehmann had plenty of time to react but remained helpless.

         

35. 09/12/00 vs. Newcastle United

This goal is all about the first touch. He instantly took a long pass from defender Tony Adams under control before finishing.

        

34. 15/01/00 vs. Sunderland

This classes as a classic Henry goal. He chased after a long ball, skipped inside and hammered home.

          

33. 12/12/04 vs. Chelsea

This left-footed volley left Chelsea reeling. He dispatched it almost before goalkeeper Petr Cech had a chance to move.

PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM:  Arsenal's Thierry Henry (14) celebrates with fans and fellow players after scoring against Portsmouth during their FA Cup Quarter Final football match in Portsmouth, 06 March 2004. Arsenal won 5-1.    AFP PHOTO/ Martyn HAYHOW
MARTYN HAYHOW/Getty Images

         

32. 08/03/04 vs. Portsmouth

What an outrageous goal this was—Henry passed the ball into the corner of the net from almost 30 yards.

         

31. 14/01/06 vs. Middlesbrough

This was a perfect volley, showing Henry's superb technique and unmatched composure.

          

30. 06/01/07 vs. Liverpool 

In this FA Cup tie, Henry outfought Jamie Carragher then drove infield to score.

           

29. 10/08/03 vs. Manchester United

When Henry lined up this free-kick in the Charity Shield, it looked too far away to worry Tim Howard in goal. Nevertheless, he managed to find the net.

Arsenal's French Thierry Henry (14) celebrates after scoring a goal against Manchester United with teammate Sol Campbell during the FA Community Shield soccer match 10 August, 2003 in Cardiff, Wales, UK.    AFP PHOTO/NICOLAS ASFOURI  (Photo credit should
NICOLAS ASFOURI/Getty Images

           

28. 18/08/01 vs. Middlesbrough

Perhaps the Middlesbrough defenders in this game had irritated Henry, as there appeared to be extra venom behind this volley.

           

27. 26/08/03 vs. Charlton Athletic

This is another example of Henry's brilliant ability from dead-ball situations.

         

26. 30/11/99 vs. Middlesbrough

By this stage of the 1998/99 campaign, Henry was beginning to find his feet with Arsenal—as this stunning long-range hit proved.

          

25. 26/12/00 vs. Leicester City

Not many players could execute a volley as confidently as Henry dispatched this one.

LONDON - APRIL 01: Thierry Henry of Arsenal  celebrates scoring during the Barclays Premiership match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Highbury on April 1, 2006 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

         

24. 01/04/06 vs. Aston Villa

Emmanuel Adebayor and Henry had a brief but productive partnership. Here the former touches the ball off for the latter to curl home.

          

23. 31/03/01 vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Although not his most famous goal against Spurs, the manner in which Henry tormented Chris Perry before firing home makes this one very enjoyable nonetheless.

           

22. 04/12/01 vs. Juventus

Free-kicks were a speciality of Henry's, and this was one of his best.

          

21. 26/06/00 vs. Charlton 

For this goal, Henry collected a ball from Adams, flicked it up and volleyed it into the net in typical style.

          

20. 17/04/04 vs. Leeds United

Henry hit four in this thrashing of Leeds. His last was his best, as he drove from the halfway line before flicking his shot beyond the goalkeeper. As the commentator Martin Tyler put it, this goal was "electrifying."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM:  Arsenal's French forward Thierry Henry (R) shoots past Steven Caldwell of Leeds during their premier league clash at Highbury in London, 16 April 2004. Arsenal defeated Leeds 5-0 with Henry scoring 4.AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

         

19. 24/08/02 vs. West Ham United

Henry opened his account for 2002/03 by turning and launching a rocket of a shot into the West Ham goal.

         

18. 05/02/00 vs. Bradford City

This was a beautiful first-time volley that dipped low into the bottom corner.

           

17. 01/02/04 vs. Man City

The wet weather in London seemed to assist the manner in which the ball flew off Henry's boot and zipped into the far top corner.

          

16. 13/01/07 vs. Blackburn Rovers

This was one of the final goals of Henry's first spell in north London. He played a neat one-two with Cesc Fabregas before sending an arcing shot into the far corner.

ROME, ITALY:  Jubilation of Arsenal forward French Thierry Henry  after he scored during the 2nd round Champions League, Group B, match AS Roma - Arsenal, 27 November 2002, at the Rome's Olympic Stadium. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read G
GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

          

15. 27/11/02 vs. AS Roma

Henry completed a Champions League hat-trick with this stunning free-kick.

            

14. 23/04/00 vs. Watford

When Henry embarked on a slaloming run, he was almost impossible to stop—as Watford found out to their cost.

13. 02/10/04 vs. Charlton

Henry's brain is what made him unique. Here, he dupes the Charlton defence with an outrageous backheel.

          

12.22/04/06 vs. Tottenham

When Arsenal needed a goal to keep their hopes of Champions League qualification alive, Henry provided this ingenious toe-poked piece of improvisation.

           

11. 18/09/99 vs. Southampton

A brilliant spin and strike—this was Henry's first Arsenal goal.

18 Sep 1999:  Thierry Henry of Arsenal in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Southampton played at The Dell in Southampton, England. Arsenal won the game 1-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Gary M Prior/Allsport
Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

         

10. 28/03/04 vs. Manchester United

A searing long-range strike to open the scoring against Manchester United.

          

9. 21/01/07 vs. Manchester United

A last-minute winner against United is a precious commodity. The fact this one was scored with a header makes it even rarer.

           

8. 07/05/06 vs. Wigan Athletic

It might be just a penalty, but this goal secured Henry a hat-trick on the final day at Highbury—and helped Arsenal into the Champions League in the process.

LONDON - MAY 07:  Thierry Henry of Arsenal during the Barclays Premiership match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Highbury on May 7, 2006 in London, England.  The match was the last to be played at Highbury after 93 years, as next season Arsenal will
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

           

7. 18/10/05 vs. Sparta Prague

Henry equalled Ian Wright's Arsenal goalscoring record with this impudent strike off the outside of his right boot.

           

6. 01/09/12 vs. Leeds

This isn't the greatest goal Henry ever scored, but it might be the most emotional. On his first appearance in his second spell with the club, he side-footed home this trademark strike to send the crowd wild.

5. 25/11/03 vs. Inter

Not content with merely running from the halfway line, Henry beat the great Javier Zanetti twice before firing home with his left boot.

          

4. 01/10/00 vs. Manchester United

It took remarkable imagination for Henry to envision lifting the ball over Fabien Barthez like this. Having the skill to pull it off is even rarer.

          

3. 21/02/06 vs. Real Madrid

What a goal this was. An awesome display of power and skill that left the Santiago Bernabeu in a stunned silence. 

          

2. 09/04/04 vs. Liverpool

This goal helped keep Arsenal's Invincible season alive, and it went some way towards immortalising Henry's legend.

LONDON - DECEMBER 15:  Ledley King of Tottenham Hotspur tries to tackle Thierry Henry of Arsenal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane, London on December 15, 2002. (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty
Ben Radford/Getty Images

        

1. 16/11/02 vs. Tottenham

This is the quintessential Henry goal—a storming run ending in a brilliantly executed finish. It helps that it came against the local rivals, too.

         

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and follows the club from a London base.

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