Wright, Henry, PEA……how the past can affect the present
I don’t like to compare past eras with the present, since every era has its own needs, circumstances, and challenges. We cannot look to the 1989, 1991, or 1998 teams as formulae of how to win the league now. The contexts of then and now are completely different.
However, I will take an exception here. Largely since some things are pretty similar in players and styles.
PEA, despite our bad league season, pretty represents a coup. Noted Youtubers of other clubs, like Paul Machin/Redmen TV, and even Flav (Fighting Cock/Ballstreet) said they were both gutted that we got him. And note Flav follows the lilywhite scummers, so that’s saying something….
However, we need to get the best from PEA, even though he’s scored freely since coming here. And bar some last-ditch tackles (League Cup final/Walker), missed penalties (City/League) and false offside calls (Tottenham away), he could have scored more.
PEA’s style, in terms of pace, finishing ability, and being a “fox in the box”, reminds of me of our best-ever forwards, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry. In getting the best from PEA, we can look to why and how Wrighty and Henry scored the quantities they did.
Ian Wright (Wright Wright) was our record scorer, until ironically Henry surpassed him in 2005.
Wright (which may shock some) was not universally welcomed by fans when he joined in 1991, largely since we already had Campbell and Smith. The regularity of his goals though readily silenced the dissenters, and made him a strong Arsenal legend.
A striker is often as good as his suppliers. For Wrighty, this was:
The latter names may surprise some, but a number of Wrighty’s goals were from long-balls over the top, utilising his pace to beat the last man.
Other forwards also supplied crosses or throughballs, which Wrighty was able to latch on to with great effort. In many ways, the attacking sphere of the team was strongly oriented to meld with Wrighty’s strengths.
Some goals representing Wrighty’s attributes are at Soton in 1991, Spurs in 1993, Sheff Wed. in both FA Cup Finals (the final and the replay), Everton in 1995 and 1996, and Newcastle in 1996 (League and League Cup). These all show his pace, deft touch, and poaching abilities.
Here are a few of the best…..
Henry is as aforementioned our record scorer. Wrighty is a major part of what made me a Gooner, but Henry is our best ever. And surely ranks amongst the best ever for his country, and to date the greatest PL-era striker.
His attributes were similar to Wrighty’s, in terms of pace, finishing skills, and opportunistic pouncing.
Henry was supplied by:
This is pretty much telling, considering the use of throughballs, crosses, and Henry’s ability to create situations from nothing in the penalty area.
Classic Henry goals, detailing his own skills, are versus Spurs 2002 and 2004, Liverpool 2006 and 2007, Ipswich 2001, Charlton 2004, and Real Madrid 2006.
A few of TH14’s finest…….
PEA, Henry, Wright comparisons and strengths
So there are some key comparisons here.
Wright, Henry and PEA, share the following:
PEA scored vs. Everton and Watford based on him beating the last man, and finishing strongly. Wright and Henry both scored many that were similar, hence their successes for us. We have the players, like Bergkamp for Wright/Henry, or Pires, Merson, and Campbell, who can supply throughballs to PEA to utilise his strengths.
PEA’s goal vs. Brighton was a classic poacher’s goal, as were numerous that Wright and Henry scored. Good strikers can capitalise on this, or defensive errors when they arise. Henry notably scored goals from Gerrard backpasses (years before his slip no less…..), and I can recall a Wright brace vs. Coventry in 1997 arising from two defensive mistakes.
We have the players who revel in supply, like Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Wilshere, Bellerin, Xhaka, etc. And there are very few defences in the league who can handle great pace.
So plan is clear, and we can draw from yesteryear to see how we can get the best from PEA.
I’m not a tactical expert, however there are some points we can use to fully engage PEA:
There are various players, and avenues, to release PEA, from throughballs from deep like Xhaka, crosses from Bellerin or Monreal, and balls over the top from Koscielny and Mustafi.
Mkhi and Welbeck can provide supply, with of course Ozil being crucial here.
There are various options, which naturally Wenger can explore.
PEA, if utilised properly, can have the same impact as Wrighty and Henry.
We do not need new players, necessarily. However, by seeing how Wrighty and Henry prospered, we have a process to ensure PEA is a hit.
Watching Wright and Henry make you feel nostalgic? Maybe buy one of their classic shirts?