- 90min voted Thierry as the best Premier League player ever
- Look back on one of his finest performances wearing an Arsenal shirt
- In 2004, the legendary striker scored an incredible hat-trick against Liverpool
Could this be the start of the end for Arsenal’s Premier League dream? “
9 April 2004.
Sami Hyypia just took advantage of some surprising lax defense from Arsenal’s backline, giving Liverpool a lead 1-0 at Highbury Stadium.
Arsenal knew they were only eight matches away from Premier League glory when they faced Gerard Houllier and Liverpool. After going 30 games unbeaten in the 2003/04 Premier League season, Arsenal would be crowned the first ever ‘Invincibles of modern English Football’. They’d also win the title for the third time, under the legendary Arsene.
The Gunners’ most likely banana skin was the game against Liverpool, which, when viewed through the schedule, appeared to be the only one remaining. Reds were in great form coming into this game, winning four out of five games and not conceding a goal for the last two months. This was largely due to the superstars Steven Gerrard & Michael Owen, who were both capable of winning any game they played.
Arsenal knew that a slight drop in their performance against Liverpool would be enough to end the unbeaten streak.
In just five minutes, an instantaneous lapse of concentration threatened to cause this.
It very well might have happened, even if Thierry Henry had not been there.
He was fortunate for Arsenal. 25 minutes after he scored, his team levelled the score. He was able to do it all. First, he darted behind the defence in the way that only he can. Then, he controlled a through-ball from Robert Pires in the way only only he can. Finally, he side-footed across the goal into the right-side net in the way only only he can.
Liverpool would take the lead at halftime after another mistake on defense.
Gerrard, Owen and other Liverpool stars took advantage of Arsenal’s apparent indifference to attack. The former fed the ball to Owen to score 2-1.
However, the Gunners began the second period with renewed energy. Henry’s move culminated in Pires’ equalizing goal within minutes.
Henry then made it 3-2 60 seconds after that in a remarkable way.
The 38.119 Liverpool fans present immediately stood in anticipation after the striker latched on to the ball at 40 yards with 11 players standing between him and goal. They were expecting to see their hero miraculously bulge the net.
Henry quickly races past Dietmar hamann, before facing Jamie Carragher or Igor Biscan at the corner of the box. Henry would race to the left of the box with a deft left-side step, causing the two to crash into each other helplessly. Henry would then curl the ball into the corner of the goal with his beautiful body.
Arsenal’s star would then go on to finish off an incredible performance by scoring a third late in the match – one of 30 goals he had scored during the season 2003/04 to lead his team to a title winning season.
Henry’s performance is special because he has shown this type of display so often during his eight-year tenure at Arsenal.
It wasn’t as if Andriy Arashin scored four goals in a row at Anfield, Maynor Figueroa smashed ten from half way against Stoke City or Sebastian Coates hit an overhead against QPR. This hat-trick is by Henry.
When I was growing up, ITV’s “The Premiership” seemed to show Henry doing something that you didn’t think possible. This particular April week, the’something” was a hat-trick.
The’something something’ that happened a few weeks later was the four goals scored by Newcastle United.
Few weeks later, the’something else’ won the Premier League as the captain of the team that had gone 38 games without losing.
Henry’s consistency is what made him the best player in the Premier League.