Sunday 19 November 2017

Henry return turns sour

Thierry rows with Arsenal fans just days after they hailed his comeback

THIERRY Henry was involved in a heated verbal exchange with Arsenal fans after yesterday's 3-2 Premier League defeat against Swansea.

Henry, who famously made himself massively unpopular with Irish supporters with his handball in Paris, turned on Arsenal supporters when one fan angrily voiced his dissatisfaction with the shock result.

Henry gestured at the fan and seemed to beckon him in his direction, with witnesses confirming that he urged the man to be more positive and get behind his team.

Henry later told Arsenal officials that he had simply wanted to speak to the fan and persuade him that he should support rather than criticise the players.

The former Arsenal captain, who was playing in his first Premier League match for almost five years, also confirmed that he had not been subjected to excessive abuse from the fan.

Just as against Fulham two weeks' ago, Arsenal were beaten yesterday after initially taking the lead and they are now four points adrift of Chelsea in the battle to finish fourth.

Manager Arsene Wenger pinpointed Swansea's equalising penalty as a pivotal moment.

"We lost under special circumstances," Wenger said. "It was decided by some strange decisions. The first one is the referee who gave a penalty that was complete imagination. It was a good dive -- well done to the player. I don't understand where they found the penalty."

Wenger also highlighted Arsenal's defensive frailties. "There were some other turning points," he said. "When we came back to 2-2, straight away, a defensive mistake. It looked similar to me to Fulham. Lack of appreciation of the ball. Our defensive performance was not good enough and that's why we lost the game.

"We made defensive mistakes that you should not make. In the last two games we made mistakes that, at that level, are difficult to explain.

"It is unbelievable. For a team of that experience, for a team of that ambition."

Wenger, though, refused to expand on the reason for Arsenal's defensive difficulties and, inexplicably, praised the performance of left back Ignasi Miquel.

He also expressed disappointment with his team's attacking performance, claiming that they had created enough opportunities to win the game.

"At 2-2, I thought we had a good chance," he said.

"We missed some unbelievable chances. There was enough to win the game with a bit more composure. Apart from all that, well done to Swansea, they played well and deserved to win."

Brendan Rodgers, the Swansea manager, described his team's unexpected victory as an "incredible" day.

The match was watched by England manager Fabio Capello and Rodgers added that the performances of Nathan Dyer, Danny Graham and Scott Sinclair will have given the England manager "something to think about".

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