Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe return of Scholes was an act of genius, but Henry’s wasn’t - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The return of Scholes was an act of genius, but Henry’s wasn’t - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The return of Scholes was an act of genius, but Henry’s wasn’t

It has been discussed to death since the respective return of the Manchester United and Arsenal legends. One was a pretty low key affair, announced just hours prior to the FA Cup third round Manchester derby while the other, secured in the build-up to Arsenal’s third round encounter with Leeds United the following day. But, while Paul Scholes’ comeback didn’t grab the headlines as much as Thierry Henry’s did, it is the former who will be more of a success than the latter.

Henry completed a fairy-tale return to the Gunners, making his first appearance in over four-years and un-rivalled in the club’s goalscoring records, the Frenchman emerged from the sub’s bench to net the winner on his second debut during the 1-0 win over Leeds. The Emirates erupted into a chorus of applause and the joy on Henry and Arsene Wenger’s face was an absolute picture for all to see.

The 34-year-old admitted that every game following his return won’t result in him scoring goals, much like the one he put away against United, and any fan is adamant they would be surprised should the legendary front-man replicate the form that made him such a potent threat during his first stint in North London.

And it is herein where the initial problem arises. Henry simply isn’t the player he was when he initially left North London back in 2007. Granted, Arsenal fans aren’t expecting the striker to perform the same feats he did during his peak with the club he experienced his finest years but could they be hoping too much from the former Barcelona ace? That remains to be seen but the pressure is likely to be firmly placed on the shoulders on the striker, especially with both Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh away on international duty for the African Cup of Nations.

However, should the second coming of Arsenal’s all-time highest goalscorer prove an untimely success, and a masterstroke on Wenger’s behalf with the elegant front-man finding the net on a regular basis, the manager could well find himself in a spot of bother regarding his return. With Henry only at the Emirates until next month, if he proves an un-qualified success, the Arsenal could end up pressing for his return on a permanent basis.

Furthermore, when his loan ends, if his goals do help propel Arsenal into the top-four, it could well see the Gunners fall back down the league, especially if Robin Van Persie loses his goalscoring touch or pulls up with an injury while Gervinho and Chamakh don’t have the best goalscoring records since their arrivals in England. When Henry leaves, who is going to be there to pick up the pieces if his move is successful?

Wenger is masking a permanent problem with a temporary solution by bringing back Henry and whether he is a success or not, it could well back-fire on the Frenchman, especially with the current crop Henry is now playing with completely different from the team he was used to when he left back in 2007. Sir Alex Ferguson bringing Scholes back, on the other hand, may only be a stop-gap until the summer, but it makes a whole lot more sense than Henry’s return to Arsenal.

Scholes only retired in the summer and has been working with the current crop of players since he called it a day following the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona back in May. The 37-year-old is up to speed with the pace of the Premiership having only just retired a little over six months ago but with the United midfield slowly depleting due to injuries, his return has more than aided Ferguson in the Scot’s time of need.

Despite showing his rustiness in the 3-2 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup, the midfielder at fault for Aguero’s strike just after the hour mark, Scholes still showed his goalscoring touch during the weekends 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. His reinstatement to the Red Devils first-team, albeit until the end of the season, will not only boost Ferguson’s options in the midfield, but Scholes has the knowledge and the know how to ensure that United are certainly challenging for honours come late April/early May.

And with the Premier League stalwart available until the end of the season, Ferguson will have the talented midfielder available for the business end of the campaign while Wenger will lose Henry right when the going gets tough. The latter’s arrival may have appeased the Gunner’s faithful but, as mentioned, it is a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Scholes may the same at United but, at least Ferguson knows he can now wait until the summer before making a move for a new central-midfielder rather than paying over the odds in January.

Ben McAleer

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