The Best Goal I Saw Scored Against United: Thierry Henry's Ridiculous Volley For Arsenal...
Thierry Henry. A footballing talent so exceptional that, Arsenal fan or not, it is impossible to deny his place among the pantheon of greats to have graced the Premier League. That said, it is far easier to admire his brilliance now that he doesn't have the opportunity to spank in wonder goals against your team a few times each season. As a Manchester United fan, the love / hate relationship I have with Henry is encapsulated perfectly in one particular goal that he scored against my beloved club on the 30th September 2000.
Having been comprehensively beaten - by a staggering 18 points - to the Premier League crown by a rampant treble winning Manchester United team in the previous season, league runners up Arsenal had something to prove against the newly crowned champions of europe. 7 games into the season, United had already opened up a gap of three points over the Gunners, and were top by virtue of a stronger goal difference than Leicester City, so it was imperative for Arsenal to assert some authority in the early stages of the title race, or risk losing sight of United by Christmas.
United arrived at Highbury on the back of a midweek defeat to Eindhoven in the Champions League, a fact that must have had many an Arsenal fan worrying about the type of backlash typical of a recently defeated Ferguson side, who had not been beaten in successive games for almost a year.
It was a tight game in which the balance between defence and attack was heavily weighted towards defence. This being the case, it took a goal of magnificent quality to break the stalemate on the half hour mark. Henry received the ball from deep, about 25 yards out. He had his back to goal and Dennis Irwin in a strong position on his shoulder. The United defence was well positioned and there looked to be little threat on the United goal as Henry took his first of two exquisite touches. Using the momentum of the pass, he chipped the ball up slightly to his left, opening up the tiniest gap for himself to swivel and volley the ball into the top right hand corner of the net, leaving his international team mate Fabien Barthez rooted to the spot as he admired the precision of the strike. Not once did Henry look at the goal, his eyes firmly fixed on the ball as he made his move.
It was the type of strike that was typical of Henry. Being able to produce a game changing goal from nowhere is something that very few players are able to consistently do and was one of the key reasons that Arsenal fans loved - and everyone else feared - the prodigious striker.
Fortunately - as a United fan - the result was of little significance as United again ran out clear winners in the title race, but that glorious strike, to this day, remains the greatest goal I have ever seen scored against my club.