Backpage Roundup: Henry Set for another Arsenal Return, Mertesacker Recalls Debut Season Struggles, Gunners Won’t Be Complacent Against Montpellier, Bendtner Unsure About Arsenal Future and More

Henry Could Return Again

Arsene Wenger has refused to rubbish media speculation that Arsenal legend and New York Red Bulls superstar Thierry Henry could be back playing at Emirates once again in January.

Henry, 35, originally left the Gunners for Barcelona in 2006 but returned for a successful short-term loan deal last season and scored twice in seven appearances. The North London club are set to lose the services of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh in January due to the African Nations Cup and so Henry, who is already training at Emirates these days to maintain fitness, could come in handy.

When quizzed over the subject recently, Wenger told reporters: “Thierry has been practising with us. Will I sign him again in January? I don’t know. I don’t rule it out. I don’t know if he would be interested. He is sharp. I had always resisted. Last year I did it because we lost Gervinho. It was a good connection.

“This year we lose Gervinho again as they are playing in the African Cup of Nations two years in a row, so we will be confronted with a shortage particularly if Chamakh should go. I cannot stand in his way, then we will be short.”

 

Mertesacker Finally Feeling Comfortable At Arsenal

Per Mertesacker has revealed that he is feeling far more comfortable playing for Arsenal this season than he did in his debut campaign of 2011/12.

The German centre-half has admitted that he initially found it tough to deal with the physical nature of the English game but feels that he has now adjusted to the league’s playing style.

In a recent interview with Arsenal.com, Mertersacker said: “It was quite tough for me [in my first season] but now I feel much more comfortable with the situation, with the season, with opponents, with our team as well, with the game we play. I try to keep on going with that feeling.

“English football is much more physical than the Bundesliga so you have to make your mind up about the tackles, about the way you cover your partner. So I set those things up a bit and I feel much better than last season.

“We try to play our game, to set the pace. The improvement has been so big, especially when you train more than one year with a team. The improvement is that big and I think you can see it. You can see those players who came in this year, they need a bit of time to settle in completely.”

 

Girard Has Fond Memories of Giroud

Montpellier boss Rene Girard has fond memories of working with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud but has made it clear to his former pupil not to expect any favours from him on Wednesday.

Giroud was Montpellier’s top scorer in their Ligue 1 winning campaign last season before he left them for the Gunners in the summer. After a slow start to his Arsenal career, he is finally beginning to show the form that forced Arsene Wenger to spend £12 million on his purchase.

While Girard claims that he has the right strategy to stifle the French international, he says Arsenal have quality pouring all over the park and focusing on stopping one man may not be the right move.

He said: “Olivier worked very hard for us and we almost sculpted him into the player he is today. We made history at the club and had great times. Unfortunately for us, he is rediscovering his best form and starting to score goals, but we have tactics to try to stop him. We know how good he is, but there are also lots of attacking threats here at Arsenal.”

 

No Chances of Complacency against Montpellier – Wenger

Arsene Wenger has assured Arsenal fans that his team won’t be complacent against Montpellier in in their Champions League encounter on Wednesday despite the fact that their French opponents are woefully out of form this season.

Rene Girard’s men have collected just one point from their four Champions League outings and currently sit in 14th position on the Ligue 1 table. They are not expected to pose any major threat to the Gunners at Emirates and that raises the possibility of complacency creeping in in Wenger’s squad. But the Frenchman says that will not be the case at all.

The Arsenal boss said: “Not for a second would I think the team will be complacent- they will be full of desire to do well and win the game, I am certain of that. It is important on the back of the Tottenham game we show another good performance and a resolute attitude, that is at stake for me. After, if we produce the quality performance, we will win the game.

“We do it step by step. First of all we want to qualify, then try to top the group, so let us just win the game. Montpellier had a slow start to the season, but they have rediscovered their balance over the last few months and they played very well against Paris St Germain. It should be an open game because a draw is not good for either side.”

 

Giroud Warns Against Taking Montpellier Lightly

Olivier Giroud has warned his Arsenal teammates to not take his former club Montpellier lightly in their Wednesday night’s Champions League match at Emirates, as he believes that the Ligue 1 champions are fully capable of springing a surprise.

The French club have no chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, meaning there won’t be any pressure on them and that worries Giroud a bit.

The Sun have quoted the Arsenal striker as saying: “It’s a must-win match for us because Arsenal have to go through to the next phase of the competition. Montpellier have nothing to lose now they are already eliminated but we have to be careful as that’s when some teams are most dangerous.

“They didn’t become champions of France with no talent. We must not take anything for granted when they come to the Emirates.”

 

Bendtner Unsure About Arsenal Future

Just a few days after revealing that he wouldn’t mind playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Nicklas Bendtner has admitted that he is not sure if there is still a future for him at Arsenal.

The Danish striker, who is currently on a season-long loan at Juventus, failed to establish himself at Emirates under coach Arsene Wenger and is experiencing similar struggles in Turin. It is unlikely that his stay with the Serie A leaders will be extended and therefore, he is already thinking about his future.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Bendtner said: “It’s difficult. I feel a lot of things for Arsenal, most good things. I left, not on bad terms but not on great terms. At the moment, my future is here at Juventus. Beyond that, it can lie at Arsenal or elsewhere. It’s not 100% decided. But my focus is on Juventus.”

As always, he then talked up his own quality and claimed that he is in the perfect shape to take his career to the next level.

He said: “Now I am where I want to be, at a Champions League club. It requires hard work and I know I need to get more games to achieve success. I’ve had to lose weight. That happens when you don’t train for a long time. But I am now perfect weight-wise. I am where I need to be to get regular games.”

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