SASoccermag.co.za looks back at the legends of the Premier League, and today features Thierry Henry and his exploits in the 2001-2002 season.
Arsenal suffered only three defeats this season, with Thierry Henry’s 24 goals propelling them to the league title.
Surprisingly, the setbacks for the Gunners came at Charlton (4-2), Newcastle (3-1) and Leeds (2-1), but the Frenchman’s prolific form saw the Gunners win the title by seven points, totalling 87. Liverpool were runners-up with 80, followed by the three Uniteds – Manchester (77), Newcastle (71) and Leeds (66).
At the wrong end of the table, all of Ipswich Town, Derby County and Leicester City fell through the trapdoor into the lower division. Arsenal also won the FA Cup during the season, beating Chelsea in the final.
Henry won the Golden Boot by just one goal, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer all scoring 23 goals to keep their clubs in contention. He had worked with Arsene Wenger at Monaco and the manager convinced the board to part with £11-million to get the young 22-year-old sensation. The price was a bargain because Henry already had a World Cup winner’s medal from 1998 in the cupboard. It was a brilliant piece of business by the canny Frenchman.
This was Henry’s third season at Arsenal and he improved on the mark of 17 goals from the previous year. In total he banged home 32 goals in all competitions.
However, Henry, one of the finest strikers to be found at that time, suffered heartache at the 2002 Fifa World Cup. He was made captain of the defending champions, France, but failed to score. In fact, France failed to score. They lost 1-0 to Senegal, drew 0-0 with Uruguay and went down 2-0 to Denmark to be knocked out in the pool stages.
Henry went on to become a legend at Arsenal, scoring 174 goals in 254 appearances between 1999 and 2007. He was the Premier League’s top scorer in four seasons (2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06). He later left to join Barcelona and finished the serious part of his career at the New York Red Bulls.
Arsenal did have another say, though, as they recruited the Frenchman on loan in 2012 and he scored once from his four appearances.
Henry now serves as a pundit on Sky Sports.
Thierry Henry: Top 10 Premier League goals
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Premier League legend: Alan Shearer
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Premier League legend: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink