Henry: Wenger changed the philosophy of Arsenal

The ex-France striker hailed his former boss and said he is praying that the north Londoners are crowned champions of England this year
Thierry Henry says he hopes Arsenal win the Premier League title this season and claims Gunners boss Arsene Wenger changed the philosophy of the north London club.

The former France international scored 226 goals in 369 appearances for Arsenal between 1999 and 2007, before returning for a two-month loan spell in 2012 from his current club, New York Red Bulls.

Henry won seven trophies in his time in north London, but the Gunners have failed to win any silverware since 2005.

However, Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League table after 21 games and Henry believes this could be the year for his former side.

"I still watch Arsenal a lot," he said at an event in Barcelona. "They have had a great start to the season and I hope they can keep it up. I would be really happy if they won the Premier League."

Henry also paid tribute to former boss Wenger, who signed him from Juventus in 1999.

"He changed the philosophy of the club," the 36-year-old said. "He won stuff as soon as he arrived and therefore he earned the trust of the fans and the respect of everyone."

The striker left Arsenal in 2007 to join Barcelona, where he was part of the treble-winning side of 2008-09 under Pep Guardiola.

However, he believes the Catalan club are also on the right track this season with Argentine boss Gerardo Martino.

"How many points do they have?" he said. "I don't think 50 points is bad at halfway [in La Liga]. They changed coach in the summer, but when I watch them I see them doing well - they are still a great team."

Henry's New York Red Bulls have been linked with a move for his former Barca team-mate, Xavi, at the end of the season but he insists that he has not been in touch with the midfielder.

"I haven't spoken to him," Henry said. "But Xavi is such a great player and he can play anywhere. He can play in MLS, in France, in England, anywhere ...

"Xavi can do whatever he wants but, for me, given everything he has done for football and Barcelona, he should stay there and spend the rest of his life at Barca.

"I think he's an incredible player. People just don't realise what Xavi has done on the pitch.

"Xavi plays football the way I believe football should be played, just like [Andres] Iniesta and Cesc [Fabregas].

"The way Barcelona play is the way I think the game should be played."

Henry also admitted that he thought that Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery would win the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

The France winger was shortlisted for the prestigious individual award after playing a key role in his club winning five trophies last year, including the Champions League.

However, the gong ultimately went to Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo, with Ribery forced to settle for third place behind Lionel Messi, much to the disappointment of Henry.

"In France, everyone wanted Ribery to win it," the former Bleus forward told reporters on Friday. "I thought he was going to win it because he played very well last year and won almost everything.

"I have to admit that he was my preferred choice. I wanted him to win it as much as I wanted [Lionel] Messi to win it four years ago."

Thierry Henry was speaking at PUMA's 2014 Nature of Believing event in Barcelona which featured the launch of the new evoPOWER football boot.

PUMA Power players Cesc Fàbregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli put their football skills to the test on the evoPOWER wall, the custom built football simulator that utilises Hawk Eye technology to measure players’ power and accuracy.

evoPOWER was inspired by the freedom of movement of a bare foot and the players showcased their skills and the boots' performance enhancing technology through four interactive challenges.

For more information: www.puma.com/footballclub/global/en-india/bootlab/evopower