By Wayne Veysey at Emirates Stadium
Arsene Wenger revealed that it is possible for Arsenal to extend Thierry Henry’s loan spell to eight weeks after the club record scorer’s fairytale comeback on Monday night.
Wenger described Henry’s return, in which he came off the bench to score an exquisite goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Leeds United, as “like a dream”.
Asked about the possibility of extending Henry’s loan from MLS club New York Red Bulls, Wenger said: “He has six-and-a-half weeks and we have not envisaged more. We can go to eight weeks but not longer.”
This opens up the possibility that Henry could be available for the north London derby against Tottenham on February 26, a match that he was previously not expected to be available for.
Wenger explained that Robin van Persie, who was rested on Monday night, will return for the league match against Swansea on Sunday but has not ruled out the possibility of the two forwards playing together.
He said: “Robin will be back against Swansea. Will Thierry start or not? I don’t know. I haven’t decided that.
“He can play behind or in front of Robin or on the flank. Robin can play on the flank. I don’t know what I will do.”
Nevertheless, Wenger was thrilled with Henry’s match-winning contribution in his first Arsenal match for five years.
“He was already a legend and tonight he added a little bit more,” the manager said. “In training he was sharp and ready to play. I would not put him on the pitch if he wasn't ready. That would be unfair.
“He had some pressure, he's a proud guy, he didn't want to disappoint people... it was a kind of comeback. He knew he would be compared to what he has done before. That’s what champions are about. They say they have no pressure but they want to be seen to do well.
“He has seen it all, he has done it all, we knew if we could find him he would be dangerous. It was like a dream when he scored. It was a story you would tell a young kid when you want to tell them a story about football. It’s not often like that in our game.
“Straight away with his runs he made them defend a bit deeper. He has a presence, his movement gave them a problem. When he got in that position I thought the angle was too narrow but the finish was special.”
Wenger also revealed that Francis Coquelin is set to be out for a “few weeks” with the hamstring injury he sustained in the first half.