Thierry Henry to debut against longtime rival Spurs

The newest Red Bulls knows his first opponent well

Thierry Henry

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Thursday will mark the highly anticipated debut of New York’s newest signing Thierry Henry against Tottenham Hotspur, an opponent that Henry knows all too well.  During his tenure in the Premier League with Arsenal, Henry faced the Spurs in one of the Premiership’s fiercest rivalries, the North London Derby.

Tottenham experienced Henry’s impact in one of the most memorable games in Arsenal-Tottenham history.  In April 2004, Arsenal won the Premier League title at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane with a 2-2 draw against Spurs and extending Arsenal’s unbeaten streak to 34 games.

Henry left his mark on four additional match-ups with the Spurs.  Scoring goals in the 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004 derbys, Henry’s effort in the 3-0 home win against Tottenham was voted as one of Arsenal’s greatest goals in club history.  Controlling a header from Arsenal’s defense, Henry took the ball up the field and through Tottenham’s back four to finish a fantastic solo effort.

As a member of “The Invincibles”, the Arsenal squad that went unbeaten in 49 straight Premier League matches from 2003-05, Henry was named English Player of the Year in 2004 therefore solidifying his status as one of the best in the world and a fan favorite of his own team’s fans as well as his opponents’ fans.

Whether it is finding the back of the net, finishing a penalty kick, or setting up one of his teammates, Henry knows how to create scoring opportunities and looks to bring that expertise to the field for the Red Bulls.

Henry is no stranger to performing in a brand new state-of-the-art soccer stadium either.  His final year with Arsenal, the 2006-07 season, saw the opening of Emirates Stadium in London.  During the season Henry appeared in 24 games, scoring on 12 occasions, and adding 7 assists.  With Red Bull Arena offering an atmosphere akin to some of the best stadiums of its kind in Europe, Henry should feel right at home in Harrison, NJ.

Thursday’s game against Tottenham will bring Henry back to his Premier League days.  With the Red Bulls’ success against European clubs this season at Red Bull Arena, it promises to be a competitive welcome for the international star.

Stacey Craighead is a contributor to NewYorkRedBulls.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.