After the recent international break, I think it's time to now get our season started.

There could be a couple of new faces in the Arsenal side today, and we know that one of our new players should have no trouble settling in here.

William Gallas has been playing in the Premiership for a while and living in London too. So I don't think he will have any problems, although it may take him a while to get used to wearing a red shirt!

I know all about him of course, not only from our time together with France but also from playing against him when he was at Chelsea. John Terry tends to get a lot of the attention, and of course he is a great player, but I think the two of them made a great partnership. For me William Gallas is one of the best centre-backs in the world. He's quick, great in the air, never gives up, and can play in any position in the defence.

Julio Baptista too has all the qualities to be a success in the English league. He has Gilberto here to help him settle, and I just hope he can be a great success for this football club.

He is nicknamed the Beast, so I guess that tells you a lot about his strength. A lot of foreign players are surprised when they come into the English game because they are not used to the physical battle, but Baptista already has that in his locker. Plus he can score goals and give them too.

As for our other signing, Denilson, I have to say I don't know much about him yet. I know he plays for his country at his age group, and is the captain, so that is a sign that he is a good player. Hopefully he can make the same sort of impact that Silvinho made. Nobody really knew about him before he came here, but he turned out to be a really good player.

Myself and the rest of the players were in the same position as all of the fans on transfer deadline day, waiting for news to come through.

Losing Ashley wasn't easy. I know some fans will be upset with him, but from me personally I want to wish him good luck, and I hope that the fans won't forget what he did for this Club, no matter what else happens. Sometimes you have to be above all that, remember the good times he gave this Club.

Pascal Cygan going was also a bit of a surprise - the first I knew about it was when I read it on the internet. I was away with France at the time, and it wasn't easy to read, but that's the way football is.

And finally Jose. He was a great player for us and sometimes I think you have to respect the fact that not everyone can adapt to the lifestyle. We will miss him though, for sure.

There is a lot to get used to when you move to a new club, and a new town, but some people forget about that. All they want to know is whether they are playing well or not, rather than why.

Middlesbrough too, have some new faces, and they have already shown over the last season or so that they have the players to achieve great results. They haven't started the season as well as they would have wanted, but neither have we, as I say, it's time for us to get our season started.

It always seems to be a strange game when we play Middlesbrough. I didn't play in the game that we lost at their place last season but it reminded me in a way of our recent game against Manchester City. We had a lot of opportunities, but paid for our mistakes.

The people who accused Arsenal of over-playing against City make me laugh, because they are the same people who say Arsenal are amazing when we win those kinds of games. When we don't put the ball away, they say we are over-playing, when we do, they say we are the best team in the world.

I get more worried about defeats like Bolton and Blackburn away last season, when we just didn't turn up. But the Manchester City game, when you play like that all the time, you won't lose many times. We weren't outplayed, we weren't scared, we weren't outmuscled, the only thing missing was that the ball wouldn't go in. Don't get me wrong, we are the first ones to blame because we didn't score, but if we carry on creating that many chances in games, we will not lose too many. Sometimes you win games you don't deserve to, but you also lose games you don't deserve to as well.

If we are honest though, we could have won the game in 20 minutes.

I was pleased to get on the scoresheet for France on Wednesday, because after the City game people were saying that I haven't scored yet, but they were forgetting it was only my third game of the season - I didn't have the benefit of a pre-season this year.

As much as I want to be prolific for my team, sometimes it's difficult. You saw it at Man City, even when I was on my own I was fighting with the ball more than anything else. To put the ball in the net usually I don't do that. I usually control and finish straight away, even if I miss. But there I was looking for something, fighting with the ball and that's usually a sign of you not being ready, it's what happens in pre-season friendlies.

Like I said, I needed some games but thankfully now I feel way better. At the start of the season I said that I would need about a month, and I can assure you now that the legs are back and I'm getting better and better.

Enjoy the game today.

Thierry Henry


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9 Sep 2006