By Rob Kelly
Wojciech Szczesny has hailed Thierry Henry’s “priceless” influence during his return to the Club - and believes his late strike at Sunderland helped turn Arsenal’s season around.
The Gunners’ all-time top scorer proved a huge success after signing on loan in January, memorably scoring the winner against Leeds in the FA Cup third round in his first game back.
But Szczesny insists it was his last-gasp strike at the Stadium of Light in February that had a greater impact on the campaign.
“If you’re talking about turning points you have to give credit to one man, and I mean Thierry,” he told the Official Arsenal magazine. “When he came here, wow, it was something different.
“It was priceless to have someone around who’s been here, done it and was the best player in the world at one point.
“When he scored the winner against Leeds, the buzz around the stadium was the biggest I’ve ever felt – and I think it had a big impact on the players too. Going into the dressing room afterwards and seeing everyone so happy for Thierry was a really big moment.
“Then he scored the winner at Sunderland in his final game for us. That was the one that turned the season around in my opinion, coming back from 1-0 down and Thierry scoring at the end. Things like that give you confidence and simply put you in a better mood.”
Arsenal went on to win their next five Premier League games, and Szczesny believes it all stemmed from that victory at Sunderland.
“It’s not something you think about but subconsciously you feel better, you want to work hard, you can’t wait for the next game to come,” he said. “If you’re in that kind of mindset, thinking ‘When’s the next game? I want to play now!’ then when the time comes you‘re in the right frame of mind to win it.
“We went on a great run and from being behind Tottenham we went in front of them. I can’t say it made our season successful, because I don’t count it as a success without winning a trophy, but it definitely saved it a little bit.”
Read the full interview with Wojciech in the latest edition of the Official Arsenal Magazine. Click here to subscribe or call 0845 301 7626Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 May 2012