Sky Sports football pundit and Arsenal living legend Thierry Henry has had a look at what not only Arsenal, but the other top teams have done to prepare themselves to battle Chelsea next season, and is of the belief that it will not be so easy for Jose Mourinho’s boys this time around.
“Other teams are going to adapt to what Chelsea are doing. And you saw it at the end of last season when they were struggling to win games. They were winning them, but they were struggling to do so, and they were not winning them in the same way that they were at the beginning of the season.
“But I think that the Tottenham game changed everything for Chelsea after that. Suddenly they became a tiny bit more defensive, as Jose Mourinho does not normally concede five goals, but they were still the best team in the league by a distance.
“No one was saying they were not going to win the league. They scored goals, they were right behind City, they had the best defence. What else can you say?
“But you have to be careful next year as people are going to adapt to what they did. But I am not worried for Mourinho and Chelsea because I know they are going to do everything in their power to make sure they can have a better squad and compete even more, and longer in the Champions League too.”
“I think sometimes football has gone mad. Back in the day, if you had won the double [the league and Capital One Cup in 2014], it is like you guys say here, ‘Happy Days!’ That should have secured you 20 years at the club. And I am not having a go here, but especially City. When would they have thought that they were going to do a double?
“I really thought at one point that they were not going to keep Manuel Pellegrini. I do not think that was right, but it looked like he was going to go. I do not think it was the right thing to do, as where was all the reward for him winning the double? Can he have another year to try and make things right? And I think it is a good thing, as sometimes what brings you to a certain level is stability, and you need to have that in the game.
“I used to score 20 plus, then we lost some key players in the squad, and although I was scoring 25 goals, we were not winning the league. Kun Aguero scored 26 or 27, they did not win the league. The title that they won before, when Aguero was not scoring, Edin Dzeko was scoring, Carlos Tevez was scoring, so it was a kind of rotation. They could play sometimes Tevez and Aguero, Tevez and Dzeko or Dzeko and Aguero. What makes you win the league is the variety of strikers that you can have.”
“That team, I think, has great mentality, top-quality players and match-winners. I still think they need four players to get closer to Chelsea. I compare it to my generation – I knew, for example, when I first arrived at Arsenal that if I was not performing after an hour, Dennis Bergkamp was on the bench sometimes or Kanu or Sylvain Wiltord or Davor Suker. Whoever it was, I knew I had an hour to perform.
“Olivier Giroud alone there as a natural-born striker, it is difficult, because they say when he does not score, it is very difficult. Hopefully Theo Walcott could be the answer. You have a guy who you did not think was going to play as a striker, although he has been the talk of the town for a little while, him playing as a striker.
“You know some people still question Arsene Wenger, but I still think that Arsene has the right attitude and fire; the fire in his belly to try to make sure that team can win another title.”
“It was a transition year from a transition year with David Moyes, but now they are going to want the title again. This is United, they are not going to accept finishing second or third, or fourth, and everybody knows that. That is the way the club is.
“Having said that, it is going to be another year of people getting used to what Louis van Gaal wants. It took a little while for the players to understand what he wants, his tactics, and it worked. And then they had a little problem again at the end of the season, in all fairness.
“Van Gaal is an amazing tactician. I am sure he is going to come up with something we have not seen before, and surprise teams.
“Is Angel Di Maria going to stay? Is he going to have the type of impact people were expecting him to have? We never thought, let’s be honest, that Ashley Young was going to have the type of season he had. No one thought Marouane Fellaini was going to have the sort of season he had. It looks like Chris Smalling is becoming the type of defender they were looking for.
“I expect United to be close next year to the title, very close to it.”
“Losing Stevie G is going to be very difficult. That guy in the dressing room, professional, it is not only what he brings on the field, it is also what he brings around the dressing room, the atmosphere, keeping those guys’ heads up all the season. It is not easy.
“People were questioning Brendan Rodgers at the end of the season, because of the way they ended the season, so next season is going to be very big for Liverpool. It is Liverpool Football Club at the end of the day. It is a massive club.
“But if I had said to you that Liverpool would not have won the league in the past 25 or 26 years, you would have said I was crazy. And this type of stuff happens so quickly that you sometimes do not notice it. And Liverpool Football Club is a great, great club with an amazing history, and you just do not like to see them there.
“So hopefully they can have a great season, because it is going to be a massive, massive season for them next season.”