Sergio Kun Aguero without a shadow of doubt, is one of the best strikers on the planet. Aguero’s many exploits have in recent times led to some opining that Aguero is a greater/better player/striker than THIERRY HENRY!!!
This raised the blood pressure of a many an Arsenal fan, and got some (especially those who didn’t really start watching football week-in-week-out until the late2000s/early 2010s) nodding in agreement. Let’s explore this proposition (as objectively as we possibly can). In order to make this fair to Aguero, we will only consider what both players have done in the Premier League domestically, and discountenance everything else.
Thierry Henry (1999-2007) spent 8 full seasons in the English top flight, whilst Aguero (2011 -2020) has so far spent 9 years. Here’s how they match up for domestic silverware in that time:
- Aguero’s Man City – 4 Premier League Titles, 1 FA Cup, 4 EFL/Carabao/League Cup titles; 3 Community Shields
- Henry’s Arsenal – 2 Premier League Titles, 2 FA Cups, 2 Community Shields
Whilst Henry was a member of The Invincibles (‘07/08 Winning team) that went the whole season unbeaten, clearly, Aguero has won way more silverware in his time in England. Aguero was also a member of The Centurions (‘18/19 winning team) which finished the season with 100 points. Whilst League Cups and Community Shields don’t matter all that much, 4 EPL titles is no joke, and it shows just how powerful Man City have been in the last 10 years. Aguero, has been an integral part of that force, and has literally fired them to winning league titles. Henry and his Arsenal team on the other hand, would undoubtedly have won way more if they had City’s spending power, or didn’t have to deal with Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson (arguably the greatest club football dynasty in modern history) and Chelsea under Jose Mourinho.
That notwithstanding, Aguero takes this round.
Aguero – 1
Henry – 0
Aguero- 7 Player of the Month Awards, 2 Team of the Year appearances, 1 EPL Golden Boot
Henry – 4 Player of the Month Awards, 6 Team of the Year appearances, 4 EPL Golden Boots, 3 FWA Footballer of the Year Awards; 2 EPL Player of the Season Awards, 2 PFA Players’ Player of the Year
As far as it goes individually, there is absolutely no contest here. Thierry Henry bullied the Premier League and was constantly heads and shoulders above all else, such that he was constantly individually awarded by not just the Premier League and football journalists, but by his fellow players as well.
Aguero – 1
Henry – 1
Let’s see how Aguero and Henry’s relevant stats stack up.
106 minutes per goal
Goal ratio – 0.69
180 goals in 261 matches (26 penalties)
46 game winning goals
G+A – 226
122 minutes per goal
Goal ratio – 0.68
175 goals in 258 matches (23 penalties)
58 game winning goals
Goals + Assists (“G+A”) – 249
A look at the two set of stats should make one say “Potato Potato”. Holistically, there isn’t a tangible difference here. Whilst Henry is clearly a far better provider when it comes to assists, Aguero just barely edges him out in the total number of goals. Whilst Aguero’s goal ratio is better by 0.01, it should be noted that as Aguero is still an active player, this stat would disappear if he simply goes 3 matches without scoring a goal. Henry however clearly wins where its G+ A with 249 to Aguero’s 226. But even then we’ll just about chalk this one down as a draw.
Aguero – 2
Henry – 2
There’s a common quip – “numbers don’t lie”. However, there’s another quip – “stats are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital”.
When it’s a decision simply made by calculators, numbers and a piece of paper, there’s not much (if any) to choose between these two. Their outputs are absolutely outstanding, and sometimes there are shades of similarities between this and the Messi v Ronaldo debate. However, whilst you may differ as to whether you prioritise effectiveness over flair/magic, or vice versa, the difference between these two, whilst not being a chasm, is clear, and I’ll explain why below.
If we attempt to juxtapose the two men just based on their ability as footballers, Henry’s victory is a fait accompli.
If you talk about Goalscoring ability whilst Aguero is super dangerous in and just outside the box, Henry regularly scored golazos of all sorts: right foot, left foot, outer foot, 40yard free kick, half volley from 35 yards, backheel, 100 yard dribbles past 5 players and score etc, he had it all.
If its Physical attributes, whilst Aguero is very sturdy and hard to push off the ball, Henry was a 6ft 2in. physical beast, very strong on the ball and who was lightning quick (Jaime Carragher likened marking him to chasing a motorbike on foot).
If its Talent on the ball Henry’s skill, passing and set pieces far far superior to Aguero’s. A big strong striker, yet blessed with so much skill and technique. These attributes contribute to him also being superior when it comes to Team Play. Despite being a Centre Forward and having played in a league that over the years has had maestros like De Bruyne, Fabregas, Eriksen, Ozil, Mata, Beckham, Lampard, Giggs, Scholes, Zola, Gerrard, David Silva, Cantona, Bergkamp etc Henry (a Centre Forward) still boasts the record for the most assists (20) in a single Premier League season. Despite being a physical specimen, he was supremely technically gifted, spraying passes and supplying deft through balls that many midfielders only wish they could. Aguero’s limitations in this regard, especially in things like work rate, have seen him at different points in his career, benched by clearly less clinical strikers such as Gabriel Jesus or Gonzalo Higuain for Argentina.
Aguero – 2
Henry – 3
Whilst Aguero is a ruthless marksman who lives to score, Henry is a marksman, a talisman, a provider, AND an exceptionally technically gifted footballer. Whilst there’s hardly anything Aguero can do that Henry can’t, there’s a plethora of things that Aguero can only dream of being able to do like Henry.
Globally, Aguero has never ever (not even in his prime) been considered as being a top 5 footballer in the world. Compare that with Henry who was the 2nd best player in the world (per FIFA World Best Player Award) two years in a row, losing out to Ronaldinho and Zidane (not too shabby). It is even widely believed that Henry was “robbed” of the Balon d’Or in 2003 when he finished 2nd to Pavel Nedved. Despite playing in a team that never won the UCL, and only reached the final once, Henry finished in the UEFA Team of the Year 4 years in a row, and 5 years in total. All these Henry notched, not just because he was a prolific goalscorer, but because ability wise, he was an absolute magician on the football pitch. Aguero whilst being a killer scorer, is limited in many other areas of his game, (so much so that Pep Guardiola actually started benching him at the beginning of his reign). The fact of the matter is that if you had to pay $5000 for a ticket to a football match, and you could watch either Henry or Aguero in their prime, not even Aguero would choose Aguero.
There MAY be an argument (statistically) as to who the better goalscorer is/was, but who’s better striker/player? No chance…….its THIERRY HENRY by a country mile.
by: Emilio Estevez