Henry grabs winner as Arsenal beats Sunderland 2-1
Updated: February 11, 2012, 14:09
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SUNDERLAND, England(AP) Substitute Thierry Henry grabbed a last-gasp winner in his final English Premier League match on loan for Arsenal, clinching a 2-1 victory at Sunderland on Saturday.
Arsenal moved above Chelsea into fourth place in the standings thanks to Henry volleying home a cross from Andrei Arshavin in the first minute of stoppage time to complete a comeback at the Stadium of Light.
It was Henry's third goal since rejoining Arsenal on a short-term loan deal from the New York Red Bulls, where he will return after Wednesday's match against AC Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League.
"He finished the story of the legend today in the championship. I hope he will add some in the Champions League on Wednesday,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.
"But certainly, he got us the three points in a very difficult game.''
Henry's club-record 229th goal boosted Arsenal's chances of securing Champions League football for another season on a day Chelsea surrendered fourth place by losing 2-0 at Everton.
The London clubs are level on points and have the same goal difference, but Arsenal has scored more goals.
"It shows you that they never lose it, these players - exceptional talent survives,'' Wenger said of Henry, who also scored in the 7-1 win over Blackburn last weekend.
"You have that at the moment with (Ryan) Giggs at Manchester United and (Paul) Scholes, and Thierry Henry here. It's just a luxury to have a player like him on the bench.''
In-form Irish winger James McClean gave Sunderland the lead in the 70th, taking advantage of a slip by Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker to run in on goal and shoot past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Mertesacker was forced off having caught his studs in the turf, and is likely to miss the Milan match, but his replacement scored the equalizer in the 75th.
Arsenal captain Aaron Ramsey announced his arrival by smashing a fierce shot in off the post, setting up a frantic last 15 minutes.
Henry did the rest, inflicting a first home defeat on Sunderland since Martin O'Neill took over as manager at the start of December.
"It was obviously disappointing to lose the goal, but I have no complaints about the team whatsoever,'' said O'Neill, who was full of praise for Henry.
"He's been a terrific player in his time here - and he hasn't done too badly second time around as well. But he shouldn't really be able to score from a couple of yards out when it is kind of lobbed into our penalty area.''
The teams meet again at the Stadium of Light in the fifth round of the FA Cup next weekend.