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Mikel Arteta will not need telling what the crucial difference is between his side and the one that Thierry Henry elevated to such great heights in the 2000s. Still, it is sure to bring a smile to the occasionally taciturn face of the current Gunners manager when he reads that his team "look like the Arsenal" that Henry knows. But that is exactly what Henry said when he sat down with the House of Champions podcast on the behalf of Lay's to kick off the "No Lay's, No Game" campaign where he spent some time breaking down the Gunners' season.

To hear the full Henry interview make sure to follow the CBS Sports daily soccer podcast, House of Champions, covering everything you need to know about the beautiful game. Listen all the latest on the biggest games, stories, transfer news with Fabrizio Romano, and everything else going on in the world's most popular sport.

There can be few greater compliments than to bear the hallmarks of some of the greatest ever teams to take the field in north London. With Henry at the vanguard, Arsenal, double winners before he arrived in 1998, lifted two FA Cups and two Premier Leagues, setting history as the first team in over a century to go through an English league campaign undefeated. The Invincibles set the standard by which the other great sides of Premier League history are judged. Henry served as the benchmark for those coming into the Premier League from abroad, his club's record goalscorer and greatest ever player. 

Since that team broke up, Arsenal have been chasing another Premier League title, something they perhaps look as close to achieving this season as at any stage in the last 19 years. More so, however, a community destabilized by the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 have been searching for the deeper connection they had with Henry et al. The bond with their club seemed to be lost in transit from Avenell Road. But, in the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Aaron Ramsdale the ties, once again seem tighter than ever.

"First and foremost, in my time when I arrived at Arsenal people were always referring Arsenal to class, family and fight," Henry said. "If you wear that shirt, you're going to understand that. I think some players along the way lost track of that. It happens. It happened to me sometimes. Oh, you need you need a little reminder. So Tony Adams gave it to me. Martin Keown gave it to me. Lee Dixon gave it to me. But when you lose that core? Where do you find it?

Henry leaves that question hanging. He does not answer it himself but then he does not really need to. The core of this Arsenal team is obvious to anyone who has seen more than two or three games Mikel Arteta's side has played this season, not least because they will probably have seen a near unchanged side take the Premier League by storm.

At the heart of the renaissance are players who have been raised in north London, either through the club's London Colney academy or through getting their first shot at the European level. It is a far cry from the latter years of Arsene Wenger, the Unai Emery interregnum and indeed Arteta's early seasons, where Arsenal's wage bill was sizeable but their ambitions seemed more limited. Getting back into the Champions League was often enough for a season to be deemed successful, and even that became a battle Arsenal could not win over the last half decade. Transfer records were routinely broken between 2013 and 2019 but not always with all that much consideration for building a successful, hungry team.

Those qualities defined the Invincibles and double winners of Henry's time in north London. This particular iteration of Arsenal don't have the trophies to compare with their early 2000s but it augurs well for their chances if Henry can see the similarities between this side and his.

"You could see there was a little little disconnection with the fans," Henry adds. "All the fans wanted is to relate to the team, a team that can compete. They didn't boo the team on Thursday, [defeats] happen, fans can understand that. What fans don't understand is when they don't see a team that fights. They don't see themselves in a team that doesn't represent the community. Edu, the board, Mikel Arteta, whoever, however you want to call it, brought that back.

"Are we going to win the league? I don't know. But it looks like the Arsenal I know. At the end of the day, you can't fool fans, they scream, they're there and they have that attitude because they see something, that's why they're loud. It's a different emotion."

Certainly emotions have changed from April 2021, when thousands of Arsenal supporters protested outside a behind closed doors match at the Emirates Stadium, calling for owner Stan Kroenke to sell the club. Fans fumed at the Gunners' role in the aborted Super League and bemoaned a lack of ambition at a team that was on course for their second consecutive eighth placed finish. 

In dire times Henry offered to be a savior. With Spotify founder Daniel Ek stumping up £1.8 billion of cash, Henry and fellow Invincibles Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp offered Kroenke a way out. It was rejected in no uncertain terms.

Since then the revival has been dramatic. Director Josh Kroenke has become a more visible presence in north London and he and his father backed an expensive rebuild that has undoubtedly paid dividends. Meanwhile, the club has attempted to bridge the gap to supporters, incorporating an advisory board in 2021 and placing fans at the heart of processes such as the refresh of the fading artwork at Emirates Stadium. It would be an exaggeration to suggest that all has been forgiven now that Arsenal are competing for the Premier League title, but there is perhaps not the same appetite for change.

That is true of Henry too, who for the first time has offered his qualified backing to the Kroenkes. "At the time [Ek] wanted to offer a solution to the fans, who were all saying 'sell, sell, sell' but sell to who," he says. "We offered a solution, it wasn't meant to be. I'm an Arsenal fan, let's win. It doesn't matter. We were there to offer a solution, you want it, you don't want it, it doesn't matter. 

"Now everything is ok, why would anyone want to disturb anything [by changing owners]? It's all I wanted. Whether it was me in or me out I wanted Arsenal to be successful. That's the main point."

Whether that success includes a Premier League title this season remains to be seen but it appears inevitable that Arsenal will at least be back in the Champions League in 2023-24. Henry probably would not accept that suggestion -- "we're not there. I know people will tell me 'come on Thierry'. No, no, no. When and if we qualify, then we can talk about." -- but with 15 games left this season Arsenal hold a 13 point cushion over Newcastle in fifth. Their chances of finishing in the top four are greater than 99 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. It is going to take a hellacious set of events for Arteta's men to miss out on a first season at Europe's top table since 2016-17.

You'd think Henry would be anxious for this season to end at this point, waiting for the chance to see Arsenal back in the big time of the Champions League where he can cover them alongside Kate Abdo, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards on UEFA Champions League Today, which you can always catch before matchdays on Paramount+. He insists the opposite is true. "It's going to be annoying! Doing Arsenal games, oh man. Have you seen Jamie sometimes, he can't even speak. When Man City lost against Real Madrid, Micah was just looking at the ceiling. That will be me."

Henry, the Arsenal legend who became a true Gooner, had better get used to it. If he is right and this is a team comparable to his, then the stresses of the big nights are going to become a regular experience.

Watch the full interview with Henry from Wednesday on the House of Champions YouTube channel