The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The rival faces in striking zone

London: Arsenalís Thierry Henry and James Beattie of Southampton could not be more different in their approach to the strikerís art but when it comes to the bottom line ó putting the ball in the net ó they are united by their prowess.

The two 25-year-old players, who have scored more than 50 goals between them this season, go head-to-head in Saturdayís FA Cup final when their remarkable contrast in styles will be on show to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world.

Henry is the undoubted class act of the two.

Despite his almost balletic style, the Frenchman covers the ground at a fizzing pace. He has sublime touch and a rare calmness in front of goal. He caresses the ball over, under and around goalkeepers with pinpoint accuracy and has a amassed a bulging portfolio of memorable goals ó including three in the shortlist of 10 for this yearís Goal of the Season.

Beattie lacks any great speed and in comparison with Henry appears clumsy and uncoordinated. Some of his goals have been net-busting shots but few of his 24 this season will live long in the memory beyond the English south coast.

But if the ball is in the air just about anywhere inside the penalty area there is a very strong chance that the spring-heeled striker will get to it first and that it will fly from his head into the back of the net.

Beattie also possesses the priceless strikerís knack of being in the right place at the right time and has the sort of determined, physical approach that can unsettle even the best defenders.

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