Another year, and Arsenal land up in the top 4 . Thousands of commentaries, articles, expert opinions and blogs have come pouring in throughout the season, and on a plethora of subjects, whether that subject may be the transfer market, Wenger, the squad or the Board. Generally speaking, most dialogue in the Premiership is held on Squad Strengthening, the policy of Clubs and the transfer rumours that hijack sport news throughout the year. I am not trying to suggest that I do not see response and writing emerge with some degree of intelligence on the subject of football. Rather, I would like to share that it is important to revisit a few things that have either not been discussed or talked about as frequently this season or previous seasons and more so at Arsenal Football Club.
Tomas Rosicky is one such subject. Usually exempted from the attention of the media and sport glamour, Rosicky is an undoubted fan favourite. Having been at arsenal for 9 years, many fans and critics alike would agree on how much this club means to him and vice versa. A similar case can be made for Petr Cech at Chelsea, who despite having been put into the transfer market scanner and having enjoyed much more success at Chelsea than his compatriot at Arsenal, has also kept a low profile. Nevertheless, enough evidence exists to suggest that Rosicky belongs in the World Class bracket.
‘If you love Football you love Rosicky’ were Wenger’s exact words after the FA CUP game against Reading in which Rosicky not only captained his side, but showed exceptional qualities of composure, finishing and quick movement that perhaps very few people in the their mid-30’s are capable of achieving. If one was to assess Rosicky only through his stats, one would not think of him as a vital part of the squad. 19 goals in 170 PL appearances for a midfielder who plays so high up might not be good enough in a few people’s books. However, there are three things that make Rosicky the exceptional talent that he is , and I would like to argue that these are the following;
On the ball movement
Since his arrival in 2006, and during his time at Dortmund, Rosicky has always possessed an ability to move the ball forward when on the ball. He almost always seems a threat. For a team that has spent several seasons building up play in front of the 18 yard box, Rosicky offers a rate of change like no other. If one watches what he is capable of doing on the counter, one would notice that regardless of space available and regardless of how well an opponent tries to close Arsenal down, Rosicky always manages to move forward, and in a way that he is able to pass the ball to a player who is in that moment, available when the ball is in motion. While the likes of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere suit the bill, no one does this better without disrupting the pace of the counter more than Rosicky.
Rosicky is one of a kind, a ‘strange creature’ in the words of Tony Adams, the former Arsenal Skipper and Legend. The replay that showed his goal where he looks one way and passes another against Reading in the FA Cup is a testimony to this. There are possibly very few people who are capable of doing so. His ability to curl the ball effectively from his outer foot, especially on the ball, is exceptional. He does it repeatedly and ever so well.
His eye for the ball and ability to press hard, are again one of a kind, qualities that must exist in every young player. At 34, very few could have pressed forward, and scored a goal like the one that he did , capitalizing on a Danny Rose error and scoring the winning goal for Arsenal against Tottenham in the cup last year.
Rosicky, is Arsenal’s senior most player, by age and more or less even by seniority at the club. Only Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby from the current line up came into Arsenal before him. He is also the captain of the Czech Republic National Team. For a player of that stature, in a world where every player in that bracket desires individual success and silverware, Rosicky is remarkably humble, loyal and faithful. In the last 9 years, he has, like Wenger and like Walcott to a certain degree, stuck by a club whose project he has believed in. Not being named on the bench may have bothered him occasionally, but coming on as a substitute for a player much less experienced and perhaps not as talented does not bother him.
He is an ideal elder statesman for a club like Arsenal, and we as fans I am sure are thankful that we have in Rosicky, if not in the same capacity and spirit, our own loyal soldier. Having watched several world class players from his team such as Fabregas, Van Persie, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Alex Song depart, Rosicky has stayed on, older, stronger, and forever ready.
Tomas Rosicky has the respect of his team, his coach and his fans all over the world. Wenger, known for being quite water tight on offering senior players new contracts, has previously stated his desire that Rosicky retires at Arsenal. Rosicky, seems to grow with age, that goes without saying. While the Henry s and the Vierras and Bergkamps are considered legends today for reasons that they were part of an effort and an era where Arsenal constantly won, Rosicky deserves the same stature, even though he happens to be part of an era that has not enjoyed as much success, an era in transition, yet an era, where only few have left a mark.
On the day Rosicky plays his final game for the club, he would have left a mark far too difficult to replicate. The Little Mozart, will remain a gunner who did not win enough trophies in his career , but played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s development at a time where such contributions mattered most. Tomas Rosicky will always be a fan favourite, that is for sure.
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