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a�?And this is what Arsenal fans can look forward to next seasona�?, exclaimed the commentator as a 25-year old Tomas Rosicky hammered in a delightfully swerving strike from long range against the USA at Germany a��06.

Rosicky was one of the better performers at the tournament, and almost immediately convinced Arsenal fans that Wenger had found an adequate replacement for the just-departed Robert Pires. a�?The Little Mozarta�? even took Piresa�� No.7 shirt, but his Arsenal career has been a classic case of a�?what if?a��, littered with bad luck and disappointments, and has been, pretty much, in limbo for the last three years.

Not that ita��s been all bad. His first 18 months as an Arsenal player were decent enough. He announced himself in the Red and White in typical fashion – a screamer against Hamburg in the Champions League group stage – and scored a few more crucial goals that season, including a brace at Anfield and a last-gasp winner at home against Wigan. However, the memory of his full-blooded celebration to that goal, which included some spontaneous badge-kissing, is now fading.

.

.

He was a crucial part of Wengera��s midfield in 2007-08 as well, when the Gunners were atop the Premier League for more than half the season. But an innocuous knock sustained in January turned out to be the mother of all hamstring injuries, keeping him a�?hamstrunga�� for the remainder of that season as well as the entire 2008-09 campaign.

Since returning, hea��s played the role of a senior figure within the squad, but has only been at the periphery of the first team, at best. Also, his goals have almost completely dried up, with only one goal scored in the entirety of last season – a header against Leyton Orient. Much like Eduardo, Rosicky is clearly not the player he was before his injury, and at the age of 31, never will be.

Although ita��s evident that Rosicky hasna��t been able to fulfil his potential at Arsenal, this season could well be his most important at the club. In fact, it might be the season where hea��s more important to the club, than in any other season.

When Wenger deployed a 4-4-2 formation till a few years back, the Czech captain played on the left wing, but the Frenchman has used him more centrally since the shift to 4-3-3. He often played in the a�?Fabregas rolea�? when the Spaniard was injured last season, although never with the same effectiveness, which in turn led to quite a bit of criticism.

What is now clearly apparent, is that the a�?Fabregas rolea�� cannot be played by anyone, but of course, Cesc Fabregas himself. Wenger has realized that, which is why the creative burden seems to have been distributed a tad more equally among the middle three this season, with all of Arteta/Ramsey/Rosicky and even Song looking to help out in attacks at various points in a game.

While Ramsey has got a good shot, and makes good runs into the box at times, his passing range and touch on the ball still need a lot of work. Plus, Wenger could do better than overplay him ala Wilshere. Arteta is definitely not Cesca��s replacement, as hea��s being deployed as a deep-lying playmaker. While hea��s been adept at keeping possession, we havena��t seen many through balls, or sublime passes forward which give impetus to an attack.

Rosicky on the other hand, despite his age and injury problems, possesses a slightly finer technique, and a beautiful touch on the ball. As has been seen in some games already this season, Rosicky has been the midfielder looking to drive forward with any sort of verve or pace. A classic example of his vision and touch was against Sunderland in the opening minute itself, as he spotted Gervinho in space and released him with a neat dinked pass with a single touch. Ita��s the kind of pass wea��re not seeing enough from Arsenal sans Fabregas, and it led to Arsenal taking the lead in 29 seconds. Ita��s these a�?riskya�� passes that set Rosicky apart at the moment. They might not come off at all times, but theya��ve got to be attempted by someone.

As for the goals, ita��s surprising how someone who used to score goals from outside the box for fun, Rosicky is now goal-shy even inside the box. More than anything else, ita��s probably a matter of confidence. He hasna��t been a first team regular for over three years, and scored just once all season last time around. Perhaps a more regular role in the first team, and just one scrappy, lucky goal could get that confidence back, and we might see one of those scorching strikes again. Arsenal dona��t have many players who can shoot well from distance consistently (They didna��t score a single goal from outside the box at the Emirates last season), and if he plays regularly and stays fit, Rosicky could provide that option.

Emirates is desperate for Rosicky to deliver..

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From a fan and journalista��s point of view, the Czech is also an amiable character, one who keeps a low profile off the pitch, and is fair and sincere on it. Hea��s also been at Arsenal long enough to know the club inside out, and help all the new signings and younger guys appreciate the opportunity theya��re being given at the club, something many Arsenal youngsters over the past five years have been accused of not doing.

Ita��s going to be a long, hard season for what has always been known as a�?the biggest club in the biggest city in Europea��, and a lot of hard work will be required to compensate for the loss of quality in the summer. While Tomas Rosicky is neither the most hard-working, nor the most skilful player in the Arsenal squad, he provides an interesting mix of the two which could well be crucial at different stages of Arsenala��s season.

All logic and rationality aside, you just get the feeling that he needs to find a�?his momenta�� at Arsenal. He could have found it last season when he stepped up to take the penalty at Sunderland which would give 10-man Arsenal a 2-1 lead and plenty of belief, but unfortunately, he fluffed it.

This season might see him find that elusive moment, that memory which sticks in the minds of Arsenal fans, something they would always associate him with. Who knows, we might just see an encore of 2006. And in a strange way, ita��ll be worth the wait.

A�——

Written by Atishay Agarwal

Atishay is Editor and co-founder of ‘90 Minutes’; Indiaa��s very own football magazine.
He has also previously served as a chief editor of Goal.com India.A�

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10 Responses to “Arsenal’s Corner: Tomas Rosicky – More Important Than Ever For Arsene Wenger?”

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  1. Greg says:

    Nice one, I for one am just waiting to welcome back the Rosicky of old. He’s starting to show signs of self-belief again, and even if I were a neutral I’d be hoping he gets back to his best, because he can be such a joy to watch. He seems like he takes a huge amount of simple pleasure in playing well – which made it harder to watch him suffer and struggle.

    Top lad.

  2. Rohit says:

    Great article. I think all gooners realize this even more this season. Without fab n nasri, he’s our best ball playing midfielder. Rambo is raw overall, and arteta seems to be comfortable playing deeper. if tomas ups his game consistently, he could be the key.

  3. Ramos4lyf says:

    Nice post, i luv it. Up gunners!!!

  4. Rahul says:

    Nice Article……. Keep it up…..

  5. Neel says:

    Very well said. Mr.Agarwal I admire your magazine. Keep up the good work.

  6. Nick says:

    Great article, Rosicky is showing much more quality than Ramsey at the moment. Hopefully Wenger acknowledges this by giving him a decent run in the starting 11. He does make a lot of passes that end up turning over possession but, he is the creative midfielder and risks must be taken. I see him as very important to the club this year, not only with his forward minded play but as a developer of the young players Wenger has brought in.

  7. krish says:

    Brilliant article, and as much as I want him to be played regularly, I think Arsene Wenger would persist with Ramsey even though he has been very average .

  8. Tom says:

    Absolutely spot on. Rosicky could be the key and his ability to find incisive through balls (even if it means taking risks and missing some), is something Arsenal desperately need. Added to that and aside from his experience, if he finds his shooting boots again, he’ll be a huge boost to the squad.

  9. Abhi says:

    ya, Rosicky should be given a decent amount of first team appearances to prove a lethal player for Arsenal.

  10. Aditya Sharma says:

    Nice Article!
    This is definitely Rosicky’s last season to shine (if he can) and, as someone who’s admired him since the Rosicky-Flamini-Hleb-Fabregas era, I really hope it works out for him
    I think he’ll never perform if Wenger keeps using him as a 60th minute substitute, as he’s done in a few games this season. He’ll need atleast a few starts to settle and start controlling the game like we;ve seen him do in his earlier years