Experience and tenacity engrossed in agelessness
Experience and tenacity engrossed in agelessness

Arsenal is riding the high waves of top form, disappointing so many football pundits that wish them doom, surprising those that had no belief in them and sending many teams to the cleaners in clinical fashion. The wins over Liverpool and Dortmund seem to have created an aura of seriousness that is now being attributed to the team.

This seemingly new form didn’t start now. It started with the win at Bayern in the Champions League where the gunners were knocked out despite defeating the Bavarians by two un-replied goals. Many players has played their part in keeping Arsenal abreast of top class football and die-hard gritty results including their impressive 15 game unbeaten away run in all competition.

The purchase of Mesut Ozil seemed like a ticket away from hell but that has been overshadowed by the renaissance of Aaron Ramsey. While the spot light is on one of Ozil or Ramsey, The Arsenal have been working as a team to grind out all these results. One man seems to not have gotten any spot light: Tomas Rosicky.

Rosicky joined Arsenal in May 2006 from Borussia Dortmund and has featured 193 times for Arsène Wenger’s side since then, scoring 22 goals. He has played 93 times for the Czech Republic. The Czech international has featured in 11 games this season, starting in 9 of them. In all of these 11 games you could see the passion he exhibits as he does his business on the pitch. The midfield maestro plays like a new signing that has a class above his other team mates. His burst of pace is extraordinary especially for a man of 33 years. It perplexing to know that at such age, he plays like he is 10 years younger with a lot of experience.

His sudden burst of speed and pace is second to none except maybe Theo Walcott but Rosicky’s ability to keep the ball to his feet and make direct passes would elevate him above the team. Without the likes of Walcott and Chamberlain, the Czech is the fastest player we have in the team. In all of the games he has featured, he alone slices through opposition with pace and is an expert on through balls. Unfortunately the men upfront have failed to read or utilize this through balls. His tackles are lovely to behold. He is one of the few players that can play anywhere in the midfield be it defensive, attacking or on the wings.

Our newest signing, Ozil had to single out Rosicky in an interview to the German newspaper Bild: Honestly, Arsenal makes everything fun. The coach, the players, living in London – I feel comfortable there. And the direct passing of Rosicky is there also. Rosicky is a legend in the training grounds, a mentor to the younger gunners and a hero unsung. Thomas Eisfeld and other Borussia Dortmund products see him as an icon.

Talking of Dortmund, Rosicky returned to Dortmund for the fisrt time since he left for Arsenal and put up a good performance. He feed Ozil the ball that resulted in the Ramsey goal. He made a lot of tackles and was at the helm of all Arsenal’s slick continuous passing. He was also exceptional against Liverpool and would wish his effort had resulted in a goal.

Tomas Rosicky was influential in the final weeks of Arsenal’s push for the Champions League – just as he had been in the 2011/12 season. The Czech schemer endured a frustrating first half of the season as an Achilles injury sustained at Euro 2012 laid him low until December – when he made a welcome return to action in the home defeat against Swansea City. He appeared irregularly over the next two months before starring in the season- defining 2-0 win at Bayern Munich, after which he was virtually a fixture in the starting 11.

There is no game that Rosicky plays that you don’t see that he wants to give it all. When he signed a new contract in March 2012, this was what Arsene Wenger had to say:

“I’ve always been a big admirer of Tomas’s abilities and am delighted he’s chosen to commit his future to the club. I believe he is an exceptional player, a natural footballer who is technically top class. He plays the style of football we champion here and shares completely our philosophy. He is always ready to work for the sake of the club, always willing to put the team first. I have huge respect for him.”

Cesc Fábregas, Rosicky’s best friend when they were both at Arsenal, was one of his biggest supporters. “I have spent a lot of time with him and I know how he feels,” Fábregas said when Rosicky was on the long road back to playing football. “I know what he wants and I have never seen a guy being so committed, so professional and never giving up. If this happened to me I probably wouldn’t want to talk to anyone, I would be always down and angry. But he’s unbelievable. He’s the type of player you enjoy playing alongside and as a guy he’s amazing. He has been through a lot. I told him to be strong and to keep believing in himself and that he could play football again

Even Robin Van Persie described him as football clever. “I just love playing with him because he’s so quick in his mind. That’s something you can’t pick up later in your career. You either have it or you don’t.”

Rosicky’s experience and technical excellence cannot be bought on e-bay and the younger gunners are tapping gluttonously from the Little Mozart. Only Bendtner have been at Arsenal longer except returnee Flamini and thus Rosicky knows the pain the gunners feel. He is yet to win a medal with the gunners and would be eternally grateful if the team wins trophies this season.

In recent times, Wenger said on the club’s website: “First of all I believe he is a real Arsenal man because he is here for a long time. He is really a football player who presents the way we want to play football, because he’s a team player who has pace, has a quick brain, understands the game well. I always like to have him in the team because of all these qualities”

There is no reason while Rosicky shouldn’t be seen as a Legend in Arsenal. His telepathy with the trio of Hleb, Fabregas and Flamini in 2008 still lingers. His end of season runs in 2012 and 2013 are prizeless. He was voted third best player of last season by the fans on arsenal.com behind Santi Cazorla and Laurnet Koscielny.

Rosicky winning the2006 Czech Footballer of the year, with his Miss Czech wife Radka Kocurova

His contract expires by the end of the season and it is high time the Emirates Lords give him another 2 years contract at least. He rejected a juicier move away in 2012 and wants to retire a gunner. Wenger should tie him down and make him to retire a Legend like Dennis Berkgamp. His heart is the red half of North London.

We only hope for the gods of injury that have plagued his career to overlook him and make him like the tree planted by the river side. He is playing the best football of his career.

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