I usually write posts with a historical feel, stories or matches and players gone by. Wide eyed tales from the vaults of the trophy cabinets and a time of greater innocence when players could drink all night and run all day, when wistful managers had Midas touches and a loose brick in the fireplace bunged full of used twenties.
However, on this occasion, the match against Spurs made me think about the current. More specifically our Number 7.
When Tomas Rosicky arrived at Arsenal amongst much fanfare in 2006 we were entitled to expect a lot.
He was captain of the Czech Republic at the forthcoming World Cup. He had been able to shine against us in the Champions League, he was, we were told by Arsène Wenger a replacement for a modern day Arsenal legend Robert Pires. He has since that day occupied Pires’ hallowed jersey and often for reasons obvious to most of us struggled to fill those 1:50pm boots.
Back then Tomas was a world class player in the making. Several injuries later, here we are, he is a squad man in a side that has often struggled for creative input.
The mention of Rosicky on the team sheet raises an eyebrow.
The mention of his fitness or any reliance on him in the pub pre-match is met with a wary grin. As if you were a Liberal Democrat suggesting a Tory increase in unemployment benefits.
Your friend may with some justification reply that you should know better. He wouldn’t have to be a sage.
If you spell-check his name on outlook it tries to call him colicky. It says it all doesn’t it?
If you put together all the time Arsène has spent giving us a Friday update on our little number 7’s injury progress then it would probably outlast a Pink Floyd album.
An album that Tomas may well enjoy given that he is a keen guitar player, one could argue that he has had plenty of time to practice in recent seasons.
He typifies Arsenal’s recent history, one of nearly moments.
All punch lines aside, I like Rosicky a lot and today of all days, is a day for fresh starts.
He is technically perfect, a one touch, two touch, pass master and a superb exponent of the outside of the boot.
His Arsenal goals have been collector’s items for the quality as much as the rarity. He has a rocket shot though we don’t see it enough.
The injuries and resulting lack of form have seen Rosicky retreat to his shell and that is a shame.
He was excellent against Blackburn and again against Spurs.
Rosicky stamps quality on the things he does. He never seems to lack effort.
Is he starting to get back his confidence? I hope so.
Against Spurs, Benayoun and Rosicky ganged up with Song and Arteta to stop the Spurs midfield. It was almost a narrow four like the 2007-2008 season. Flamini, Fabregas, Hleb and at the start a pre-injury Rosicky.
Theo still played somewhere between an right sided forward and a centre forward as if a formation didn’t apply to him but frankly they looked like free men and that is a good thing.
Rosicky’s touch and grace give him time even in a hectic match but he no longer has any pace to play out wide, as was evident in Milan.
He is like the great Pires, a player who does the right things at the right times.
The thing is that we have missed Wilshere, Fabregas and Nasri.
We have missed speed of thought, a little imagination, a little subtlety and in the short term. He really could help with that.
He could certainly help us out.
It’s just that when he turns on the ball and produces a moment of quality, you sometimes find yourself wondering what might have been.
If you are reading this Tomas, and it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that you might pick up on an Arsenal Fan site with an article about you, I would say two things;
1. I hope your back is ok.
2. Remember those two wonder strikes at Anfield in the FA Cup and see if you can roll back the clock at the weekend.
I still remember that goal in Hamburg.
Come in number 7, your time has come.
Written by Jamie