Rewind back to the 25th of February 2012 and Tomas Rosicky was everybody’s favourite scapegoat. He hadn’t found the net in the Premier League that season yet and struggled to displace a jaded and tired Aaron Ramsey from the Arsenal engine room. With his contract due to expire in the summer, many fans would have been delighted to see him go. Fast forward to the second half of the fateful North London derby at Ashburton Grove 24 hours later. With the game locked at 2 – 2 – Bacary Sagna and RVP having brought us back into contention – Tomas Rosicky strode forward to give Arsenal the lead after simply wanting to get on the end of a Bacary Sagna cross way more than any Spurs player on the pitch. That one toe poke was like a switch being flicked on. In Arsene Wenger’s words: the handbrake was finally off. That goal was a catalyst to a storming end of season run for Arsenal and an especially good patch of form for Tomas Rosicky.
Looking at the Sunderland game, it was pretty evident that what we were lacking in midfield was that switch that Little Mozart seemed to provide ever so often during the fag-end of last season. Diaby is a talented player no doubt, but the stop-start nature of his career after that horrendous challenge from Dan Smith has resulted in him taking a bit of time to truly step into gear every time he returns from injury. He showed some good touches in the game but was often too ponderous to take advantage of a retreating Sunderland midfield, who were more than happy to allow us time and space on the ball as long as they were goal side. Diaby did test Mignolet with a fantastic shot but all in all lacked the chemistry with Arteta and Cazorla that was required to crack open a watertight Sunderland defence. When Ramsey came on, he always took one touch too many and couldn’t really get us going with any urgency.
If not for a cruel Achilles injury suffered at Euro 2012, Rosicky might have been starting the season alongside Arteta and Cazorla. We saw how often last season he could just lose his man with a simple flick to the left or the right. He possess a stinging shot and incisive passing ability. He’s tenacious and loves playing little one twos. To sum up, he plays in a way that would seamlessly fit in with the roles of Arteta and Cazorla. If Song were still here, I have no doubt we would have eventually broken through simply due to the high tempo that would flood through the team as a result of his quick movement of the ball. However, he isn’t here and we must make do with what we have. Tomas Rosicky would have been the perfect piece in the jigsaw leading to a win in our first game of the season. With Jack Wilshere’s injury problems, it’s going to be crucial for Tomas to make a quick comeback from injury and assuage our midfield tempo issues.
It’s been a quite striking transformation for the man they call ‘Little Mozart’ in the past 6 months. From the guy they wanted out, to Mr Indispensable? The Stoke game should tell us more, although with the imminent arrival of a certain Nuri Sahin, it appears Arsene is moving towards a system in which NOBODY is indispensable!
Keep the faith, Gooners!