Tomas Rosicky

Tomas Rosicky has been described as an ‘icing on the cake’ type player. He scores the goals that put games beyond reach as opposed to goals that win games. To a large extent, the description is accurate but to be fair the player has had moments of excellence throughout his career. Prior to his recent injury spell he’d been a big player for both Borussia Dortmund and the Czech Republic.

His signing in 2006 came out of the blue. And what timing! The news started making the rounds the same day he scored a thunderbolt vs. the U.S.A. in a group match at the FIFA World Cup tournament in Germany. I was ecstatic that we’d signed him. I felt that we’d secured a true play maker – one who would push and make Cesc even better as they both were central players.

Wenger had other ideas.

He deployed Rosicky on the left side of midfield. Cesc, Hleb, Flamini, and Rosicky formed a good understanding as Arsenal looked to be the team to beat in 2007-08 until the season fell apart. No need to go over the events because if you’re reading this you probably already know how the season finished in bitter disappointment.

A friend and a great man recently mentioned that Rosicky can make a big difference to our season. I chuckled. I chuckled not to disrespect him but because I have given up on anything Rosicky “can” provide. I have given up on any participation by the player who has done nothing to help our cause. Nobody plans injuries but for me, this man is like a new signing who will have to prove himself at a new club – if he stays healthy.

I have further reservations beyond the recent inability to contribute. I remind you of a match played away to Aston Villa in December, 2007. We won 2-1. We played without Cesc. Rosicky played a central role. I expected him to boss the match, to do what the #10 and Czech captain does. I expected him to take over. Instead, he struggled as Villa outplayed us in a second half that signaled that we might not have the play maker I thought we’d bought. I saw more defending from Rosicky that the expected domination of the middle of the park.

The next match was away to Newcastle. Cesc was still missing from action. Rosicky again demonstrated to me that he was not the boss we needed him to be. Was playing the central role for Arsenal more difficult than for the Czech Republic? Was the guy just not up to running our midfield? Was he carrying an injury?

I was frustrated watching a player from whom I expected so much more than he was giving. He had shown at Dortmund and for his national team that he was a remarkable player but why was he not dominant at Arsenal?

The mysterious injury Rosicky suffered is said to have been what caused him to be substituted (yet to return) on 26 January, 2008. Three setbacks and the loss of a season and a half later, Tomas Rosicky has been spotted training with the first team as we prepare for the upcoming season.

What should we expect? More icing on the cake type goals? A full and productive season from a rested and refreshed 29 year old with much to prove?

I expect nothing, but Tomas Rosicky might have turned into our most interesting if not most mysterious player.

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