Arsenal Focus – Unlucky Rosicky still has plenty to offer

Arsenal kept up their challenge for a top four Premier League place on Saturday afternoon with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion. The man to thank for the three points, apart from the Baggies striker Romelu Lukaku, who missed a sitter in the dying moments, was a man often overlooked in the Gunners’ squad – Tomas Rosicky.

Rosicky’s Arsenal career has been somewhat blighted by injury after injury – in a manner not dissimilar, although less pronounced, than that of fellow Gunner Abou Diaby.

This season has been particularly difficult for Rosicky, with the Czech Republic international having made only six starts for Arsene Wenger’s side in all competitions. Indeed, he has been sorely missed in Arsenal’s midfield, where he acts as a counter weight to balance out the qualities of attacking and defensive minded players.

But it was not in this deep-lying playmaker role that Rosicky thrived yesterday. The presence of Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey in midfield allowed the 32-year-old the freedom to get forward, which he did with great assurance, getting himself on the score sheet twice.

The virtuoso performance was a glimpse of what might have been from Rosicky. Having signed for the club back in 2006, Rosicky was set to become one of Europe’s leading playmakers having already set the world alight at Borussia Dortmund.

Indeed, modern day Dortmund hero Marco Reus was a fan of Rosicky in his Bundesliga days. Last week, he spoke of the footballing intelligence that Rosicky displayed in his five years at Westfalenstadion.

German international Reus told the Guardian: “He used to be phenomenal. He had such a good eye for an opening and knew where his team-mates were, and he was so quick… He was so unlucky he had bad injuries at Arsenal because, otherwise, he would be one of the world’s best players.

That lack of luck has plagued Rosicky in his time in England, limiting the influence he could wield on a hit and miss Gunners outfit. With a Rosicky who had fully recognised his potential, Arsenal’s recent record across all competitions could look very different.

But the past is the past, and the Czech playmaker can do nothing about what has already occurred. About to enter the twilight of his mixed career, Rosicky can only live in the present – and he still has plenty to offer there, as he demonstrated at the weekend.

There has been a suggestion that Rosicky could leave in the summer in search of a fresh challenge before he hangs up his boots, but Wenger has made it clear that he wants to keep him around the squad for the foreseeable future.

Without a trophy since the 2001/02 Bundesliga title with Dortmund, Rosicky may wait to see how the season ends for Arsenal first.

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