Tomas Rosicky has certainly taken his opportunities with both hands recently. First his brilliant goal against QPR sealed the 2-1 win on Boxing Day, then he followed that stellar outing by pulling the strings against Hull City and Stoke City. Wenger seems determined to manage the 34-year-old’s fitness considering his injury-prone nature but we saw him return in full force against Brighton on Sunday.
Prior to the festive season, the Czech veteran had featured in just five Arsenal fixtures one of which was the Capital One Cup exit to Southampton. But a series of midfield injuries have opened the door for Rosicky and also fellow team mate Francis Coquelin to prove their worth at the club. Now they’re difficult to drop and it will be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger manages the squad going forward.
Rosicky’s performance against Brighton typified the type of player he is. Solid and powerful on the ball, yet incredibly agile for his age. It was a dynamic performance and is becoming a regular occurrence. The way the midfielder drove forward from out wide, finding Ozil in the corner of his eye then slipping a casual no-look ball perfectly into the German’s path was beautiful and a sign of things to come.
Later in the tie when Arsenal desperately needed another, Rosicky dispossessed a defender, took two more on with some fancy footwork even Santi Cazorla would have been proud, laid it onto Olivier Giroud who picked a fine chipped ball back to the Czech to complete the one-two. At the edge of the 18-yard box there was still plenty more to do, and Rosicky left David Stockdale wanting with a wonderful volley.
There’s a reason why so many excellent team goals feature the 34-year-old in recent times. Not only can he finish, but his vision is spot on when he’s got his eye in and he can set the tempo for the attack.
Rosicky ended the day with 3 shots on target and made 3 key passes. With 71 passes and a 87.3% accuracy, the Czech was often at the heart of every Gunners move despite sitting a little deeper than usual. He topped the amount of dribbles with 6 and had 90 touches, second only to Aaron Ramsey. With 2 interceptions and 2 clearances, his defensive discipline was also on show and he was vital in the transition through the midfielders to the forwards.
The Little Mozart was at his best on Sunday and it will be difficult to drop him this weekend.