The “Real” Tomas Rosicky


Yes, the main story of Saturday’s 6-nil win over Blackpool was Theo’s hat-trick. But, what seems to be lost in the hoopla, is the absolutely sterling performance of Tomas Rosicky. I had been hoping for one of those “<player> vs. <opposition>” videos to pop up on You Tube and now it finally has done.

Rosicky was either at the start or at the heart of nearly everything Arsenal did well on Saturday. Right from the kick-off, he propelled the team forward whether it was dropping ball after ball into space or picking it up in his own half and, basically, doing one of the best Fabregas impersonations I’ve seen in a long while.

He made the perfectly-placed pass to Arshavin, who set up the opening goal. He set Walcott free nearly half-a-dozen times including the move that led to a great save on Arshavin’s half-volley. He also threaded the ball perfectly between two defenders for Chamakh, who subsequently drew the penalty that saw Arsenal go up 2-nil and Blackpool down to ten men. He played the ball to Sagna down the right that led to Diaby’s goal. He played the ball into space for Arshavin, who delivered a sitter missed by Chamakh. He also made a fantastic pass after turning to Vela making a run into the box.

Every one of these balls were just glorious to watch. Rosicky put on the central midfield “masterclass” that David Pleat, and only David Pleat, thought Nasri had done at Anfield. Now, I am of course mindful that he was playing much of the match against a 10-man relegation favorite and therefore had more space than usual. But, nevertheless… Rosicky’s vision, creativity, and deftness of touch appears to have fully returned following his losing 18 months due to injury in what should be his prime.

His injury problems have been so consistent that even though he’s beginning his fifth year at the club, we’ve never seen him really hit top gear for any period of time. It remains to be seen whether or not he is really over the recurring muscle injuries, but he has said he feels better than ever after having his first full preseason in years. A good sign is that Rosicky not only stood around dropping ball after ball for his teammates to run onto, but he also went in hard, and won, a number of 50-50s in the center of midfield. Furthermore, his distribution from central midfield was fantastic as he worked every inch of the middle and attacking thirds on Saturday.

Of course, Rosicky is likely to play the majority of his time on the pitch this season out wide, but Saturday was a reminder of just how devastating a player he can be in the middle when fully healthy and match-fit. The confidence the Boss has in him was fully evident when he was offered a contract extension this past January despite having been injured for most of the previous 24 months.

I remember being really excited about the club signing Rosicky. But we have only seen glimpses of the “real” Rosicky-the one who scored that unbelievable Champions League goal, the one who scored the goal at Anfield, etc…. So, while we look forward to the emergence of Theo, Jack, and some of the other young players, I am also looking forward this season to the emergence of the “real” Tomas Rosicky.

War-saw, What Was It Good For?

An all-too familiar sight.

Yesterday’s match in Poland against Legia Warsaw still has me scratching my head wondering, “What the hell was that?” Some have suggested that yesterday’s 6-5 victory over a team that finished 4th in the Poland encapsulated both the positives and negatives of the current side. We can score a ton of goals, but we also concede a ton. (Highlights on the right).

Of course, it’s impossible to judge a team based on pre-season results against lesser sides, as Arsene has said. However, there is no denying that what we all witnessed yesterday was nothing less than disturbing. And to still be without a 4th center-back, with Anfield a week away, is even more disturbing. A Liverpool side, revitalized by the arrival of Hodgson, could’ve scored 12 goals against our defense yesterday.

All this is further exacerbated by the keeper problems. Perhaps 1-in-10 Arsenal fans have any confidence in Almunia. Even less in Fabianski. We can all agree that Szczesny is a right prospect but not ready for a title challenge. Arsene must’ve been hoping that Fabianski would put the past behind him and put in solid enough performances over the pre-season to quiet criticism of the keeping situation especially as Fulham continued to rebuff his interest in Mark Schwarzer. Instead Fabianski goes out tripping over his own defender’s leg in front of his hometown crowd. He just doesn’t seem to have ever been able to put Porto behind him.

Nasri continues to shine to the point where it almost seems wrong to push him out of that central role when Cesc returns. Gibbs also appears to be getting back to his best. While many seem happy that Gibbs and Wilshere have been called up to the England squad for the most meaningless and inopportune of friendlies, I can honestly say that I’d rather they hadn’t been.

I can’t conclude this post without mentioning the criticism of the official website over the Spahic article. It is without a doubt hypocritical on the club’s part and embarrassing. This is most embarrassing because the article has an Arsenal player, Bacary Sagna, talking about another club’s player. But this isn’t something happening for the first time. It’s been going on all summer long with these ridiculous “Transfer Linked” articles. Since the summer started, I have been unable to understand just exactly what an official website is doing posting things like that. How can we complain about Barca’s players talking about Cesc when we have linked ourselves with 20 players on our own website since May? It’s obviously such bullshit anyway because anyone who knows Wenger knows that he would never let the club put a news article about a player he’s interested in on the website. That would only drive up the price further or, worse, alienate the other club into not dealing with us. So, please, do us all a favor and remove the entire section and all the articles from the official website.

Anyone Else Want To Bitch-Slap Carlos Puyol?

First off, I apologize for the lack of pictures today but I refuse to grace my blog with pictures of scum. On to the business… I had hoped to get the whole Cesc story out of me the other day, but a new slew of utterly inane comments from Cesc’s self-appointed spokesman, Carlos Puyol, have got me uncharacteristically wound up all over again. Here they are:

After seven years of great service, I thought Arsenal could have granted him his dream move. He is having to stay at a club where he no longer wants to be. Cesc has given everything to Arsenal to try to win a trophy but they haven’t matched his expectations. I won’t say he is in a prison, as we know how privileged we are as football players. But after how clear Cesc made it that he wanted to be in Barcelona, I thought they would have granted him that.

Where to begin? Apparently, Puyol thinks Arsenal should repay Fabregas for simply playing for us by allowing him to move. As if merely being graced by his presence was a gift to the club. When Barcelona didn’t think Cesc would be a top-class player seven years ago, they put up no fight to keep him when Arsenal made him an offer. Only afterwards, when they have realized their mistake, do they want him back. Is it me or is it a bit like the father who leaves his young family only to show up on his son’s doorstep after he’s become a movie star millionaire?

“After how clear Cesc made it that he wanted to be in Barcelona?” Puyol must be reading his own quotes because I haven’t seen one quote from Cesc saying that. The only ones making it “clear” are Puyol and his teammates during a media campaign that has become nothing short of embarrassing. If Barcelona were such a great club, why would they feel the need to resort to these kinds of tactics?

“Cesc has given everything to Arsenal.” True, but Arsenal has given Cesc even more than one player can give to a club. Arsene not only gave him a chance at 16 years of age in the first team, but he let him step in for the club’s captain and leader. He then went on to build the entire team around Cesc. And, let’s be honest, Cesc is just as much to blame as anyone else for our failed title bids in 2007/08 and 2009/10. His performances fell off just like the rest of the team.

If anything, Cesc owes Arsenal far more than Arsenal owes him. At the very least, Cesc owes it to the club to see that we get what we deserve in terms of financial compensation for the time, effort, faith, and confidence the club and supporters have shown him. All four things which Barcelona didn’t show him when they had the chance.

No football player is fully-formed at 16 years old. ARSENAL made Cesc into the player he is today and now they want him back for half of what he is worth. Barca let Cesc walk away. He was not poached or stolen. They could’ve told him that they would offer him a professional contract and a place in the first-team when he would turn 17. Had they guaranteed him that, he likely would not have left in the first place. But they didn’t have faith in him.

No matter what Puyol thinks, Barca have no unalterable right to Cesc Fabregas. If it came down to it, I’d rather offer him to Madrid for £40m than sell him to Barca for £60m. The problem is not that Arsenal don’t want to let him go, Carlos. The problem is you’re as skint as your average Scouser. It’s not that Arsenal don’t want to sell, it’s that Barcelona can’t afford to buy after having bought 7 trophies with loans. Why sell a player to a team who hasn’t even finished paying for previous transfers and is up to their ears in debt? That’s just dumb business.

Arsenal, quite rightly, are simply not going to sell their most prized asset for 1/2 of his value because cunts like Puyol and Iniesta keep talking to the press. If anything, Puyol should realize that he is only making matters much worse for Cesc and his club. The level of conceit, entitlement, and downright egotism emanating from that cuntbox of a stadium is astounding.

The headline of the piece in the Mail is “You’ll pay for keeping Cesc Fabregas!” No, Carlos, YOU and all the cunts at Barca will pay.” It’s easy. Either come up with £60m or fuck off.