Our season review continues with guitar player and renaissance man Tomas Rosicky. After spending most of last season in the forest with Manuel Almunia, Rosicky came to the fore this season, especially around the turn of the year. He scored his first league goal in 50 games and won himself a new contract with his play.
To read what we all thought of Rosicky, click the red thing after this line. Yes, that's the one. Right there, at the bottom.
Aidan: Tomas Rosicky's renaissance was a very pleasant surprise, especially as I thought he really didn't have much to offer anymore. He, however, proved me and a lot of doubters wrong with a number of strong performances at the turn of the year. Rosicky gave Arsenal a way to play like they had before the departure of Cesc Fabregas, with Rosicky being much of a playmaker than Aaron Ramsey. His passing was a joy to behold, he was very energetic, and he gave Arsenal dynamism from midfield, a trait that Arsenal had been missing all season. He ran games against Spurs, Newcastle, Everton and Manchester City, and it's fair to say that without him Arsenal wouldn't have qualified for the Champions League. Whether Rosicky can keep it up is another question, but going forward, he's a very nice piece to have. While his goal and assist numbers aren't the best, he does seem to rack up quite a few pre-assists.
Paul: Thomas Rosicky is one of those guys that I always forget plays for Arsenal - and I mean that in the best possible way. He's not flashy, he doesn't stand out, and while he may not be as indispensable as Arteta, without Rosicky the midfield would not function well at all. I wouldn't put him on the Bergkamp level as far as passing goes, but he is very, very good at putting the ball where he wants it, and knowing where players are going to be before they get there. He was absolutely imperious in the 5-2 against the Seven Sisters Sunday league team, and he also played amazingly well in the second leg against Milan. He works his ass off, he's good at what he does, and without him Arsenal wouldn't be as good as they are. Two days in a row, and two easy grades - I like this gig.
Ted: I admit that at one point, I thought I'd never see Tomas Rosicky play in an Arsenal shirt again, a prospect that brought me sadness. He had struggled for form basically since 2009, a steady string of injuries preventing him from stringing matches together. He had flashes of his old self early in the fall, particularly against Sunderland, but for the most part, Ramsey-Song-Arteta ran the midfield for Arsenal, and one wondered. Then Tottenham happened, and we all remembered why Rosicky was here. The drive, the pressing, the running, the vision--suddenly he had a burst again, he was accelerating away from players, he was scoring goals again. From that day forward, his technique and vision combined with his workrate helped Arsenal put together a good run and climb into third place. He was a little out of form at the start and end of the year, but that middle part was exactly what we thought we had on our hands in 2006. It's hard not to like Rosicky, and one hopes that he can carry his good form into next year, even at age 32.
Thomas: When I woke up the morning of February 26 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was pretty sure I was still asleep. Due to a time zone change and the fact that I was working, I hadn't been able to wake up for the start of the North London Derby and when I pulled whoscored.com up on my iPod to check the score, and it said we were winning 5-2 with Tomas Rosicky having scored...well, I thought it was a pretty mean prank to pull. That, I think, was the last moment where anything Rosicky did surprised me. When he scored against AC Milan, I didn't think it odd - it was just an in-form player doing something good. It had been a while since Rosicky had been that, and for a while he was not only good, but one of Arsenal's most important players. With Ramsey losing form there was a desperate need for midfield reinforcement, and Little Mozart's passing and runs on the ball provided quality in an area we sorely needed it. He faded a bit at the tail end of the season, but he was a huge reason for Arsenal's month-long spring rampage, which took us above Tottenham and was probably the reason we're in the Champions League.
Grade: Cool. Cool cool cool.