It was only a few days ago that I was thinking how Rosicky’s Arsenal career was fizzling out and destined for a disappointing end. Barely featuring, last year of contract – it seemed likely that the cup final would come and go and it would be a case of ta-da Tom.
Some players leave and I don’t much care. Other leave who I’d rather hadn’t. But Tom Rosicky, the Little Mozart? The little man is a stick of dynamite. He’s fantastic.
He’s never been the pivot round which the team was built. Maybe that’s because he had the kind of layoff between January 2008 and September 2009 that would make Diaby blush. But when called on, he’s invariably been excellent, with close technical skills that stand up to the best of them, surprising pace even at 34, and an energy that lifts the team whenever he comes on.
He’s not shy of scoring either. And belters at that – he’s good at long-rangers, good at placing goals with Exocet-like precision, and good at running with the ball from distance. Best of all, he has a knack of scoring top goals against our chums up the road. Twice in consecutive 5-2 routs, and then that curving, unstoppable rasper in the 1-0 away win (the goal that may well end up being the one people remember the most).
Forgotten how good he is? Of course you haven’t, but here are some gentle reminders anyway.
Does he have weaknesses? Not many, if you ask me, other than advancing years. Games rarely pass him by entirely. He plays with a smile on his face. He’s no agitator. He has excellent hair.
Eight starts and 16 sub appearances is not bad for a 34-year-old – he could not play a whole season even if we wanted him to – so perhaps it was no surprise after all that Wenger has exercised the right to extend his contract by one final year.
The cynical view would be that it’s a way of getting some money for him while offering the player some security in the meantime. But no, I genuinely think it’s the right call for both parties. He’s still a lovely little player. An impact sub of the highest order. So I hope he is here for one last, testimonial-season hurrah.
Gilberto played the mandolin and he was brilliant. Rosicky plays guitar. In the close season Wilshere is a wandering minstrel who plays the Dulcimer.*
*One of these facts is untrue.
I raise my plectrum to unsung midfielders with string-instrument skills.
Super Tom Rosicky. No word of a lie.