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Little Mozart

A post by Abhishek Iyer from among our friends over at OTBAG. You can follow him on Twitter here: @Nickspinkboots

There has been a ferociously tectonic shift in the erstwhile dormant plates of English football over the best part of last decade. Nouveau riche owners have blithely sprinkled manna and gold dust on their toy-clubs, irreversibly distorting the financials of the football market in the process. One continuing consequence of this crazy doping is the shortening of patience-spans in football players. While a relatively level playing ground before meant that players could, in theory, stay at clubs for ‘right’ reasons such as stability, loyalty, and stature, the current landscape is becoming disconcertingly about chase-the-dollar.

This financial distortion hit Arsenal very hard in a period of already forced austerity as we waved Highbury a tearful goodbye and lugged all wares to the Groves of Ashburton. His wallet crippled, Wenger opted to rely on the fluctuating but exciting potential of youth. Arsene’s band of silky-toed ragamuffins started well, dancing to the ebb and flow of passing patterns, staying married to their footballing philosophy, growing up together to hopefully win together. But patience, as previously mentioned, soon grew thin (far too soon). Players who might have, under different circumstances, opted to stick with the club where they grew up in order to help the club grow in return, now migrated in droves as they got swayed by roubles and riches, swagger and silver. Arsenal were slowly starved by the twin disparities of money and quality, one often resulting in another. I don’t mean to disparage the players’ motives, which were far-ranging: some were bewitched by the sights and sounds of their hometown, some preferred a bit-part role in a title-winning squad, and some genuinely left for clubs higher up on the global popularity scale. But the regrettable undercurrent in this collective abandoning of ship is a lack of patience and desire to give back, as blinkered and idealistic as that sounds. And this is where I feel Tomas Rosicky bucks the trend.

First off, let’s get the elephant out of the room before it decides to ask for copies of the house key and order customized settees. Rosicy’s clusterfuck of injuries and the greying around his temples meant that he was never going to sell fresh and hot at the transfer bakery, but he has steadfastly denied whatever offers have come his way, choosing to remain with the club that saw him through 18 months on the treatment table. When he signed a long-term contract in 2010 (before the latest one in 2012), this is what he had to say:

“I am so pleased to have signed a new contract with Arsenal. The last two seasons haven’t been easy for me because of injuries but I feel it speaks volumes about the Club’s belief in me for this to be signed, and I truly believe I have a lot left to offer the Club, my team-mates and all the supporters.”

I know there’ll be a snort or two from readers who have learned to grow wary of all bromides that escape players’ lips nowadays, but these particular words have been backed by explosive action as Rosicky continues to enjoy his Indian Summer at Arsenal. He has proved a vital cog in Arsenal’s race to the finish two seasons running now; the dampening fact that he spent the initial parts of both seasons in the infirmary is overshadowed by his hectoring runs from midfield, turns-on-a-dime, and general willingness to run himself to the ground for the team. Romantic as the notion may seem in today’s corporately cocooned world of football, it’s almost like the unfailing trust shown by Arsenal has manifested itself in Rosicky as a springier step, a faster burst, a desire to give back.

The 5-2 victory against Tottenham (the first one) was perhaps his watershed moment; as the first Spurs goal went in, Rosicky seemed to shed his earlier aging self and emerge as Rosicky 2.0, with laser-precision matte finish instead of chipping dried paint. For two successive seasons, he has been the face of bloody-minded Arsenal comebacks: first against AC Milan and then against Bayern Munich, he marshalled the midfield in a kamikaze kitchen-sink dash that saw them almost overcome impossible deficits. An exhausted and distraught Rosicky sitting on his haunches and staring vacantly into space became the image of defiant Arsenal defeat.

As we trundle through the summer of 2013, and other Arsenal players temporarily drop the veneer of patience to sound clarion calls for potential suitors, Rosicky has quietly pledged his immediate future to Arsenal in spite of knowing that he may not be first choice. I know Arsenal fans now consciously try to not be emotionally attached to any one particular player (and rightly  so, after the ceaseless finger burning of the past few years), but I can’t help having a soft spot for our floppy-haired guitarist. Whether he eventually re-joins Sparta Prague or rides off into the sunset an Arsenal man, Tomas Rosicky will have stood true on some oft-forgotten but important principles. He’s not one of the names that will grace daily headlines, but I’m going to take pleasure in acknowledging this small flower of constancy and gratitude in the ferociously shifting tectonic plates of football.

33 comments on “Little Mozart

  1. Top stuff, many thanks….

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  2. Lovely article.Just what the doctor ordered

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  3. Love Tomas. Nice read.

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  4. Tomas is now my favourite Arsenal player,but Aaron is coming up on the rails.

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  5. Two of my favourite pass-times geology and football all rolled into one.

    Have always maintained Rosicky is one hell of a player. His countryman Nedved, I would have loved to have seen him turn out for us.

    I have about 6 unfinished articles trying to combine geology and football, so that’s how it’s done.

    Great read, Thankyou.

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  6. Thanks everyone!

    I agree, George. There’s been a collective mellowing towards Ramsey that I think he absolutely deserves (he didn’t deserve the hardening in the first place, but what’s done is done). Just love his stamina-defying shifts in midfield.

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  7. wow i know this guy.

    top stuff mate. you graduated from BITS yet?

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  8. @Arshavin23 Yes mate, graduated this year. Joining IIM-Kozhikode from August onward. Who is this? 🙂

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  9. ‘Excellent’ might be an understatement!

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  10. A brilliant piece about a TRUE football genius if only injury hadn’t taken his services from us I believe those elusive pots would have already been in our possession

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  11. When otherwise sensible gooners drift into fantasies of the return of Cesc and David Dein, it is a pleasure to read of an excellent player who has remained consistent and steadfast. The cynical will say he has had no choice after spending so many months on the treatment table but unlike the JVC, his return to fitness has not been marked by Machiavellian maneuvers to engineer a new contract here or elsewhere. Instead we have seen honest desire to give 100% to the cause. Well played TR-7.

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  12. A fantastic player who more than any other I would like to see lift a trophy in his Arsenal career,a good bloke by all accounts as well.

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  13. I must say all of the recent contributors have been excellent.I am very pleased they have joined us.

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  14. @Nickspinkboots

    Lets just say we brawled quite a little when a certain dutch boy left arsenal.

    And congrats on IIMK admit. I appeared for C and L and spectacularly flunked both,
    and what more I quit my job too lol.

    A rant here and there once a while keeps me going.

    ‘Twas a pleasure to read your work as always. thanks much for that 🙂

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  15. Excellent write up!

    Rosicky is a top player and a classy individual. He is great example for the young players at the club.
    Rosicky, though not bigged up, is one of the best midfielders in the world. Abhishek Iyer mentioned some attributes, slong with those his tackling and range of passing are something to behold. Have you even seen someone win the ball with a slide tackle and go straight into attack the way he does? I have not. Inuries have robbed him and us but we are still lucky to have him as he still obviouly has a lot to offer. What a player!

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  16. Great piece. What a wonderful piece of ‘deadwood’ is our Tomas, a grossly underrated player. I hope we get to see him for many years to come, and if carefully managed I don’t see why not.

    I was reminded of a journalist on Twitter at the back end of the season, who exclaimed, upon seeing Rosicky make one of his trademark slide tackles, “that must be the first slide tackle of his career!”. What a moron. If there’s one attacking player who loves a slide tackle is Tomas, and pretty good he is at them too.

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  17. It was Mark Lawernson on MOTD Leo

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  18. @PG

    I think you’re right, I must have misremembered. License fee well spent, is Lawro.

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  19. Well written. Underrated, unlucky and unrelenting. Probably sums up his career. Fellaini or no fellaini, Rooney or no Rooney, rosicky will be the go to midfielder in crisis. Probably not a starter in the coming seasons.. But important nevertheless.

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  20. Good write up and a proper comment on Tomas’ contribution over the past two seasons

    In the past two seasons TR has finally had the chance to play on a regular basis in the centre of midfield, where he played for the Czech Republic and played for Dortmund- too often I’d see him out on the wing in the early years which is just not what he does

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  21. Anicol.

    i thought he only played the winger role at arsenal..

    he played a deep midfield role for both borussia and czech republic.

    the 06 07 and the 07 08 seasons were when he was at the height of his powers..

    watch this video

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  22. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIq4Ia1INaX1CEJzwIvz0eg

    this guy deserves a medal for all the compilations

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  23. outside of the foot

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  24. guitar

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  25. after the injury

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  26. Ah Tomas, my all time favourite of the more recent Arsenal vintages. He is Mr. Arsenal. When the brats left I asked on another site, why not celebrate a real hero, like Tomas. Many thanks to the author, well done!!

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  27. Stew Black is on the radio right now http://www.somervalleyfm.co.uk

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  28. bang on, Abhishek.
    There is one guy that really deserves to lift up a trophy before his time goes with our club and that is the wonderful Tomas Rosicky. Sure, the rest of the team are mostly young and their time will come.
    Watching Tomas chase down every single ball in Munich and making the home team’s life a misery was a small joy, this is a world class midfielder whose touch on a ball is pure magic, yet he never ever shirks from putting in the hard yards. Legend.
    If Rambo turns out to be half the player Tomas has been for us Wenger has done well again. I really hope both have their injury problems behind them, and can look forward to being part of the best (and most ridiculously underrated) midfield 6 ( 2 groups of any 3 you want to pick from any given day) in the league.
    Stay at barca, cesc your not getting into our new midfield – you’d only fuck up the rhythm we have got now.

    “Perhaps my best years are gone, when there was a chance of happiness.
    But I wouldn’t want them back, not with the fire in me now.” Samuel Beckett

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  29. Thanks PG for bringing in all these fantastic new posters.
    No offence to our regular literary giants, Steww and Mel!

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  30. Thomas Rosicky. He has some grit.

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