Football

The second coming of Tomas Rosicky

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Rosicky produced a startling display to down Milan. (©GettyImages)
Rosicky produced a startling display to down Milan. (©GettyImages).

During an evening which saw Arsenal fall short in their attempts to overturn a four-goal deficit against AC Milan, a reason for optimism for the remainder of this season, bar the thrusting runs of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, came in the performance of one Tomas Rosicky. Remember him?

The Czech Republic midfielder has had limited influence at The Emirates Stadium since his 18-month spell on the sidelines with a tendon injury, and has rarely replicated his form prior to his long-term injury.

From the moment Rosicky caught our attention, by smashing home from fully 30 yards against USA in the 2006 World Cup, the 31-year-old sparkled in another of Arsene Wenger's stylish sides.

Taking the No.7 off one Robert Pires, Rosicky showed all the qualities of the Frenchman in his first few seasons at the Gunners.

A quick turn of pace, a deft passing range and a devastating eye for goal complimented an Arsenal attack which already included Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor.

However, his Arsenal honeymoon was cut short, prior to his low key return in 2009.

With Wenger struggling to end the club's trophy drought, Rosicky became a peripheral figure, as Fabregas and then Samir Nasri stole the show.

Even this season, Rosicky has been something of a fall guy for a dismal league and cup campaign. His performance in the Champions League last 16 first leg against AC Milan was as anonymous as any in a Gunners shirt, with his left-sided role consigning him to a bit-part role in a Wenger side overwhelmed on the big occasion.

However, on Tuesday night, any fears the ex-Borussia Dortmund midfielder's career in north London was beginning to fizzle out were swept aside. He turned back the years somewhat to lead an Arsenal team who came within one goal of completing a remarkable comeback.

All the attributes we knew from the old Rosicky had returned. His quick turn of pace baffled the Milan midfield, forcing Mark van Bommel into an early slide challenge, and a subsequent yellow card.

Such thrust from midfield was the symbol of Arsenal's first half performance, and Rosicky even notched their second with the unerring accuracy we came to expect before his injury.

We know only too well, given his first-leg showing against Milan, how his form can fluctuate from the sublime to the ridiculous but in the absence of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, the onus is on him to replicate his showing for the rest of the season.

With the pressure swelling with every game on Robin van Persie to continue to produce match winning moments, the Gunners have been waiting for another player to come to the plate.

Topics:
Arsenal
European News
Football
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Tomas Rosicky
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