Easy on the eye but sorry Mozart you are not hitting the high notes – The Michael Jeffares Column

Well
here we are in fourth position and our destiny is back in our own hands,
despite days of worry leading up to the Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur game. We
did enough last weekend and it wasn’t great at times but at this stage of
the season it would be nice if we had some good individual performances to
boost our confidence levels ever so slightly.

Earlier
this week @goonerdave66
wrote about Santi Cazorla 
getting stuck on the wing and how he
needs to play in the attacking centre midfield, something I completely agree
with not only because of how effective he is but because the player currently operating
there doesn’t perform to the level he should do. Now I have argued many times
about this player with many a person on twitter (particularly Dave). That’s
right, I’m talking about Tomas Rosicky. 
 
Now before everyone gets defensive and starts sticking up for him, hear me out
(after all, this is the beginning of the second paragraph). When TR7 arrived
back in 2006 I was delighted, we’d signed a player with international pedigree
and on the back of two goals against the USA in the World Cup, one of which was
a rocket. I felt Rosicky was exactly what we needed at the time; here was a
player who was prepared to shoot from distance, instead of the walking the ball
into the net, a culture that infected that side. But his track record
suggested he didn’t score that often – his best tally was six league goals and
this guy was replacing Robert Pires. However, he did go
on to link well with Cesc Fabregas, and that was a time when we
played 4-4-2 and he was predominately the left midfielder. He was also in a
side with the infuriating Alex Hleb, who I reckon would have been the best
footballer in the world had possession been the name of the game. The only
issue I could find with Rosicky in an Arsenal shirt was his lack of
goals (3) in his debut season but at the time his shortfall was more
than covered by attacking by the likes of Thierry Henry (10), Emmanuel Adebayor
(8), Robin van Persie (11) and Gilberto (10) but was it acceptable that Rosicky
got the same amount of goals as Darren Ambrose for Charlton Athletic? I’m
pretty show he went unnoticed because of Hleb, after all there’s normally
only room for one as The Arsenal fall guy.
 
Now we all know he’s been plagued by injuries, as he went on to miss the entire
08/09 season but that has never stopped Arsene Wenger renewing his deal despite
the high risk that goes which such a financial package. By the time Rosicky
signed a new deal in January 2010 he had amassed a total of 79 games for the
club in four years. Put that into context; Oscar has played in 62 games this
season for Chelsea (with three more possible outings to come) and that’s not to
mention the Olympics which has all come in his debut season. Wenger said
“I have spoken many times of Tomas’ class and contribution”. It
was hardly deserved and there wasn’t really a contribution but that went
for many of the players at that time like Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Henri Lansbury,
Denilson, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela & Sanchez Watt who all got new
deals at the time, some of which are still holding us back. My frustration
began to creep in but I couldn’t work out if my anger was directed at Wenger or
Rosicky.

Fast forward to last season’s 5-2 win over Spurs, and the dawn of a new
beginning (or so they tell me) for TR7, he scored the third to cap a great
comeback and he was sensational on the day. It was a performance that embodied
what he is all about – high energy, damaging runs and creativity,
which leads me to criticise him – he simply doesn’t do this enough and he
cannot maintain this level of performance. You’ll no doubt say he was
phenomenal from Spurs onwards last year but I’ll say he only scored twice in
that ‘fantastic run’ and his only league goal came in that North London derby.
Is that really good enough? Be honest, it’s woeful.  I can see
how people are seduced by his nice touch and spritely play but there has to be
an end product. Footballers who don’t make the most of their talents annoy me
more than those with limited ability, as the latter tend to know their
shortcomings and try to make up for it in other areas, such as determination
and commitment. Can you believe that Rosicky has never managed more
than six league goals in any season for us? This is why I’d never
look any further than Cazorla as our playmaker, as he brings goals and assists
to the table. Santi is currently on 12 goals in an Arsenal shirt, compared
to Rosicky’s 22 but he has got 122 games in which to make up the deficit, even
Jack Wilshere is not exempt from this as his production is well behind where it
should be. I used to love Tomas but we need goals and there isn’t
much support from other attacking areas. Look at last week at Queens Park
Rangers and this isn’t just directed solely at TR7 (although he was one of the
main culprits) but all I can see when we get to the edge of the box is not
passes but players afraid to take responsibility and happy to pass on that
burden. Rosicky can score goals from outside of the box, so why doesn’t he
shoot more often? He can have a devastating effect in the box too, so why isn’t
he there when we attack? I saw James McCarthy charge through the back four of
Swansea City on Tuesday night and the first thing I thought was, we need a
player that can do that, and then I realised the player that used to do that
was Tomas but he just doesn’t have it in him anymore. 

 
The truth is I am growing tired of easy on the eye footballers, as I’ve seen so
many in the Emirates era and I just want talented individuals that are hungry
for success. I know Rosicky has his fans and I can understand why people
like him but at the end of the day isn’t it just a reflection of how far we’ve
fallen in recent times? After all he was Pires’ replacement and he managed
284 games and 84 goals (A goal just over every three games) compared to
Rosicky’s 180 games and 22 goals (A goal just over every eight games).
 You may think bringing Pires into the equation is unfair but these used
to be the benchmarks we’d work off and expect from our players and he was his
direct replacement. This argument could be had for many areas of our team but I
don’t see many wasting their talents as much as Tomas. For now though, we need
a fluid positive Arsenal for our remaining two games, so get Lukas Podolski
back on the wing and Santi into the middle and let’s go for it instead of these
tentative displays. We look to have tightened up at the back and our side’s
strength is to attack but for now Tomas needs to park his backside on the bench
and be happy to play his part when called upon. 

What
do you think? Either way let me know, I’d love to hear your views.

Michael Jeffares


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One Response to Easy on the eye but sorry Mozart you are not hitting the high notes – The Michael Jeffares Column

  1. Nachi Sharma May 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    i humbly and angrily refute your charges. Rosicky is one of the most direct players we have. Santi is a lot younger and has had more game time than him this season and thats why his goals/assists are much more.. though i agree that he would be better off as a left winger with cazorla in the centre.. Rosicky has an amazing eye for a pass and a very small turning circle. his shot though has toned down a lot with age.. He runs at the defence with the ball so gracefully and almost always finds the best option to pass…never shoots.. he plays for the team and one of the main reasons for our high tempo at the start of games is him.. he closes down open spaces and players when we dunn have the ball and that for me is the reason why he starts every game today.. i have seen this across the last two seasons that Arsenal start with a high tempo only when we start with rosicky.. (the facts back me)… but the problem for us is that he is getting older and seems to fizzle away after half an hour or so. and if yo have seen the last few games the whole team fizzles out by then.. that is the problem wenger needs to overcome in the next two games… on the contrary in games when he’s been called off the bench.. we are mostly behind or trying to break down two banks of four against teams who have parked the bus and even then he sizzles but he doesnt have quite the same impact… he’s the most senior player in the team.. one with world class pedigree and experience and thus we need him every end of the season to pull us out of the hole… Wonder what we can do with one full season of him and diaby..

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