Tomas Rosicky joined Arsenal in May 2006.
He was going to be one of the players that would shape the next team under Arsene Wenger, the Fabregas Team.
Out went stalwarts like Sol Campbell, Dennis Bergkamp and Bobby Pires, the man many saw Rosicky replacing.
During that period, Arsenal also signed the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby and Alex Song.
Yes, the times were a changing.
Tomas fitted seamlessly into the Bobby Pires role and had an encouraging first season in the No.7 shirt. 37 league & cup appearances with 6 goals promised better things to come as Tomas adapted to his new club and English football.
The highlight of 2006-07 for Tomas was his brace of goals at Anfield in the FA Cup which broke the Scousers and led to an impressive 3-1 victory. 2007-08 was the most productive to dat, for Tomas in the EPL with 6 goals in only 18 appearances.
The injuries, the darned injuries that have blighted his time at Arsenal, were becoming more numerous, and in January 2008 they became more serious.
The nightmare began for Tomas in the January of that season when he suffered a ‘rare, long-term tendon injury.
It meant the entire 2008-09 season was a complete write-off, as well as the second half of 2007-08.
At 28 to have lost over 18 months of your career, in your peak years, must have been a terrible blow for Rosicky to take.
Many fans began to doubt Rosicky’s durability during that 18 month absence, could he ever return after so long on the sidelines?
Fortunately, despite our doubts, Arsene Wenger never doubted ‘Little Mozarts’ ability to return.
A full pre-season and action in the 2009 Emirates Cup promised a change in fortune for Tomas but the niggling pulls and strains were never far away.
Whilst 2009-10 was an improvement on what had gone before, it was still a case of stop-start for Rosicky and we had the added competition of Andrei Arshavin for his place in the team. Regardless, he managed 20 starts in all competitions and 33 appearances in total.
By the end of 2009-10, Rosicky had been an Arsenal player for 4 seasons, he’d managed only 70 starts and 24 substitute appearances, at an average of only 23 games per season.
As 2010-11 kicked off Tomas found that he was now a confirmed ‘squad player’.
Still picking up the occasional muscle injury, he was thought by many, to be surplus to requirements. He was just the experienced player who Wenger used, to help the Kids in the Carling Cup etc. Tomas was very much playing second fiddle to Arshavin, Fabregas, Nasri and the new sensation Jack Wilshere.
Only 8 starts in the EPL in 2010-11, told its own story.
He 34 appearances in total, but almost half of them from the substitutes bench! His one goal, came in a 1-1 draw at Brisbane Road against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup.
That Leyton Orient game was just over 12 months ago.
Since then, we’ve witnessed the departures of Fabregas, Nasri and more recently Arshavin. A door has opened once more for Little Mozart and the turn of the year has seen his Arsenal career has taken a much different path.
He is now playing in his preferred position and is an important member of the midfield, he is the man who orchestrates the flow and the rhythm of the team, switching the play from one side of the pitch to the opposite side.
He conducts, he weaves the patterns across the middle of the park, changing the direction of the attacks with quick incisive passes.
At 31, he has signed a new 2 year extension to his contract, something seldom offered by Wenger for a player over 30!
Memorable goals against Middlesex Hotspurs and AC Milan have rekindled his appetite for goalscoring and most important of all, he has managed to remain fit…
Maybe in his Golden Years as a footballer, he has prehaps, finally learnt to adjust his game, his training and his preparations and is avoiding all those career stunting pulls and strains.
Like a fine wine he is maturing into a major player for Van Persie’s New Arsenal.
Finally and behalf of all here on Highbury House, thoughts and very best wishes go out to our old boy Fabrice Muamba who remains critically ill in hospital.
May he and his family find strength to get through this dreadful time…
Get well soon big guy……
Written by Allezkev