05 April 2013

A Pický to Clický: Tomáš Rosický

Just thought we'd start with a quick loyalty test to see who's willing to read past that title. Once I got the phrase into my head, it just stuck. I'm using it in hopes of it infecting some other hapless soul's brain and disinfecting mine. Thank you in advance for volunteering.

In all seriousness, as we look to a spark to inspire us to victory tomorrow against West Brom, I'm thinking that Tomáš Rosický is due for a break-out game. He missed most of the first half of the season after Achilles surgery in July, and since his return, he's had only two starts and ten appearances for us. It's probable that he's still not at 100%. Since a MOTM-quality appearance against Olympiakos, he's struggled to find the form that made him such a valued and valuable player. Having said all that, I believe (yes, and hope) that he's one who's going to make some noise tomorrow.

Who can forget the iconic moment pictured above from the 5-2 win against Spurs last year? His celebration after scoring was legendary. Sure, players celebrate after goals, but so many of them have scripted routineseven the "kissing the badge" feels a little ho-hum, all the more so when the player ships off and does the same with whichever new badge he's sportin'. Instead, Rosický's reaction was an explosion of unbridled, genuine joy, passion, and pride that I'm going to remember for a long time. After years of frustration, hobbled by injury after injury, the catharsis he must have felt at purging a few of those dark moments from his mind was palpable, and it pulsated throughout the stadium. I think that passion is part of what makes Rosický so special. We have some nice players on the squad, but I worry sometimes at how bland or staid so many of them are. Rosický doesn't just play a high-energy game, pressing all over the pitch and picking defenses apart; he crackles with energy, and this energy is infectious for his teammates.

A few days ago, Dortmund's Marco Reus, someone we've been linked with in the past, spoke glowingly of Rosický, calling him "my idol":
My idol was always Tomáš Rosický. He used to be phenomenal. He had such a good eye for an opening and knew where his team-mates were, and he was so quick. Rosický had great technique and was so intelligent and mature, even though he was still young at Dortmund. I copied everything about him, right down to his sweatbands. He was so unlucky he had bad injuries at Arsenal because, otherwise, he would be one of the world's best players.
I'm going to agree with almost all of what Reus said, but I have to take exception with the past-tense of all of those verbs. He still has a good eye for an opening; he still is so quick and has great technique and is still mature and intelligent. I don't mean that Reus intended to slight Rosický. It's a way of speaking people just use without noticing. Rosický's not dead, so we should interpret most of Reus's comments as still applicable. Is he still phenomenal? No. Is he one of the world's best players? No. Is he capable of flashes and stretches of brilliant play? Yep.

I'm not saying that Rosický is going to travel back in time to recapture his youthful form for a full 90' tomorrow; I'm just suggesting that, instead of another performance that is decent, I'm seeing a game in which he leaves his mark, maybe even enough to be a MOTMone goal or assist, 95% passing accuracy, two dribbles one, three tackles.