By Richard Clarke

If Arsenal's last trip to Sparta Prague was all about Thierry Henry, then this visit could be all about Tomas Rosicky.

Tonight the Czech midfielder returns to the club who nurtured him for a crucial Champions League third qualifying round first-leg tie. Two years ago a half-fit Henry famously came off the bench to break Arsenal's goalscoring record. Rosicky told that hitting the net this evening would evoke for him mixed emotions at best. However that is just the job Arsène Wenger has earmarked for him this season.

"Tomas is classy and I feel he is now at the age where he can get the right balance in the final third," said the Arsenal manager.

"We know he is sharp, quick and lively. I believe the final thing is to finish well. Towards the end of last year he started to score goals and on Sunday against Fulham, he had five shots on goal. That is something he did not have last season.

"Tomas is a very important player for us - a VIP. I believe he has great quality, loves to do well for the team and is very talented. We all have respect for him because he behaves like a real team player and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

"We know it is a game where he is a bit more under pressure than others because of the extra scrutiny. But it is a big game for the whole squad, because for us what is at stake is not how will Rosicky look, but whether we qualify or not.

"What we always want from Tomas Rosicky is to give key passes and score goals. I am convinced he will do that."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 15 Aug 2007