Today we continue the countdown to the unveiling of the Arsenal.com Player of the Season - as voted by the fans.
Tomas Rosicky is next on our list. The Czech midfielder is in third place with 4.79 per cent of the votes cast after coming on strong in the New Year.
Arsenal.com reporter Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 31-year-old.
The 'resurrection of Rosicky' is one of the lasting memories of the 2011/12 season.
Previously known as ‘Little Mozart’ while at Borussia Dortmund, before this year the 31-year-old had not managed to replicate the form that had first earmarked him as one of Europe’s premier midfielders. A long-term injury that kept the Czech midfielder out of action for more than 18 months had seemingly taken too great a toll and he was perhaps not expected to be such a prominent member of the squad.
There were signs of Tomas' enduring class in Arsenal’s Champions League qualifying play-off second leg in Udinese but, despite that dynamic display, he struggled to force his way into the first team on a regular basis until the turn of the New Year.
An impressive performance in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United saw the tide turn in the most spectacular of fashions.
Suddenly Tomas was handed his chance and he grabbed it with both hands, becoming the energetic, driving force of old as the Gunners embarked on a major upturn in form. If there were any lingering doubts, they were blown away with a stunning performance in the 5-2 North London derby victory over Tottenham in which Tomas bagged the crucial goal to put his side ahead.
Rosicky was reborn. “He rarely scores, but [his goal against Spurs] was so important,” Robin van Persie said. “He started the move himself and then finished it really well. Tomas is a hugely important member of this team - he has been playing so well this season and you can see that he’s going from strength to strength.”
The compliments from the rest of the Arsenal squad soon came flooding in, as Rosicky’s influence grew exponentially. “Tomas has been absolutely outstanding. I have a lot of Arsenal-supporting friends and everyone I have spoken to can't talk highly enough about how well he has been playing,” Carl Jenkinson said. “His change of pace and the way he turns with the ball shows he is a special talent. He has been outstanding, and long may it continue.”
The longer the season progressed, the more important Tomas became, and it came as no surprise when he was awarded a new contract. While he may be one of Arsenal’s elder statesmen, it was his high-energy performances that drove the team on during their seven-game winning run. “For me, it is fun to be with the young guys because they make me feel young as well!” he admitted.
There is every reason to believe this renewed, restored Rosicky will continue in the same vein next season. He has a theory that because he missed so long through injury, his ‘football age’ is just 29 and he has many more years left at the top level - a viewed shared by his manager.
That can only be good news for Arsenal fans who have been more than happy to welcome back the renaissance man.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 May 2012