By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger's decade at Arsenal has been littered with midfielders who have contributed valuable goals, from Marc Overmars and David Platt to Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires. The Frenchman believes Tomas Rosicky can follow in their footsteps.
Rosicky broke his Arsenal duck with a thunderous effort at Hamburg in September and finally ended a four-month goal drought with two top-drawer strikes in the 3-1 FA Cup win against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Czech international's confidence came flooding back after he opened the scoring at Anfield, prompting his manager to predict that Rosicky can emulate the likes of Pires and ease the burden on Arsenal's strikers with a steady flow of goals.
"He can be like Ljungberg and Pires," said Wenger. "Together they scored 25 goals a season and that is worth a lot of points. At the moment we haven't had that and it is important to get it, especially in games like [Saturday's] when the strikers get a little less service. It is important that goals come from midfield.
"Rosicky can score more goals because he is quick, he has good timing and he is very accurate in his finishing. I think he puts too much pressure on himself to finish and he sometimes rushes his decision making. I hope this will help him to be more calm in front of goal."
The Czech international served notice of his shooting ability with a couple of virtuoso efforts at last summer's World Cup. That scoring potential was underlined in Hamburg but Rosicky lost his nerve in front of goal after a handful of poor misses - most notably from a yard out against CSKA Moscow at Emirates Stadium in November.
Wenger was well aware of Rosicky's problems but remained confident that the Czech midfielder would put his barren scoring run behind him.
"Sometimes the best thing is not to talk about it too much because it can make a problem of it," said Wenger. "We have just tried to tell him to relax because he wants to do so well.
"He is a very good player and he has shown that again. He is mobile, clean technically, a quick decision maker and I like him very much. He also has a very helpful attitude for the team, he is happy playing on the flank because he wants to help the team."
8 Jan 2007