By Tom Lawler
Despite not starting any of Arsenal’s first 30 Premier League games last season, Tomas Rosicky still played a pivotal role in the Club finishing fourth. The Czech midfielder found his best form at a crucial time last season, helping the Gunners secure their 16th consecutive Champions League qualification.
His two goals at West Bromwich Albion in a 2-1 victory, plus setting up Theo Walcott’s goal in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium, proved to be a fundamental part in Arsenal making the all-important top four.
Now the 32 year-old is hungry for more as the Gunners look to end an eight-year trophy drought. “It’s very simple. My target is a trophy - I want to win the league,” he said when we caught up with him just before the Emirates Cup. “This is my eighth year at the Club and that’s what I came here for, so now it’s time to achieve it. Obviously it’s a very tough competition, there’s no doubt that there are some great teams in the English league. But I don’t really care what everybody else says, I will do my best to achieve it. I will work hard every day in training and in the games to fulfill my dream. I have never felt hungrier in my career for success as I do now."
Tomas also believes Arsenal need to take advantage of recent managerial changes, after Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all switched bosses this summer. In addition, with no key players departing the north London side during the transfer window, the midfielder says it gives the Club another reason to make the most of their stability and mount a substantial title challenge.
"It’s very simple. My target is a trophy - I want to win the league"
“It will be the same as last year - Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea,” he said.. “Every year is the same. Maybe the little advantage for us will be the stability we have with the manager. It could take time for the new managers at those clubs to settle. It might take a while for them to get their ideas over to the players and get the correct style of play within the team. At Manchester United though you don’t need to change much to be successful. But it is a change though, and you never know. Every change can be tricky and I believe the stability we have can help us.
“I think it’s the first time in my Arsenal career that we didn’t lose anyone in the summer. There hasn’t been a main departure so I think already that will benefit us greatly. The chemistry in the team is very important and that’s what we have here. You could see at the end of last season that the team really fought for each other - that’s a good characteristic to have within the side."
Rosicky joined Arsenal in 2006, having already won three Czech league championships and the Bundesliga. Unfortunately, the Czech international has suffered serious injury problems since his arrival at the Emirate Stadium, notably spending 18 months on the sidelines between February 2008 and September 2009. The playmaker was also sidelined at the start of last season, but after returning to the squad, he consistently impressed and was a joy to watch in red and white as the season reached its climax.
“Last season I didn’t have a pre-season with the boys because I had surgery on my Achilles and I needed more time for it to heal," he said. "But the previous year I completed a whole pre-season and if you can do that it gives you a basis for the whole season. That’s how important it is."
Many of the Club's youngsters joined the first team for this summer's Asia tour, including the likes of Chuba Akpom, Serge Gnabry, Gedion Zelalem and Ignasi Miquel. Rosicky was greatly encouraged by their performances and has been happy to help out with their development. “
Read the interview with Tomas and more in the latest edition
For them it’s a great experience to live with the team on tour, and they can learn from the more experienced guys. You can see there is plenty of talent there. It depends on how well they will do now - how hard they work. From what I have seen though they want to do well and want to be successful. Character-wise they are all good boys and I’m happy to see them doing well. I hope they can make the next step.
“Obviously, as a senior player I’m trying to share the things that I already know and they don’t know. So I try to help them as much as I can, and from then it depends on them. All the younger boys are very talented players. There is a long way to go for them but you can see that they have talent and they really want to learn. That’s the most important thing."
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