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Tomas Rosicky’s energy and perseverance drives Arsenal past Spurs

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Arsene Wenger’s decision to acquire Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day has been identified as the spark that’s led to Arsenal’s formidable form this season. The signing displayed the North London side’s title ambitions, and his presence has influenced his teammates to raise their overall game – but initially, it put Tomas Rosicky’s place in the squad at risk.

Rosicky, who most recently celebrated his 33rd birthday, has struggled to solidify a place in Arsenal’s XI throughout his eight-year spell in North London. Injuries have hampered the Czech’s ability to reach his expected potential, and with Arsenal possessing an abundance of creative players, his role within the squad was questionable.

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Here, the 33-year-old midfielder started alongside Santi Cazorla and Serge Gnabry in Arsenal’s attacking trio, behind Theo Walcott. Walcott aimed to attack space behind the fullbacks, Gnabry stuck to the touchline to provide width and isolate defenders – a logical approach based on Spurs’ fullbacks willingness to surge forward, while their centrebacks lack pace – whereas Cazorla drifted centrally to provide a creative spark.

Rosicky has occasionally slotted into the no.10 role behind the striker this season, opposed to Cazorla or Ozil, and it’s because the Czech midfielder provides a different element to Arsenal’s attack. Rosicky isn’t renowned for his sleek penetrating passes, or ability to take control of games – he’s an energetic direct threat that drives Arsenal forward, when their intricate passing is ineffective.

When Arsenal drew Everton at the Emirates this season, Wenger made a triple-substitution, which included Walcott and Rosicky replacing Cazorla and Jack Wilshere. It took 10 minutes for the duo to influence the match, as Rosicky’s long diagonal ball into the box met Walcott, and he nodded it towards Ozil, who gave Arsenal the lead from close range.

On two separate occasions, Rosicky drove Arsenal forward from deep positions in midfield, with swift, sleek combination play. Quick intricate passes with Cazorla and Wilshere enabled the 33-year-old to push forward and play a pass into Walcott, whose curling effort swerved inches wide of the net. Five minutes later, Rosicky dropped towards the halfway line to receive the ball, play a quick one-two with Wilshere, then inventively combine with Cazorla, who drifted infield and also curled his shot wide of the net.

The interesting feat about Rosicky is his admirable work-rate – he scampers around the pitch with the energy levels of a 20-year-old, quickly closing down the opposition, and breaking into tackles. Wenger’s decision to place him behind Walcott was with the intent of preventing Spurs from playing out of the back. For the most part, they were successful, and Rosicky was rewarded for his tireless running.

In the 61st minute, Rosicky closed down Danny Rose at the halfway line – the Czech subsequently dispossessed the Spurs left back, and shrugged off Kyle Walker, before cleverly chipping the ball over Hugo Lloris. Rosicky’s ability to drift into pockets of space and push runners forward is often overlooked, yet pivotal in an attack that can occasionally lack guile and penetration.

Although Rosicky could improve his goal-scoring/assist tally, the 33-year-old still offers a positive blend in Arsenal’s attack. His consistent dynamic style of play that involves direct running, and quick intricate passing has seen Rosicky quietly become one of Arsenal’s key men this season. Trophies have become a distant thought in the mind of Arsenal supporters, but Rosicky’s energetic play from midfield can play a decisive factor in ending their prolonged title drought.

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Posted by on January 4, 2014 in Match Recaps, Published Work

 

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Czech Republic 1-0 Poland

Match in a sentence

After being absolutely dreadful in their first game against Russia eight days ago, the Czech Republic put in a professional/mature performance to beat Poland 1-0 in a dreary match in Wroclaw, to win Group A.

Observations

  •  The scenario before both Group A games kicked off was simple; both Poland and the Czech Republic needed a win to advance.
  • The Czech Republic started with their usual 4-2-3-1, but the headlines that surrounded their starting XI was that they would be without the injured Tomas Rosicky. In his place started Daniel Kolar.
  • Poland also continued to play with their 4-1-4-1 that sees them unbeaten in this tournament thus far, but can see them eliminated if they don’t muster up a win.
  • Poland started the first 25 minutes really well and had several chances to take the lead, but their finishing was woeful. Good teams are clinical and in the first half the Polish were the opposite.
  • The Czech Republic settled into the game and started to gain a few chances, but a key note in this half was how compact their defence was. When Poland had possession of the ball they had practically two banks of four in their midfield.Poland was unable to get in behind their defence and both teams lacked that bit of creativity you need to score a goal.
  • Polish striker Robert Lewandowski seemed to be in no mans land. The space between him and the Polish five man midfield was far too much and he was lacking the quality service and support he needs to perform at a high level.
  • The second half started the way the first half ended and that was the Czech’s getting stronger, and threatening Tyton’s net frequently. The Polish legs were tiring and with Greece leading Russia 1-0, the Czechs knew they needed just one goal to top the group.
  • In the 72 minute they got that goal when Rafal Murawski lost possession to Tomas Hubschman in the Czech Republics half. Hubschman then picked out Milan Baros, who then played the ball wide left to Peter Jiracek who weaved past a defender in the box and calmly placed it by Polish goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
  • The goal was coming once the Czechs settled into the game, it was just a matter of when, The Polish player’s were losing possession easily due to tired legs and were just woeful in front of the net.
  • Poland had one last chance to get a point out of this game and potentially put Russia through, but was undone by a goal line clearance from Michal Kadlec who was simply outstanding tonight.
  • The co hosts Poland have now been eliminated as they failed to win a game in Euro 2012. Although, that might sound bad they did provide the neutrals and their fans with some great football, but fatigue and their finishing were their downfall. I do believe Smuda should possibly resign now. Their focus now is World Cup 2014 in Brazil, and it might be time to have a new approach towards their future. The reason being that this performance in front of their wonderful fans and lively atmosphere was absolutely uninspiring. If you aren’t able to be up for a game of this magnitude in front of your own fans, then there are many questions to ask about the Polish player’s and coach’s character. This is why their FA must re assess the situation at hand as they potentially have a bright future ahead of them.
  • After a lethargic start to Euro 2012, the Czech Republic see themselves win Group A and have a quarter-final date against either Portugal, Denmark or Holland Thursday night. They will also see Tomas Rosicky bounce back in time to be fit for the important clash as they’ll be up for it.
  • Although, this team has problems going forward and can switch off at times defensively, they’re a minimum of 180 minutes away from a Euro 2012 final. It is a long shot but this is cup football and if the Czech Republic can grow in confidence and fix these errors than anything is possible.

Three Stars

  1. Michal Kadlec
  2. Petr Jiracek
  3. Theodor Gebre Selassie

 Honourable Mentions to Vaclav Pilar and Tomas Hubschman who overall were good.

 Tyrrell Meertins

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Match Recaps

 

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Russia 4-1 Czech Republic

 

Game in a sentence

Russia sent the 15 other teams in this tournament a message that they’re here to win after convincingly dismantling the Czech Republic 4-1 in Wroclaw, Friday night.

Observations

  • In the first 14 minutes of this game the Czech seemed to have firm control of the game, dominating possession as well as the midfield and many including myself were waiting for an eventual break through.
  • It took a moment of brilliance from Russian star Alan Dzagoev as he escaped two men on the break and played the ball wide to Zyryanov. Zyryanov then crossed the ball into Kerzakov who headed the ball passed Cech into the post, and the ball fell right to Dzagoev who smashed the rebound into the back of the net.
  • Nine minutes later the Czech’s found themselves two goals down, as again their defense was sliced open by the Russians quick transitions, and the superb Andrei Arshavin’s misplaced pass found Shirokov, who slotted the ball past Cech and put the Russians up by two goals, less than 30 minutes into the game
  • During the first 15 minutes the Zenit midfield trio of Zyryanov, Shirokov and Denisov were unable to retain the ball, but as the game progressed and their nerves settled the trio simply outclassed Jiracek and Plasil
  • It was down to the speed in their transitions, fluid passing, precise movement off the ball, and their ability to be compact and efficient when defending that tore apart the Czech Republic.
  • The second half wasn’t as one-sided as the first as the Czech came out hungry and nicked a goal through a defensive lapse by the Russians. Plasil played a marvelous ball into Pilar, who tapped it past Malafeev after an exquisite first touch.
  • The score line could’ve been higher if Kerzakhov wore his shooting boots tonight. Although he didn’t find the back of the net, his movement off the ball and his ability to hold up the play to allow his teammates into the game was excellent, and should merit him a start against Poland.
  • The man that the media might try to push into the starting XI is Roman Pavyulchenko who was involved in both the third and fourth goal after only being on the field for 10 minutes. He provided a delicious ball to Dzagoev found the back of the net, and then shrugged off three defenders before smashing his shot into the top left corner in the matter of three minutes.
  • My man of the match was Alan Dzagoev. The highly rated 21-year-old was on the radar of world football’s top clubs before suffering a dip in form. He has now once again established himself as one of the upcoming stars after regaining his form under Dick Advocaat. His ability to carve passes through the defence and get into scoring positions is what sets him apart from many of his teammates. Today, he became the 2nd youngest player to score a brace in the European Championships. The youngest player to score a brace is Wayne Rooney.
  • The Russians seem to be a class ahead of the other two teams in this group and have sent out a message to all the teams in this tournament. Their ability to stay organized and then hit on the break with quick transitions and fluid passing should see them top this group and give whoever awaits in Group B a scare. As for the Czech Republic, they had a much better 2nd half, but they need to sort out their issues at the back as there were periods throughout the game where they were stretched far too easily. Going forward they lacked cohesion and didn’t give Baros enough service to cause the Russian back line any severe problems.

Three Stars

  1. Alan Dzagoev
  2. Andrei Arshavin
  3. Roman Pavyulchenko (10 minutes of brilliance)

 

3rd should really go to either Shirokov or Denisov.

Tyrrell Meertins

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Match Recaps

 

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