Does Tomas Rosicky have a future at Arsenal?

By Avenell Dave

A lot has been made about the lack of experience and maturity by Arsenal on a number of occasions recently, most notably against Wigan at the weekend.

But there have been a number of occasions when there have been precious few leaders guiding and driving the younger members of the team on.

The criticism of Arsenal having a soft underbelly or dismantling the Invincibles team too quickly has become all too relevant.

We have players such as Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie who have done their best to drive the younger members of the team forward, but that has come from their own personal drive and determination and from learning from older and wiser players when they first arrived at the club.

A lot has been said about Tomas Rosicky's lack of impact last week at Sh*te H*rt L*ne and I can't help thinking that questions should be asked about his future at the club.

When 'Little Mozart' arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2006, he had a reputation as one of Europe's finest attacking midfielders, confirming his talent with a decent goal against the USA.

But the doubts about his fitness soon came to haunt us when he broke down with an injury that Arsene Wenger suggested would keep him out for a few weeks and ended up costing him 18 months of his career.

He has done enough in Wenger's eyes to warrant a new contract but I wonder now whether that was premature.

Even if you put his niggling injuries down to the wear and tear of English football, rather than the fragile nature of his body, his impact for us has been indifferent. Fifty Premier League starts in four years is not exactly reliable.

When the sun is out and the opposition sit back, Rosicky has the time and talent to pull teams apart.

But when the opposition is stronger, Wenger either doesn't field him or he brings him on late more often than not.

Do other sides look at the teamsheet and quake about how he can hurt them in the way Cesc Fabregas can?

The fact is that the Wigan defeat, shocking and unacceptable as it is, came against an Arsenal side without its first choice goalkeeper, first choice centre-backs, at least two of the first choice midfield trio and without RvP leading the line, not to mention Andrey Arshavin tormenting the opposition if it suited him.

Great things are expected of Samir Nasri and he has the potential to be a fine player. In fits and starts he can torment opponents and gets stuck in and he will become more consistent as he gets older.

That's where Rosicky comes in.

Apart from Big Sol at the back, Rosicky was our most experienced regular player on Sunday and as captain for the Czech Republic, I would have expected him to lead the team, armband or not.

He should have rallied the team when things went flat, kept probing for a third goal, kept the rest of the players alert and hungry, particularly dozy Abou Diaby in midfield and very raw Craig Eastmond.

But there was none of that. Rosicky was lost in the indifference of the performance just at the time when a player of his stature should lead.

As we saw last week, his finishing has gone to pot and too often he tries reverse fancy flicks which do nothing but gift the ball back to the opposition.

At his peak, Rosicky can be a world beater but a solid asset to the team who leads by example and knows when to do the simple things and when to try the unexpected? I don't think so.

This isn't about making scapegoats for Sunday - there were way too many poor performances to single anyone out for that disgrace of a defeat.

But it did illustrate that even one of our more senior players could not be relied upon to rally the team when they needed it most.

Rosicky is a luxury who just hasn't delivered enough and I for one would have hoped that he had a fine World Cup this summer as a window to a new challenge away from the Emirates.

Sadly, captain Rosicky's Czech team came behind Slovenia and Slovakia and so failed to qualify.