2013/14: Arsenal's Season Blogged - Sagas, songs & a cup


As the enthralling World Cup comes to a close and eyes begin to turn towards next season, I thought Read more

Gunnerblog End of Season Awards 2014


It’s that time again. Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. The results are in. PLAYER OF THE SEASON In a season Read more

A Party 9 years in the Making


A cup nine years in the winning. A party nine years in the making. A blog nine years in Read more

Thoughts from Wembley: Torturous afternoon’s Final flourish


I don’t know about you, but I remembered reaching an FA Cup final as a good deal more fun. Don’t Read more

Everton 3 - 0 Arsenal: Is it over?


Is it over? Not the title race. That’s been over for a while. Not the “race for fourth”, either. That’s Read more

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Tomas Rosicky can no longer afford to gamble with his fitness

Posted on by GilbertoSilver Posted in 2013-14 Season, Sponsored Posts |  

Tomas Rosicky has not met up with the Czech squad for this international break. It’s an eminently sensible decision. Rosicky has only just returned from injury, and with the Czech team’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup all but gone, he’d be wasting his time trekking to Prague. For a man as vulnerable to injury as Rosicky, it’s an unnecessary gamble.

Last week, Rosicky turned 33. In football terms, he is an old man. It’s difficult to believe when you look at him. Like his doppelganger Mark Owen, time’s ravages seem to have no influence over his youthful visage. Rosicky’s performances, too, bely his advancing years. During the game against West Brom, I remarked that he can look more sprightly than players who are more than a decade his junior.

Rosicky’s nick-name in Germany was “Little Mozart” after the gloriously gifted melodist. However, he’s more a conductor than a composer, setting the rhythm of the Arsenal midfield. There’s a certainly irony about the fact that the player most capable of lifting Arsenal’s tempo is also the oldest man in the squad.

Rosicky must start looking after his best interests – and those of his employers. Every time he goes away with the Czech squad it feels like a game of roulette – and one wherein landing on black lands Rosicky with another troubling hamstring problem. Arsene Wenger would prefer Rosicky did his gambling somewhere like the bwin casino than on the playing field.

Arsenal need Rosicky. Even with the addition of the £42.5m man Mesut Ozil and the emergence of lauded youngsters like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, Rosicky brings something unique to the Arsenal set-up. He combines the drive and feistiness of Mathieu Flamini with the flair of Arsenal’s more celebrated midfielders. His use of the ball is rarely spectacular, but never less than intelligent. His style is characterised by a smooth efficiency.

The good news is that well-informed sources in the Czech Republic indicate that Rosicky has been offered a new deal. Despite competition from clubs in the MLS, Rosicky is said to be keen on the idea of ending his career with Arsenal, and is likely to extend.

While he’ll never be offered more than a one-year rolling contract, he could pick up several more of those before retirement beckons. The example of Giggs shows what is possible given careful preparation and delicate management. However, the rigours of international football are hazardous. Giggs, under pressure from United boss Alex Ferguson, called time on his Wales career at the age of 33.

Rosicky would be wise to follow suit.

Arsenal’s purple patch will be short-lived – so enjoy it

Posted on by GilbertoSilver Posted in 2012-13 Season, Sponsored Posts | 42 Guns

There’s plenty that’s new about this current Arsenal team. Perhaps most obviously, it seems to enjoy defending. Moreover, there’s a new set of personnel: it tells you something when Theo Walcott is suddenly the longest serving player.

Out on the pitch, they look different too. Arsenal take to the field in a home strip with a controversial blue hoop on the armband, and a strikingly unfamiliar purple away shirt. As a rule this blog focuses on events on the pitch, but seeing as this post is sponsored by JD Sports I thought I’d touch on a bugbear of mine.

Arsenal’s kits always seem to be the subject of some controversy – fans often feel disappointed by what they perceive as a failure to adhere to the traditions of the club. But modern football puts demands on the club which mean they can’t simply put out a classic red-and-white strip with a yellow-and-blue away year on year. Allow Arsenal’s Head of Marketing, Tom Fox, to explain:

“We liaise with our kit supplier Nike and we can’t limit the design scope too much otherwise it’s too difficult to come up with a new design. We do set some ground rules. For the home shirt, we say it has to be a red shirt with white sleeves. But beyond that, Nike needs scope with the design, also so that they can sell the shirt in China, the U.S. etc.”

Global selling potential is, unfortunately, a far bigger priority than the preservation of historical heraldry. As much as we’d like to see the traditional look year in year out, it simply can’t happen.

If you want to buy yourself a sponsor-less seventies replica shirt, there are plenty of places you can do that. In the meantime, we have to accept commercial realities and try our best to embrace the designs Nike put before us.

For what it’s worth, I think the recent purple reign kit is a pretty good effort. Whilst it’s not necessarily a colour we associate with Arsenal, the regal hue reflects the club’s history, class, and status. A quick glance at the away kit on show at Spurs shows how bad things could be by comparison.

As for the home kit, we’re lying if we pretend blue hasn’t featured on home kits before. Just have a look at this page to see how often it has occurred. And as Tom Fox points out, we and our wallets can be grateful for one thing:

“We’ve done a two year home shirt this year and we’re the only club in the world to do that.”

If you ask me, this effort more than merits hanging around for a couple of years. Especially if we keep playing in it as we currently are.