"Impossible is nothing" was the quote from Robin van Persie when asked about Arsenal's chances of qualifying to the quarterfinals of the Champions League by overturning a four-goal deficit against AC Milan. The Gunners and Van Persie very nearly managed to attain the "impossible" as they came within a whisker of at least taking the tie to extra-time. At the end, the Gunners bowed out of the Champions League having shown their immense quality and restored their pride, which had been hugely hit following their 4-0 drubbing at the San Siro.
On this exciting night against AC Milan, there were many superb performances from the Arsenal players out of which Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky were particularly impressive. The former has made a superb impact in his first season at the club and has a very bright future ahead of him. The latter's recent performances has been a huge boost to the team and is one of the main reasons for the team's revival following their disappointing defeats against AC Milan and Sunderland.
Rosicky has struggled for fitness and form in the last three seasons and the midfielder, nicknamed the "Little Mozart," has not been at his best for the Gunners. Despite the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the summer, Rosicky was not a regular starter for the Gunners for most of this season, with youngster Aaron Ramsey preferred to the Czech midfielder. However, his performances of late has shown that he has the calibre to be a very important player for the club and could have a lasting impact on the results this season.
Due to Aaron Ramsey's injury sustained against Sunderland in the FA Cup, Rosicky started the game against their archrivals Spurs in central midfield. Despite going two goals down, the Gunners refused to lose hope and their spirit was epitomized by the "Little Mozart" who worked tirelessly to establish Arsenal's dominance in midfield. He glided past the likes of Scott Parker and Sandro to provide an immense attacking threat and one of his many such marauding runs enabled him to score from close range to complete Arsenal's turnaround against Spurs.
He was rightly praised by the Arsenal supporters who recognized his contribution and as a result of that, he kept his place in the team against Liverpool and AC Milan. Against Liverpool, he looked bright in the first half of the game but the trio of Mikel Arteta, Alex Song and Rosicky lost the midfield battle as Liverpool were on top for most of the game. However, the brilliance of Van Persie ensured all the three points in one of the toughest fixtures of the season.
Arsenal went into the game against Milan with the odds stacked up against them and delivered a performance which merited great applause from their supporters. Rosicky was at the heart of almost every Arsenal attack as the duo of Chamberlain and Rosicky dominated the midfield battle. The midfielder, who has not scored many in his last three seasons, scored the second of their three goals providing a clever finish from a poor clearance by Thiago Silva.
The 31-year-old midfielder eventually tired out but continued to play the entire game and looked crest-fallen by the outcome of the tie. However, he has shown Arsenal that he has the quality to provide the creativity they have missed due to the departures of Fabregas and Nasri and the absence of Jack Wilshere due to injury. Rosicky has been criticized by many in the recent past but his recent performances indicate how good he can be when he has the confidence and is played in a central attacking midfield role.
Though Aaron Ramsey has come under immense scrutiny for his performances this season, he also remains a key player for the Gunners and would do well to learn from the Czech international. Rosicky, like Ramsey, was also criticized but has shown the mental strength to bounce back and show his quality and mettle. With Ramsey and Rosicky back to full fitness, the Gunners do have decent depth in their midfield.
On current form, Rosicky is certain to keep his place in the team and deservedly so as well considering that he has given his full effort in the games that he has played this season. Arsenal have had various problems this season including lack of creativity and goals from midfield. However, if Rosicky can maintain this form, he will provide an ideal foil to the likes of Van Persie and Theo Walcott and can provide excellent service to the forward line.
Rosicky has the quality to be a mainstay for the Gunners and needs to be playing regularly in order to attain his best form. Arsene Wenger has shown great faith in the quality of the midfielder and Rosicky could prove to be the difference for the Gunners. If he can perform consistently, then there is a good chance that Arsenal will pick up more points which will enhance their chances of finishing in the top four.
The Gunners are currently only four points behind Spurs and they do have a good chance of closing the gap if they can maintain their superb league form. Spurs have lost their last two games and will be under immense pressure to perform which is why it is very important for the Gunners to be very consistent. Arsenal have shown that they have the quality and the resilience and the only question is whether they have the depth and the consistency to snatch the third spot from Tottenham, who are bound to drop points along the way.
Arsenal face Newcastle on Monday which means that the players will get a decent amount of rest and need to take the positives from the game against Milan. The Emirates crowd will be behind them when they take on the Magpies, who are also in contention for the fourth spot. Arsenal need their experienced players to step up and Rosicky has shown that he has the ability to stand up and be counted when the team needs it most.
Rosicky is finally managing to string a number of games without injuries and is also in form and it is imperative for Arsenal and for him that he continues to perform consistently from now till the end of the season. With the 31-year-old also out of contract at the end of the season, it will provide further motivation and should he continue to impress, there is no doubt that Wenger will be interested in extending his contract beyond the end of this season.
The 31-year-old might be one of the more underrated players at Arsenal but his contributions to the team in the last three weeks in particular has been invaluable. The Gunners have a great chance to finish ahead of Spurs but for that to happen, the gifted playmaker needs to perform at his best and could be the key for Arsenal to secure automatic qualification to the Champions League.
This article is also featured on The Invincible Gunners, a blog on Arsenal.