Arsenal - March Player of the Month
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March Player of the Month

As is usually the case when a month has yielded a winning run, there are several contenders for the March Player of the Month award. Players back from injury or simply just back into form have been commonplace and a relatively quiet period with injuries have ensured this. We have our full backs back from prolonged absences and it`s no coincidence that their full return coincided with a seven match winning streak. Bacary Sagna is Arsenal`s Mr. Consistent, exhibiting the sort of winning attitude that has been an exception rather than a rule on the Arsenal of the last five years. It was his timely header against Spurs in February that kick-started the jams in terms of the winning streak.

Kieran Gibbs too has played himself into fitness and form which has left Andre Santos bench-bound since his own comeback from a layoff. Wojciech Szczesny has looked a better, more commanding keeper with the more settled defence in front of him- a unit which has been underpinned in March- as it has been all season, by Laurent Koscielny. Alex Song continues his metamorphosis into a deep lying playmaker (though considering he attempted 7 through balls on Saturday with only one finding a red shirt, it might be a transformation that`s gone to his head a little), Arteta has been his usual uncomplicated self.

Since the return of Bacary Sagna; Theo Walcott has found form again. There are viable contenders everywhere. But I don`t think I`d find an awful lot of argument by giving Tomas Rosicky a second Player of the Month award this season. Signs of Rosicky`s form have been there this season. Indeed, I think they`ve always been there when he`s played, but too often injury has disrupted his rhythm. At this point, he`s now had around 3 months without picking up a knock and it`s seen him hit pay dirt. His performance and goal against Tottenham appear to have represented a watershed moment that has taken his form into the stratosphere.

I`ve put forward many times what it is Rosicky brings to us at the head of the midfield three. Simplicity. Pass, move, pass move. But crucially, it`s the speed at which he does it that is so useful to Arsenal. In many ways, we`re still a team grappling with an identity change since the departures of Cesc and Nasri. With the likes of Gervinho and Chamberlain now mirroring the flank Walcott occupies, we`re trying to move to a game built on speed and penetration again rather than artistry. Rosicky aids this transition because he keeps the ball moving at pace. He also has a canny knack of going past a player before releasing the ball. Not only does that inject urgency into our play, but it takes obstacles away from the forwards he passes to.

When you have a clever forward like van Persie, who exploits pockets of space so well and so subtly and pacey wide men (except for when we`re playing Ramsey on the left I suppose?!), this can prove to be an invaluable weapon. Rosicky has gone from squad player to first team member in a short space of time, which tells you everything you need to know about his form. He looks a much more potent attacking threat now too. He has frustrated Gooners in his spell here for his reluctance to use his excellent shot. In the last month, with renewed confidence, this anxiety has disappeared. See the cool control and steer against Milan. Howard foiled him from outside the box twice against Everton, whilst Rosicky registered more shots on target than any other Arsenal player at Loftus Road.

His rise in form has also coincided with Ramsey`s dip. Ramsey doesn`t deserve a tenth of the criticism he gets. But watching Rosicky is a good learning curve for him. Ramsey actually passes the ball more often than Rosicky and attempts more through balls, has more shots on goal. Ramsey is always in a good position to do something. But as with any 21 year old player, his execution still needs work. That comes with time and practise. But timing is crucial too; Rosicky is a more efficient player at the moment. You`d jolly well hope he would be too given that he`s 10 years Ramsey`s senior. The good news is that Rosicky recently signed a two and a half year contract extension. I`m told Rosicky is considered an excellent influence on the training ground and one would imagine that acting as a mentor to the likes of Ramsey and Wilshere formulated part of the contract negotiation with the manager. For now, he`s a thoroughly decent influence on the pitch too; hence his second Player of the Month award this season. LD.

August- Thomas Vermaelen
September- Robin van Persie
October- Robin van Persie
November- Laurent Koscielny
December- Mikel Arteta
January- Tomas Rosicky
February- Robin van Persie

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Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday April 3 2012

Time: 9:41AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Great article and choice though TV 5 ran him very close - two game winning goals which were invaluable. Rosicky has taken on the 'Fabregas' role in the team in the last 3 months and has been very impressive. While he doesn't have as wide a passing range as Cesc did, Rosicky's superb dribbling, short passing and high tempo play has redeemed his reputation in our eyes. Staying injury free is key as TR 7 always had top drawer class and ability as a footballer.
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03/04/2012 10:15:00

very good breakdown the top players from March and I think a fair choice. Very good last paragraph too.
No 10
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03/04/2012 11:13:00

Who woulda thunk it huh? There were times I thought he may have to retire, and now he's playing some of his best stuff. Just as with van Persie it goes to show a little perseverance pays dividends sometimes.
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03/04/2012 14:19:00

good choice ld. i don't think many would argue with that. on ramsey, i am really concern that he may end up to be the next denilson. both of them we considered very talented for their age when they were first spotted around 16-17 year-old. denilson had always looked good in match statistics i.e. the number of passes completed, the percentage of passing accuracy etc. however, he rarely had any impact on the game; never really a treat offensively nor solid defensively. most of his passes were sideways. i am afraid i am beginning to notice this in ramsey although i would give him the benefit of doubt due to his long term injury. if a cm does not possess the exceptional qualities like fabregas, vieira etc, he can still go far if has the tenacity and drive like parlour & flamini (to a lesser extend). ramsey gets into good position in the box occasionally but he has the tendency to over-complicate things. as for his passing, most of them were either sideways like denilson or over ambitious. he has to learn from rosicky that a simple quick and direct forward pass is the best pass
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03/04/2012 14:28:00

Not sure I've noticed Ramsey doing much sideways passing myself. If anything, he hasn't quite got the nack yet of passing sideways when there's little else on. Decision making is key and that comes with experience, I think that's all Ramsey needs. He doesn't shy away in games, he takes a hell of a lot of shots, which suggests he's not really overcomplicating at all. He just needs to work on his accuracy a tad and learn when the pass, the shot or the conservative ball is the best. That comes with time. Personally, I think him an awfully long way removed from another Denilson. I think that's just a convenient recent comparison and comparisons are all the rage. You could just as easily point to Cesc in the last year at Highbury when he was finding his feet. He scored 3 goals and came out with something like 3 assists too.
Little Dutch
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03/04/2012 14:53:00

I think we do need to remember that Ramsey is still very young. I mean van Persie is what? 27? And it's only the past few years he's really started to become world class. Of course a bit of that was down to injury, but he still had his problems. It's only very rarely do you get players such as Fabregas and Messi who are top notch at such a young age. It's also one of the reasons I really don't like it when people suggest getting rid of Walcott, he's still a kid and he does have the potential to be another Thierry Henry. Henry couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo when he first came to Arsenal. Patience is sometimes key .... unless your name is Chamakh, in which case that ship has long since sailed.
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03/04/2012 17:10:00

I agree with the choice of Rosicky but feel it could (not as easily, though) have been Song or Vermaelen. The turn of pace, the 180 degrees spin on the ball he is wont to do when he needs to shake an attending opponent off his back, the determined look he wears before a game and near-childish joy he appears to get from giving an assist or scoring; all these came to the fore in the last few weeks culminating in March being the month most fans began to take notice. Rosicky has been a breath of fresh air to the creative force of the team and will be mentioned as we tell the story of the 7 games winning run. Top lad.
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03/04/2012 18:21:00

Tomas has always been a good player when the tempo of the game is fast. He enjoyed the most part of his arsenal career when Hleb, Cesc and Flamini were the core of the midfield. I went back to watch one of my archives (Arsenal Vs AC Millan) a couple of years ago. That game was played under 100miles/hr. Milan couldn't cope. Hleb was razor sharp so was Tomas and Flamini. The slowest of all was Cesc but he turned on the fast and furious in him as well. Each time Rosicky plays with Ramsey, he never looked good bcos Ramsey slows the game down so much, you will think it was Nasri. Guys take a closer look at Ramsey, after each pass, he is standing behind the last pass or passing back to the defence. You now ask yourself, what was the purpose of his passes? Is it to draw opponents away from their defensive play, dribble past the opponent, move towards opposition goal line or just another pass? 8 out of 10 is just another pass. Once we no longer have Djourou, Almunia, Fabianski, Squillaci, Chamakh playing, the boo boys will turn to Ramsey as he seems to be the weak link.
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03/04/2012 19:50:00

My player of the month though is Laurent Koscielny. The best defender this season.
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03/04/2012 19:53:00

Here is another poll question. Who has the best TURNING in the EPL? Rosicky or Suarez
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03/04/2012 20:02:00

That should read Silva or Modric. And the answer is Silva
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03/04/2012 20:19:00

Depending on what you mean by turning it should actually say Robin van Persie. Not really a poll, more of a statement.
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03/04/2012 21:42:00

I think the reference is to the swiveling move to throw off or get opponents off their backs. I like RvP's turns and feints,back to opponent, but Rosicky does have a unique style that's befuddling.
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04/04/2012 08:40:00

and to think someone said he would never play for us again let alone pull on an Arsenal shirt.
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05/04/2012 15:49:00

3 months back, there were stats proving that Ramsey was better and more effective than Rosicky. So things change pretty quickly. Similar to 3 months back, the truth is somewhere in between - Ramsey is not as poor as some are making out, but he has suffered a drop in form recently, that's for sure. He's got enough quality to make it a permanent fixture in this team but just not now. The key with Rosicky is the speed of his movement through mid field, his dribbling, his inter changes.....its been a while since i've seen that since cesc also slowed things down in mid field. He opens up space with this movement.
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06/04/2012 09:15:00

Kolchieny is it for me, considering that March rating included the last game in which I think TV5 was poor, with the 2 goals coming through him and Rosicky according to his recent standard was a bit off. However, that could be due to Ramsey being on. I noticed that Rosicky plays better when someone else other than Ramsey is playing. I would really like to see Rosicky in this form play along side JW.
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06/04/2012 12:30:00


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