Who’s YOUR Runt?

Who’s Your Runt?

We all have our favourite players. It’s easy to love the best player in the squad. Too easy, in fact. That’s not what this piece is about. I’m more talking about your “Ray Parlours” of the team: That player you absolutely adore and that seems to speak to you more than anyone else. They’re the ones you find yourself sticking up for when others seem to misunderstand them, or slag them off, or overlook them. They’re the ones you bore everyone spitless going on about. On and on and on about, in fact.

They’re the ones you try to credit for anything good that happens on the field: That penalty save made while your guy was sitting on the bench? He did that.

They’re the ones you absolve for anything bad that happens on the field: Your guy chips his own goalie from the opposition penalty box? You heard the goalie call for it. But only you heard it.

Yep. He’s that guy. And you’re the guy that loves that guy.

He’s often the runt of the litter. That goofy fucker with the gimpy leg. He’s the puppy you picked from among all the perfect puppies because he wasn’t perfect. Rather, he was a bit wonky. He had that spirit that only you could see, that Little Orphan Annie spirit. Indefatigable. Derring-do. Like he doesn’t even know he’s a runt, a pip-squeak. You take them under your wing and you protect them from all the harm and hardship that this cruel world tries to inflict upon them

We all have one. Or even two. Or three. It’s a requirement for fandom. It’s in the book.

I have a few. For me there is Theo. And Arteta. And Diaby.

And there’s one more. Man, I love him. Is he the best player in the side? Probably not.

But he’s got the heart of a lion, he’s a slide-tackling Ninja, he plays every game like it might be his last (because it might,) and he is finally, just finally, getting his due recognition from all corners. Well, all Arsenal corners.

He is Marco Reus’s idol, and the idol of many a Bundesliga stud. He is the one, the inimitable, Tomas Rosicky.

And so it comes full circle. Hot new thing, Tomas Rosicky, fresh in from Dortmund, over-night success, Mr. Injury List, Mr. Out-Of-Favour, Mr. Forgotten, Mr. Deadwood…

Turns out he had a loose, misplaced ligament rattling around in his leg the whole time that the specialist couldn’t detect. A freakish injury causer. A misplaced ligament, but rarely a misplaced pass. Anyway, they’ve nailed that ligament in good, now. And so Tomas has become…

Mozart . Mr Accelerator Pedal. Mr Clutch. Mr Snap The Handbrake Off and Toss It Out The Window.

Mr One Touch. Why does Tomas Rosicky play so many “one-Touch” passes? Because he tried no-touches and was left unimpressed.

Mr. Cut Out The Middleman.

Tomas Rosicky’s car only has wear on the first and sixth gears. He threw away gears 2, 3, 4, and 5 to reduce the weight.

A slide-tackling Ninja. In Rosicky’s universe, all tackles are slide-tackles. That’s why God made grass all slidy. YOUTUBE

But…if only he would add some goals and assists to his game, they said… “Why didn’t you say so before,” he answered. He answered with that Spurs Derby screamer within a minute and twelve seconds of the kick off. And on the 42 minute mark at Sunderland he hopped, skipped, jumped and then dinked through the defense to provide his other entry to…

The Tomas Rosicky Goal Of The Season Competition. Yes, Rosicky has 2 of the top candidates for the Tomas Rosicky Goal Of The Season Competition. It is a competition in which he would appear to hold an unfair advantage, some have complained. Well, tough titty. Go get your own competition. But, eh, the minimum requirement is to make sure you score a number of world class goals to enter into it. That’s the tough part.

As for assists? Tomas does some of those. But, amazingly, he’s not a limelight guy. He’s Mr. Pre-assist. He’s the assister to the assister. The sorcerer’s apprentice’s apprentice. That Bayern goal that changed 12/13 season? Per heads to Koscielny, who knocks it to Cazorla, who one touches to Ramsey who runs on and then squares it to Rosicky on his right who lays it on a proverbial for Theo who squares it to Giroud at the near post. Bang. That sequence was almost identical to the Spurs 1-0 goal the day before we signed Ozil. And there are a thousand others. He’s not the guy standing over the dead body with a bloody knife in his hand. He’s not the guy who handed the guy the knife. He’s the guy who remembered to bring the knife. In a porno flick, Tomas is off-screen, warming up some more lube.

He’s 33 years old but in mint condition, twisting and turning before sprinting away to leave 23 year olds a second behind him in his wake. He’s a decade ahead of them. They’re a second behind. But he’s got a brand new shiny contract and he’s been saving himself. Benjamin Button and Dorian Grey have a picture of Tomas Rosicky in their attics.

Here is what Arsene said about him, upon signing the new contract:

“When he arrived here he was less a tactical player and more the ‘Mozart from Prague’ and he was purely creative, offensive player. Today he is a real organiser on the pitch as well. I like to have him in the team because he gives a real structure to our team.”

10 games to go in the season? That can mean only one thing. It’s Rosicky Time again for the 3rd season in a row. We’re actually getting quite good at run-ins. Thank you, Tomas. Mr Run-in. Mr. March, April and May. It’s Rosicky Time again.