Wenger: 'Midfielder our big game player' - how's he performed in big games this season?

Arsenal boss labels attacker as Mr Reliable when it comes to the more significant matches, but what do his statistics read in the big games this season?

'He is, yes,' answered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, as quoted by the club's official website, in response to whether Tomas Rosicky is a big-game Gunner.

There is increasing speculation that Wenger has earmarked Rosicky as fundamental to Arsenal's cause in tonight's Champions League Round of 16 fixture against Bayern Munich, to be contested inside the Emirates Stadium, as the Czech Republic captain did not feature in last weekend's FA Cup fifth round test versus Liverpool.

The Frenchman continued: 'You know I use him always when I think it's the right moment and for me he's a very important player in our club. I am a bit cautious sometimes with him but he's player who plays always a big part in the final part of the season.'

The 33-year-old may not be under the microscope as much as the club's record purchase Mesut Ozil, attract the commendation that defensive partners Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are enjoying or even the obtain as many column inches as the club's British core in Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and, most recently, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the midfielder/winger is one of the most accomplished at N5.

Rosicky, after all, has he has 94 international caps, three league titles with Sparta Prague, a Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund and a plethora of individual prizes. He was even the subject of admiring statements made by Ozil earlier in the year as the German lauded him as one of the best in the country.

PlayerMatchMatchTouchTotal PassAcc PassChanceTackleInterceptionMins
Rosicky v Liverpool 10 81 64 56 1 2 1 72
Rosicky v Chelsea 17 62 53 45 0 1 0 90
Rosicky v United 26 54 45 37 1 2 0 74

Is Rosicky really a player for the bigger matches? The statistical evidence suggests he does raise his performance in the more significant games. For instance, in three mighty matches against fellow Premier League title challengers, Rosicky returned statistics far greater than his average for the season as a whole.

Against teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, he was on the ball and making more touches, on average (average for these three matches directly below) than he was throughout his 16 domestic appearances in the division as a whole. He also made more accurate passes and attempted more tackles.

PlayerClubTouchTotal PassAcc PassChanceTackleInterceptionAppsMins
Rosicky Arsenal 65.67 54.00 46.00 0.67 1.67 0.33 3 236

The few significant areas Rosicky does better against the 'lesser' teams of the league is in overall chance creation (however, these figures may be distorted as, against Liverpool and United, he was substituted, rather than completing the game. If he finished each match he would have additional time to create more chances) and intercepting the football.

PlayerClubTouchTotal PassAcc PassChanceTackleInterceptionAppsMins
Rosicky Arsenal 43.88 36.75 31.06 1.06 0.88 0.50 16 827

image: © wonker

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