Tomas Rosicky has revealed that he and his Arsenal midfield cohorts aim to win the ball back from opponents inside three seconds in a bid to optimise pressure in the centre of the park.
The Czech international, who has had his most consistent season since joining the club in 2006, has been fundamental in maintaining the Gunners’ high tempoe pressing game and believes much of it has to do with the versatility of teammates Mikel Arteta and Alex Song.
Speaking to the Arsenal Magazine, the 31-year-old stated:
“The balance we have looks great at the moment and the midfield complement each other very well.
“Mikel and Alex may start behind me on the pitch but they’re both very good in the attacking phase, so it’s not that we have a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder and an attacking midfielder.
“We’re not rigid, we often alternate and I sometimes even cover for those two. We can all play forwards but we can all defend, and this is equally important.
“I count myself in that, because if I’m the highest one of the three it means I’m the first to start the pressure. What we’re doing very well at the moment is that, when we lose the ball, we begin pressurising immediately.
“The three seconds afterwards are vital and I think we are all aware of that. When the opposition get possession, we’re after them immediately.”
It’s a style which has most notably been refined by Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona side in recent season, and one which despite fleetingly showing its head at the Emirates has not been as regularly on view as many would like.
Recognising the need to play with consistency, Rosicky continued: “It’s something we are trying to stick to – when you lose the ball, try to win it back straightaway.
“The possession stats against Manchester City are a good example, it was 65 per cent for us and that was because we kept getting the ball back. It’s important tactical stuff and we are doing it very well.”
Arsene Wenger will of course not be able to call on the experience of Arteta for the final games of the season meaning Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby and Yossi Benayoun will fight it out for the right to play in midfield alongside Rosicky and Song.
You can read the full interview with Tomas Rosicky, in which he talks about his current form, his hopes for the Euros and much more, in the May issue of the Official Arsenal Magazine. out now priced at £3.25. Visit here or call 0845 301 7626 (+44 845 301 7626) to subscribe.