Arsenal won the 175th North London derby yesterday thanks to a sumptuous strike from Tomas Rosicky, their evergreen Czech midfielder.
Perhaps this is not a coincidence, because Arsenal seem to have an unerring knack of winning when Rosicky scores: the Gunners have won 14 and drawn 1 of the 17 Premier League (PL) games in which Rosicky, who signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, has found the back of the net.
This means that Arsenal gain an average of 2.53 points per PL game when Rosicky scores, compared with an average of 1.94 points per PL game since Rosicky arrived in 2006. If averaged out across the whole of a season, this comes to an average of 96.12 points – far higher than the overall average (73.55).
You might be considering this result no great surprise – after all, if anyone scores for Arsenal, then they are more likely to win – so it is useful to compare Rosicky’s impact with that of two other goalscoring midfielders for Arsenal in recent times: Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri.
In the 37 PL games in which Walcott has so far scored for Arsenal, 24 have been won, 7 have been drawn and 6 have been lost, giving an average points per game of 2.14. Over the course of a season, this would equate to an average of 81.14 points.
In the 15 games in which Nasri scored for Arsenal during his time at the club, 11 resulted in victories, 2 in draws and a further 2 in defeats, giving an average points per game of 2.33. Over the course of a season, this would equate to an average of 88.67 points.
Yet Rosicky’s injury plight has been a perennial concern for Arsenal ever since he arrived at the club. Indeed, the maximum number of minutes he has completed in a single campaign has been 1,762 – still only 53% of the total – and he averages a measly 33% of playing time per season.
So, although his goals, when he scores them, tend to have a big impact, the sad truth for Arsenal fans is that he simply isn’t around often enough to win them a large number of points.
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