As Arsene Wenger celebrates his 17th anniversary as the manager of Arsenal, he will be happy with the Gunners' current position at the top of the league table. But he will also be aware of the various challenges they will face over the course of the season.
The Gunners' manager is one of the most experienced managers in the world and after having experienced a turbulent time at the club in the last few years, this season seems to be his best option to turn the tide and help them end their trophy drought.
With less than one-sixth of the season being played, talk of the title is ridiculous as of now but should the Gunners display the same resolve and quality, then it could become a reality. The Gunners are finding ways of winning games despite them not playing well, as demonstrated against Swansea City.
In the game, 18-year-old Serge Gnabry stepped up to score a very vital goal for Arsenal. The Gunners have been badly hit by injuries to their attacking players and their lack of squad depth has meant that Wenger has been forced to use Gnabry in the starting line-up.
However, the German teenager has responded superbly and has shown that he is unfazed at this level which bodes extremely well for his future.
Wenger is one of the best when it comes to developing talented youngsters into extremely good players at the highest level and will be happy with the potential of Gnabry. Despite the impressive performance of Gnabry, there will be questions in Wenger's mind as to whether or not he should start the teenager in the highly important Champions League game against Napoli.
That is because of the return to fitness of Tomas Rosicky,who has been injured for the last few weeks, and Wenger will have to make a decision as to whether or not Rosicky should start ahead of Gnabry.
The 32-year-old is one of the most experienced players at Arsenal and did start the season well before being injured on international duty. Whether or not Gnabry retains his place in the team is a decision which Wenger has to make ahead of the Napoli clash but Wenger will be pleased to have another quality option in Rosicky to call upon if needed.
Tomas Rosicky is in the final year of his contract and there are questions if there is a long term future for the Czech international at the Emirates.
According to John Cross of the Mirror, Wenger is already planning on offering a new deal for the midfielder, nicknamed the 'Little Mozart' and it certainly would be great for the Gunners if they can tie him down to a new deal.
Advantages for Arsenal in Extending Rosicky's Deal
The Gunners currently have an excellent midfield having signed Mesut Özil for a club-record fee as well as keeping hold of all their other options. In addition to that, Aaron Ramsey has shown brilliant progress from the previous campaign while Jack Wilshere has had a decent preseason and will be improving his fitness and form this season.
As of now, if all their midfielders are fit, it is not likely that Rosicky is going to feature in the starting XI for the Gunners.
However, Arsenal are a team who have had a lot of injury problems in the past.
And even currently, they are in the midst of an injury crisis to their attack having had four wingers ruled out due to injuries. Rosicky is a very important player in such scenarios because of his versatility and his experience of playing in different roles in the midfield.
Also, despite his age, he possesses an excellent burst of pace and has shown he can perform with full intensity throughout the game. His performances were very influential in Arsenal securing the Champions League place last season, and he also started this season quite well, putting in an excellent performance against Tottenham before getting injured on international duty.
The experienced midfielder has established a superb understanding with Ramsey, Wilshere, Flamini (from the past), Arteta and Cazorla and revels in Arsenal's style of play helping them carve open defenses with their incisive passing.
Also, Rosicky excels in increasing intensity of Arsenal's play and presses with purpose high up the field which helps them win the ball back in dangerous areas.
It is clear that Wenger trusts Rosicky to do a good job for the team and the Czech international repaid the faith shown in him by performing immensely in the crunch moments during both the 2011-12 season as well as the 2012-13 season. With the Gunners soon to be challenging for trophies, they will need players like Rosicky, who has the experience and the desire and can help them finish strongly like in previous seasons.
Also, it is very clear that he loves playing for the Gunners and is desperate for the team to win trophies in the near future. However, the question on his mind would be as to whether or not he will be important enough to feature regularly for the Gunners.
Advantages for Tomas Rosicky in Extending his Contract
With the Gunners signing Mesut Özil in a record deal, there are doubts as to whether Rosicky will continue to be important for the Gunners. The Czech international, like the German midfielder, is also primarily an attacking midfielder and has excelled for the Gunners this calendar year playing in the role with Santi Cazorla playing on the left flank.
However, with the arrival of Özil, Rosicky will not be a starter for the Gunners if everyone is fit.
However with regard to playing time, Arsenal do have a short squad with a number of versatile players, which is why Rosicky will certainly get his chance at Arsenal, though not always in his favored attacking midfield role. He has already played as the deep lying midfielder and over the course of this season, he is sure to play a number of games.
However, Rosicky is not the fittest and does miss a number of games every season due to muscle injuries.
He has suffered a number of injuries in his career and has missed a considerable portion of games in the last six years for the Gunners. Also at 32 years of age, his injury record means that he will have to be managed well and cannot play every game from the start.
If he does move to another club in search of playing time, there again he will have to be managed properly and will not be able to play every game even if he is of higher quality than his competitors for the attacking midfield role.
Instead, if he chooses Arsenal, he will continue to play a number of games and though he will not be the most important player, his contribution will be well appreciated by Arsenal fans who do adore him.
Also at this stage of his career, it is unlikely that he will be the main player at a top Champions League club and staying at Arsenal offers him the chance to continue playing at the highest level. In truth, the wages which will be offered by the Gunners will certainly not be as high as some of the other offers he might get. But for him to continue playing for the Czech national team, he needs to play at the highest level for a Champions League club like Arsenal.
The Czech international is well-liked by the fans and respected by both manager and his colleagues and he does seem to be happy at Arsenal. Also, having had a barren spell with regard to trophies during his time at Arsenal, he will do well to stay here considering their best chance to win trophies is in the future now that the shackles are off regarding their transfer spending.
The likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have shown how important experienced players can be in pursuit of a title race and it is something which Arsene Wenger needs to consider regarding what Rosicky has to offer to the team. Rosicky, if he stays at Arsenal forever, has the opportunity to cement his place as one of the most liked players at Arsenal.
It would certainly benefit both the player and the club were he to extend his contract and stay with the Gunners.