Arsenal gave its latest tribute to a Gunners legend with the unveiling of a Dennis Bergkamp statue before Saturday’s 4-1 win over Sunderland, and Arsene Wenger paid Tomas Rosicky a lofty compliment after his big performance in the win.
”Rosicky took the role of Bergkamp today,” said the Arsenal manager.
The 33-year-old Czech midfielder scored a goal before halftime, making a 1-2 passing play off a Sunderland defender, and earlier provided a major part of the build-up along with Lukas Podolski before Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud combined to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead.
“Rosicky’s goal is one of the best. It’s how we want to play and, when it’s successful, you’re happy,” Wenger said after the match.
The match was one of smooth sailing for the Gunners who held 65 possession, won the corner battle 7-3 and put nine shots on target to Sunderland’s three.
It was also a strong return for Olivier Giroud, who scored a brace after a week of rumors of infidelity to both his wife and team (not that the two should be equated).
“I had no hesitation about his strength of character,” Wenger said of his French striker. “He did well.”
Wenger was also asked to reflect on Bergkamp’s contributions to the London club.
“He changed the destiny of the club as he was the first big star to arrive here,” Wenger said. “Everyone admired Dennis in our team, everyone speaks about his class. He was also loyal to this club.”
Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.
ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.
It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.
Elsewhere Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan
3. Dieumerci Mbokani, loan from Dynamo Kyiv to Hull — While Robbie Brady, Timm Klose, and Nathan Redmond got a lot of the headlines, Mbokani was a powerful part of the Canaries’ attack in an ill-fated campaign. At 30 he’s far from a long-term fix, but Mbokani should provide strength and skill to a Hull City side facing a very challenging campaign. Per 90 minutes, no one on Norwich touched him last year (courtesy advanced stats site Squawka):
2. Jack Wilshere, loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth — We want so badly to make this our No. 1 for many reasons, but can’t take that risk thanks to the risk presented by Wilshere’s injury history. For Jeff Mostyn, Eddie Howe, and the Cherries to win the rights to bring Wilshere to town is big for a lot of reasons. That Arsene Wenger allowed him to go is another. Frankly, this could be a game changer for two clubs’ PL fortunes.
— Honorable mention — Wilfried Bony is a nice pick-up for Stoke, but Bruno Martins Indi gives the club freedom to use Geoff Cameron in other ways. … Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is another good piece for Spurs’ attacking depth ahead of the UEFA Champions League.
Islam Slimani, permanent from Lisbon to Leicester — The Algerian striker was sold on King Power Stadium by fellow Desert Warriors attacker Riyad Mahrez, and now gives the Foxes even more danger whether counterattacking or taking their talents to the opposition. With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Ahmed Musa joining Slimani, Leicester has the depth to dance in Europe.