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Wenger hails Rosicky as Bergkamp after win, as Dutch legend’s statue unveiled at the Emirates

Feb 22, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

Arsenal fans look at a statue of former striker Dennis Bergkamp after it was unveiled before their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland in London Reuters

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.”

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