If Mathieu Flamini’s performance against Tottenham Hotspur can elicit a shocked reaction from you, then you probably did not watch him during his first spell at Arsenal. Flamini has always been a firebrand, passionate on the field, ready to die for the team, and always thinking about the fans.
During the Gunners run to the Champions League final, Arsenal’s left back position seemed to be jinxed player after player, from Ashley Cole to Clichy, all falling under the injury curse. I can’t remember the number of players forced to play in this position but there were quite a few…
Flamini stepped up and took a makeshift defence to the final without kicking up a fuss. I am convinced until today that if we had not replaced Flamini with Ashley Cole, who had just come back from injury, we would have won the final. If I remember, the opposition goals came from Cole’s side as he struggled to keep up with the pace of the game.
However, the one game that sticks out when I think about Flamini is the game against Chelsea in 06-07 when the Frenchman displayed the same passion and drive that he showed against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup. His contribution in that game could be felt throughout the team and it was only fitting that he was the one who popped up with Arsenal’s goal around the 70th minute. At the time, Arsene Wenger was on the verge of getting a win against Jose Mourinho before Michael Essien popped up with a screamer.
Ever since Flamini came back to Arsenal, he has struggled to keep up with the pace of the Premier league. This might be due to the fact that he was not a first team regular for AC Milan and has taken time to come up to speed with Arsenal’s fast paced game. He surprised every Arsenal fan with his all action display that has long being missing from his game but he always had it in his locker. He just needs to do it with more consistency.