Flamini ‘crucial’ says Wenger ahead of Marseille reunion

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Ahead of his return to Marseille, the club that handed him his professional breakthrough, Mathieu Flamini has received further praise from Arsene Wenger.

Having radiated the same energy against Sp*rs and Sunderland that he displayed week in, week out during his first stint in North London the boss feels his decision to re-sign the French midfielder is already paying dividends.

“[He is] absolutely crucial to the balance of the team,” the boss told Arsenal Player.

“He has done very well. He had not played since May and when you see how well he came in, it shows you how well, how focused and how dedicated he was in his preparation.

“He’s got what is needed in every team. I wouldn’t say we lacked that as much as people say but he is of course important for the balance of the team that we have players with his qualities.”

Flamini first came to prominence at the Stade Velodrome at 19, even starting the 2003/04 UEFA Cup final defeat to Valencia, in a side also featuring Didier Drogba and Fabien Barthez.

Amazingly, despite the back catalogue of world stars who’ve strutted their stuff in Ligue 1, only Marseille (1992/93 European Cup) and Paris Saint-Germain (1995/96 Cup Winners’ Cup) have ever secured UEFA honours.

Reflecting on the situation, Arsene Wenger hinted that the influx of money at both PSG and Monaco could well see that change sooner rather than later.

“In the French league you have PSG and Monaco who attract top-level world-class players. That means all the best French players go to the other clubs and that makes everybody stronger.

Looking specifically at Marseille’s summer action ahead of a tough Champions League opener, the boss noted:

“They bought [Dimitri] Payet who is a creative player. Then have [Andre-Pierre] Gignac – the centre forward for the French national team.

“The playmaker of the French team [Mathieu] Valbuena is there so they have good offensive potential.

“Florian Thauvin has just arrived there. He has been sold from Lille to Marseille. I think he played over the weekend but he’s not completely physically ready yet.”

For his part, Flamini mentioned last week that he wouldn’t mind ending his career at Marseille even though he went out of his way to quit the club in favour of the Gunners (the first time).

“You should never say never. I did my apprenticeship there. Of course it’s the club of my heart.

“I’ve always stayed close to it, because I’m in contact with Jose Anigo, someone who knows me very well.

“There has never been anything concrete and I have some good years ahead me.”

The boy has unfinished business across Europe it seems, no doubt he’s already planning a return to AC Milan just for symmetry’s sake.

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Charlie

Good lad! He won’t loose a game without a battle huh

yz

lose

jason

We know what he means…

Harsh

across all the blogs, and every arsenal-based content on internet, flamini’s important role in the team has not been given enough credit…. in the two games that flamini has played, our midfielders like rosicky, jack, ramsey wouldn’t have been able to get forward with such freedom if flamini hadn’t been so solid at the back….

ari

Harsh, as good as Flamini’s been in the games that he’s played – and I’ve been very impressed by his performances – I still think he didn’t do his job at Sunderland where he was often too high up the pitch and all Sunderland had to do was play long balls from the defense over the top to Fletcher and Altidore. I feel he should’ve provided more protection to the back 4 and his positioning often left too big a gap between our defense and midfield. But I wont put the entire blame on him since its been a consistent… Read more »

Diaby

I thing you watched BBC’s MOTD show. Sorry Bro.

mike

he must follow the ball, or we run the risk of players being trapped unable to run anywhere useful and with little or no passing options, thus lost possession, as others have noted Arsenal’s main defensive theory is while you possess the ball they can’t score Flamini moving forward with the ball players makes a great deal of sense, he allows a further passing option for ball retention, he can act as another body the opposition must mark and as a relay he can reduce the distance of pass required to move the ball from a to b thus reducing… Read more »

Kai

I think it’s more down to the fact he is still getting used to the other players around him. They are all new to him still.

Ólafur

Go tear them a new one Monsieur Flamini!

Arsene's Bored Banker

OM are full of physical players in defence and midfield. Flam will have to imagine they’re all Corlukas or former spurs players.

zizou

a midfield enforcer i must say?

Goontang

Gignac may well be the French Centre Forward as Wenger says, but I’m happy we’ve got the HFB!!

Arseshavin'

I understand him somehow…im a sucker for symmetry.

bendtner's pink boot

Flamini allows Ramsey to flourish. Once Arteta is back, [pfft] embarrassment of riches.

49er

Going back to Milan would make no symmetrical sense. Marseille, Arsenal, Milan, Arsenal, Marseille is already symmetrical. Going to Milan before or after Marseille would only ruin the symmetry.

AP

Its called recursion in computer programming terms 🙂

AP

oh crap…that was so incorrect….

BT

dynamic symmetry.

TOGooner

Lets see. He is allegedly faster and better than before. What you guys are passing for symmetry I perceive more as a cycle. Maybe he will be 20 by the time he leaves for Marsilles for his teenage years.

gooner81

I’m curious, who’s the guy in the photo, jogging behind Sagna to the right in the photo? Is he a new youth player?

Edu's fake passport

It’s TJ, who Walcott’s books are based on.

ttvjsingh

I think we have the exact arsenal team.. an inviciblike team.. this is the group we were waiting for. . The exact recipe to win all the trophies we contend

Penfield

He did pick up right where he left off didn’t he! I remember in his final season he was the perfect foil for Fabregas.

Flamini the Enabler.

We normally struggled to motivate ourselves in the weaker CL groups of the past couple seasons, I reckon this group is just what we need.

There is no chance to relax, and with Flamini in to scream everybody into focus, I reckon we’re gonna do well.

snowyc

Yup, it’s going to be perfectly symmetrical if he goes back to Marseille from the Arsenal. You just have to fold Milan into half.

Spencer

I think Flamini is better than Arteta. I would leave Flamini in the side when Arteta is back. Love his experience and his ability to make sure everyone is playing their position. A real on pitch leader. Great buy.

Gunnerak47

As someone so eloquently put on twitter; “Flamini is the right cunt of a player the team has been missing”. And I for one am happy to have this cunt in my team. I mean Arteta is awesome, just not cunty enough and while Frimpong possesses the cuntery, his football needs work. Ergo why Wenger says Flamini is important for the balance of the team; ticks all boxes #nobrainer