Flamini Key To Arsenal's Impressive Start

While Mathieu Flamini's presence has coincided with Arsenal picking up eight wins in nine matches and conceding only six goals, the stats show he isn't merely a 'destroyer'...

Last Updated: 30/10/13 at 08:42 Post Comment

Latest Articles

England's Player Ratings v Lithuania

2 comments

Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and Wayne Rooney all vindicated Roy Hodgson's decision to leave Harry Kane on the bench. But you can't keep the man down...

F365's No.9s Quiz - The Questions

Post comment

We have 20 questions on Premier League club's famous and not-so-famous No.9s...

All Articles

When Arsenal re-signed Mathieu Flamini this summer it was met with widespread ridicule, as the Gunners were deemed to be panicking over the lack of new arrivals. Many found the idea that the Frenchman could be the Londoners' only 'big name' signing in the summer rather amusing, and then Arsene Wenger went and bought Mesut Özil...

Although the German has hit the ground running and received the majority of the plaudits thus far, it's fair to say that those who doubted Flamini's credentials following his bit-part role at AC Milan have had to backtrack, for the time being at least.

The workhorse midfielder had his fair share of injury problems in Serie A, and has been forced off in Arsenal's last two matches due to concussion and a groin strain, with Wenger admitting that the player's fitness was his only concern when making the decision whether to bring him back to the club.

The reason for welcoming back a man he once named 'the little corporal' was pretty obvious though. Much had been said about Arsenal's lack of bite in recent years, particularly in central midfield, with the Gunners having failed to really replicate the success of Gilberto Silva in defensive midfield. Flamini was supposed to be that holding man, and faced a challenge to win back over the fans after many believe he quit the club to line his pockets in Italy.

Upon his return he was immediately barking out orders in Arsenal's victory over Tottenham, coming on as a substitute for the equally injury-prone Jack Wilshere. It took the 29-year old just 12 minutes to go into the referee's book, and Flamini has gone on to pick up three more bookings in his seven Premier League appearances this season.

It may come as a surprise then that the former France international has committed just seven fouls in the league, being cautioned in all but one of his 90-minute displays. It's just as surprising, given the spicy rivalry between the two sides, that the match in which Flamini avoided a booking was against Stoke.

The influence he has on the side can't be highlighted in stats alone, but during his time on the pitch in his nine appearances in all competitions thus far, Arsenal have conceded just five times, and never more than once in a game. However, Flamini doesn't stand out in a number of statistics that you might expect.

His average of 1.6 tackles per game is exactly that. Average. It's significantly lower than both Aaron Ramsey (4.4) and Mikel Arteta (2.6), with Özil's figure of 1.5 per game only just behind. Meanwhile, though an average of 1.4 interceptions per match is the best in Arsenal's midfield and highlights an astute reading of the game, it's significantly down on the leading Premier League players, with Michael Carrick (4.3) top of that pile.

It's the organisation Flamini brings to a midfield that showed naivety in the season opener against Villa that has seen him become an important player for Arsenal once again. His ability to keep possession ticking over and feed the more creative players in the side is also invaluable.

Indeed, of all players to start at least five Premier League matches, Flamini has the best pass accuracy (93.2%) and while he does keep things simple in the most part, an ability to stretch the play when needed suits Arsenal's strength on the counter. He has misplaced just one of 32 attempted long balls and, in a side that often has an overcrowded physio room, his availability to operate in a role that few others at the club can fulfil may well be crucial to any sustained title challenge.

Martin Laurence - follow him on Twitter.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Danny Welbeck out of England game v Italy, Ryan Bertrand called up

Roy Hodgson has confirmed Danny Welbeck will miss England's friendly in Italy, while Ryan Bertrand has been called up.

Liverpool's Jordon Ibe back running after untimely knee setback

Jordon Ibe remains hopeful of a return to the Liverpool first team this season after returning to light training at Melwood this week.

'Fine' Akinfeev grateful for support

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has thanked well-wishers for their support after being struck by a lit flare thrown from the crowd against Montenegro on Friday night.

Mail Box

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

Ripe Robin Still Has A Role To Play...

There is some support for the aging Robin van Perise in a frankly threadbare Mailbox. Also, more debate over homegrown players, with a suggestion of an import tax...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company