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

Home Is Where Rooney's Heart Is

2 comments

Our chums at WhoScored.com bring you some intriguing statistics from the Premier League season just gone. Who has the same passing accuracy as Xavi..?

Football365's End Of Season Awards

24 comments

It's time for you to put on your tuxedos and dickie bows as we cordially invite you the Football365 end of season awards We have 35 categories for you, so strap in...

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

N

ow is the time for Allardyce to finally get a chance at a big club please. He is likely to have a number of great offers for his services this summer, but who will he choose? Will it be Liverpool, Real Madrid, Dortmund or Man City?

medina_sod
Allardyce leaves West Ham

I

thought exactly this when the Match of the Day pundits were peddling this line. Is it really not okay for fans of a club to have some ambition these days then?

damoceltic
Bored Of Big Sam? It's Your Right...

H

ow magnanimous off him - to leave if he's asked to by the owners? What's the alternative, bunker down in his office claiming squatter's rights if FSG want rid?

feed the bear
Rodgers: I'll go if owners want

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Sepp Blatter lies low as David Cameron joins opposition to FIFA president's re-election

Sepp Blatter held an emergency meeting in Zurich on Thursday morning as David Cameron joined those calling for his head.

David Cameron says that Sepp Blatter should quit FIFA

Prime Minister David Cameron has supported calls for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to quit.

Greg Dyke: Prince Ali can beat Sepp Blatter in FIFA vote

Greg Dyke has told Sky Sports News HQ Sepp Blatter can be beaten if FIFA's presidential election goes ahead on Friday.

Mail Box

Time To Step Up, Mr Platini...

UEFA should step up and extend the Euros to replace FIFA's tarnished World Cup, say a couple of mailboxers. Also: all hail Carlo, King of the Kop, and plenty more Budget XIs...

Vidic Is Part Of United's 'Budget XI'

We have post-2000 budget XIs on behalf of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. Plus gaelic football, FIFA, more awards and the majesty of Il Fenomeno...

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