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

Football Managers On TV: Roberto Martinez

12 comments

He's a 'Bright Young Manager', which is meant as a huge compliment, and he's also affable and approachable. It's actually quite difficult to dislike Roberto Martinez...

WhoScored's Five Early Season Statistical Shifts

6 comments

WhoScored.com look at five sides who, after the opening four matches of the season, seem to have made tactical alterations to their style over the summer...

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

H

ilarious, thanks for that. But if I may, I do suspect the reason of your partners' ire is not Tottenham, but most probably all the compusilve gambling :)

DannySmith
Backing Costa To Keep Banging 'Em In

T

wo police horses in a paddock. Horse 1: What's with the long face? Horse 2: I'm working St James Park this weekend.

hump3.
Pardew braced for protests

T

wo things. First, I can't stop reading your name as 'Dane Bowers'. Second, you used the words 'philosophy' and 'Redknapp' in the same sentence.

ajsr1982
Can United's Defence Handle Ulloa?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

No concerns over Steven Gerrard, says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers remains confident that Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard will continue to deliver at the highest level.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hails strength of Abou Diaby ahead of return

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed the strength of character in Abou Diaby following his latest injury comeback.

Premier League: Brendan Rodgers says Mario Balotelli is a 'good guy'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he is enjoying working with Mario Balotelli.

Mail Box

Will Rodgers Finally Drop Gerrard?

The mailbox wants to know if Brendan Rodgers has the stones to drop Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Wayne Rooney's display, sitting down, and thanking United fans...

Clattenburg And Assistants Should Be Suspended

It's a Mailbox containing Manchester United fans taking defeat to Leicester pretty well, plus some long thoughts on Gerrard and Liverpool, plus Southampton congratulations...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property