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Why Flamini is abruptly so good at football

Why Flamini is abruptly so good at football?

By Darsei Canhasi

“I am watching him closely” said France manager Didier Deschamps a few days ago, when asked about the inclusion of Mathieu Flamini. These words mean Flamini has a chance to participate in the next year’s world cup. To date, he has only three games for Les Blues, and those came during 2007 and 2008.

Scepticism was The Word when Arsenal announced the re-signing of Flamini in August. What would be his role in defensive-midfielder-less formation? Is he capable of delivering at 29 years of age?  Worse, he came in on a free – always a bad sign in the eyes of the doubters.

Today, answers to the above questions are unquestionable.   Flamini has proven to be an integral part of the first formation, proving all the doubters wrong. How we cope without him will be seen in the next few games now he has an injury – but I suspect most fans would prefer to have been able to call on him for the game next saturday.

However, there is another question popping up. Who gets the credit for his form and transformation?

The answer must be Arsene Wenger. He even made Alexander Hleb look world class to such a degree that Barcelona decided to spend a significant sum on him.   Wenger’s ability to get most out of his players is remarkable and we saw what happened to Hleb’s form once Wenger was not there.

Wenger is the number one coach on earth for both the discovery and utilization of his players. He gives the right tasks to the right player, after precisely analyzing their skills. Of course it is true that Flamini has his weaknesses, but Le Professeur’s job description for him excludes those and it points out his strengths.

Flamini is not the only case. Thierry Henry, as we know, was a winger till he met Mr. Wenger.  Adebayor scored 30 goals for us in one season, but he only got 53 goals in the next 5 seasons without Mr. Wenger. And many many more players have been transformed when they got the right treatment from him.

Even Christopher Wreh managed to get a decent season, Vieira found rotting in Italy was transformed.   Bergkamp so damaged in Italy, started to find his form again in the year before Wenger, but grew into something extra.  Tony Adams cleaned himself up and under Wenger’s his guidance the back four had a new lease of life.  Kolo Toure cost only £150,000 and did an amazing job for us… the list goes on and on.

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No one talked about Flamini too much while he as at AC Milan. Now, all of a sudden, if his injury is only a minor one, he is very close of getting his first call-up for France after five years. Arsene Wenger is the source of his transformation, he always gets the most out of every individual.

Combine that with the discovery of youngsters like Gnabry and we can answer the question in the title.   It is because of the eye of Mr Wenger.

I don’t know if Flamini would have been selected to play last night had he been fit, but had he played I think he would have a difference.

Follow me on Twitter, @darseic


26 comments to Why Flamini is abruptly so good at football

  • mickess

    Totally agree with everything you said. Flamini has been the ‘missing’ link this season. All credit to Arsene. When you see him play he is the organiser, always shouting at others around him and pushing them into position. He takes time to see how the game is going and makes sure everyone around him knows what’s happening.
    I don’t think he would have played last night but hope he will be fit soon and not join one of our growing list of the long/ medium term injured.

  • babakoks

    Without flamini on saturday we would be liverless. Ozil is world class but has not commanded the kind of influence expected. One on one with a player he has not shown those rare abilities of a talisman. Hopefully AW will work on him. Despite free, flamini has turned out to be our man friday

  • gooner11

    i worry for us against liverpool without flamini and walcott.. flamini gives us leadership and fight in midfield, whereas without walcott its very easy to defend against us. we can still beat lower teams but against the big teams everything is just played infront of the opposition. against dortmund and cheslea yeaterday we hardly created any chances. i think alot of people focus on walcott does with the ball and they totally ignore the most important thing.. his runs off the balls which unfortunately no1 in our team can do when hees missing

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Well articulated . Just imagine if Flamini hadn’t left then and had stayed put ; we would have been solid and he too would have improved .
    Let’s hope this second ‘chance’ will be beneficial for both him and the club .

  • Lehaqasi

    Spot on brother!!! Wenger is an intelligent manager. My utmost respect for him came as a result of this miraculous rediscovery of form by Ramsey. I believe Wenger was the only person who believed in Ramsey’s potential during the time when his form had dipped. I am one of those that have swallowed their words now. In Arsene, we trust.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Darsei.

    Must say that he surely has turned the fans around very quickly after his more of less contested return at first.
    He didn’t have to win me over as I support any player that is signed by Arsenal but he surely has added something to the team whenever he has played.

    We could ask ourselves: is it a coincidence that we have lost twice when he wasn’t around?

  • waiyuen leong

    There goes without much doubt that Flamini makes a lot of difference as he is has working and shouting out to other players to move in position how he looks at the danger side of the attack moving in. The game against Napoli was a classic case where Arsenal defence was solid with him at the back. He is indeed a late bloomer with some magic touch and guidance from the coach like Arsene Wenger. If Walcot was in the game against Chelsea, it would have been a different picture with his pace in the game that played against Chelsea. As a fan, I could see the overall game was not bad though we lost due to some mistakes of some young players.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Flamini has been superb. If the last week shows us anything, it is that we need to either buy or develop backup for him. Maybe the defence has become a bit psychologically reliant on him during the short time he has been back? Just typical we lose him for such an important spell.

  • Ali Al-Rikabi

    I agree Flamini is currently the most important player for this Arsenal team, they look completely out of shape without him, the capital one defeat to Chelsea was a great illustration of that.
    I think it’s good and well giving Wenger the credit for his signature as he got him for free, however you could argue that it is Wenger who has been stubborn and refusing to sign a solid holding midfielder for the past few years now, if we had signd a player like Flamini years ago , I feel we could have done better in all competitions. Song was very good player but he was not solid or quick enough.
    Chelsea yesterday played Esien and Mikel as holding midfielders, they completely dominated us , They have Ramires and Lampard who play there as well, we only have Flamini and Artera, for a whole long season this is not enough, Wenger must buy another holding midfielder in January , especially that both Arteta and Flamini are injury prone. I am sure Wenger has finally realised that holding midfielders are the missing ring for his hunt for success .

  • WalterBroeckx

    Another bit of good news: Podolski is back on the training field.

  • Gf60

    “Another bit”…? What was the first bit? 😮

  • WalterBroeckx

    Of course Podolski back training doesn’t mean he can already play games…

  • Jax

    It’s difficult to say why Flamini didn’t flourish in Serie A. He wasn’t a flop by any means, and injuries didn’t help, but compared to a player of similar style (Gattuso perhaps) he just didn’t seem to perform (as he had done with us) in the slower pace of the Italian game. Thought he was the best player on the pitch when we last played Milan and his all action physical style seems best suited to the English game. It will be interesting to see how this transfers to the French side if he gets selected.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Flamini having a great comeback start was the first bit

  • Pat

    On the Arsenal web site, talking about Gnabry, Thomas Rosicky makes a point of saying he is with the best manager to help him develop.

    Another tribute to the manager. Thomas is another one Arsene Wenger has stuck by through injury, and whenever fit Thomas has repaid him by giving his all, and exercising his considerable skills for the team.

  • Armin

    It would be, maybe, unfair to say we all those years missed DFM, I would even say Song was quite decent, and let me say technically we missed nothing. But we missed character, we missed someone to roll back slaves and do a bit dirty job. We missed corporal, someone to push troops, to hold them together. To pull them for ears out of tranche and when needed same way to pull them back.
    No doubt Arteta and TV have quality of leader, and they do it well. They are good in “officer” job, commanding troops. But Flamster is one who command from the ranks, who push colleagues at field, gives covering fire when needed, and lead by example.
    As much as I hated him, the day he left (in way he did), I forgive him now, he proved he was worth of forgiving.

  • Darsei Canhasi

    it’s great to read your comments, thank you.

    Let’s just hope this is his last injury we faced this season..

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Why did Flamini come back to Arsenal and why did Wenger deign to give him access to Arsenal’s ground and thereby, the chance to impress and earn a return? The answers, I guess, will remain mostly between the player and the coach. However, nostalgia and a mutually acknowledged inability to achieve the potential that Wenger saw in the player and which the player too could feel must have played some roles.
    Kudos to Flamini to decide to return and to determine to earn his place and to Wenger for not putting his ego in the way. It is however a cautionary tale to young talent. At 20-25, it is more important to have a developmental coach who believes in you and plays a system that fits your strengths than to go club hunting and club hopping for any reason at all. Unless, of course, your name is Zlatan Ibrahimovic

  • Jeff

    The only recent exclusion of all this Wenger utilization is Gervinho. He was very promising that last season with Lille, and great things were expected for him at the Emirates. Instead, he never really delivered despite his raw potential, with his decision making being a massive let off.
    He seems to have found his feet under his former mentor Garcia at Roma although it’s early to tell. If he continues the recent form than this will really leave Wenger pondering why he wasn’t able to make Gervinho happen. I don’t think the “Premier League didn’t suit him” will be a satisfactory argument, at least not to Wenger

  • I agree with you Jeff. Gervinho has great potential, and when on-form he is very good. During his time at Arsenal he seemed to have no consistency, which was very frustrating for all concerned. When he was on-form, though, I loved watching him play.

  • sperez

    Arsenal haven’t been playing with a proper DM for years (Wenger’s ‘bright’ ideas)and because Flamini is one, he’s doing ok.
    This only shows how this team has been needing a DM badly. But Wenger never saw this and thought it was ok give the opponents more space to attack and score.
    The point is not the AC Milan reject but the importance of a proper defensive midfielder.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    I thought Alex Song was a DM?

  • OMGArsenal

    Jeff….here is my take on why Flamini flourished and flourishes here but not Chamakh or Gervinho:

    1)The EPL’s pace is very physically demanding and neither Chamakh nor Gervinho could maintain that pace for 90 minutes,
    2)The officiating was, at best, irregular and inconsistent. Both the French and Italian leagues have better officiating and a more homogenous style of play.
    3)Flamini is an enforcer and tough guy who really bosses the DMF while neither Chamakh nor Gervinho were assertive players who could scare defenses like Henry or Bergkamp could.
    4)Not every player can profit from Wenger’s guidance, Adebayor being a classic example. My guess is that Chamakh and Gervinho lost confidence in themselves and Wenger wasn’t able to reignite that passion.
    5)There is a big difference in the climate in the UK and on the continent. Italy and France have better Football climates for a longer period in the season….so maybe Gervinho is happier in the sun.
    6)Both Gervinho and Chamakh were in the shadow of RVP and that can stilt any player’s career.

  • Pat


    Thought provoking comments. Could all be relevant. I know Wenger commented on the confidence factor in relation to Gervinho and how he was deflated when he got a negative crowd reaction.

  • Linz

    Flamini has learnt a hell of a lot about defending during his time at Milan where he did win a Scudetto.The most important thing he brings to the team has nothing to do with his footballing ability though.Flamini comes with a healthy dose of attitude which this team has been lacking for years.He motivates his teammates and will not tolerate the kind of performances given by some on Tuesday.He also has a nasty streak illustrated by his comment to Wilson following yet another bad challenge on Wilshere v Stoke “do that again and i’ll f*****g blind you”.Noone touched JW after that!! However I hope he doesn’t do any challenges like the one on Corluka (I think) when Milan played Tottenham ,which put the player out for a month and led calls for him to be jailed or at the very least banned for 10 matches.We can do without any of that.

  • elkieno

    Very true good article, the Flam is very important this season for us. Maybe, just maybe he also brings another lesson for our younger players, it’s not always greener over there. I think (always thought) that AW can get a team of Sunday parkers and beat another team of Sunday parkers managed by Jose or fergie etc…