When news flooded in the media and social network about the re-signing of one Mathieu Flamini, fans and critics were boiling with anger on why Arsene Wenger would want to recruit his old boy who left the fold 5 years ago in a not-so-amicable manner with the Arsenal faithful in the pursuit for a bigger salary and regular Champions League football with Italian giants, AC Milan.
Wenger was under immense pressure during the whole summer transfer window to getting a defensive midfielder who would fill the void left by Alex Song. Flamini made his second debut for the gunners in the heated North London Derby coming in for Jack Wilshere.
Nobody really expected him to make any decent contribution judging by his lack of gameplay he had had as a free agent, nevertheless he became a sensation and ended up being lauded by both critics and fans in that 1-0 victory against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspurs.
Currently, Flamini has been the core of Arsenal’s midfield, together with vice skipper Mikel Arteta. Wenger has managed to have him as a holding midfielder in his central trio; anchoring the play and protecting the backline.
He possesses an exceptional technical ability, vision and passing. This has led to him being the most accurate passer this season with a 91.82% success rate. His great passing of the ball from the defense and feeding it to the attack front has enhanced his durability to charge up and down for the whole 90 minutes.
For a player who is 29 years you would think his game may have dropped but to the contrary, it feels like he never even left when he used to play with vigor and so much confidence. Those were the days when Arsenal was competing for major honors in all fronts and the unforgettable Champions League final against Barcelona.
Flamini has linked up with Arteta to form an incredible partnership. The duo has a 96% complete accuracy, the best of any mid-defensive combo alongside Wilshere and Ramsey; who has been quite a revelation this start of the season.
In the game against Napoli, he was exemplary and immense by covering the threat from Pandev and Hamsik. Flamini has shown the ability to get forward and contribute to build up play. He has showcased those skills in the many league appearances he’s made this season. This has led him to also being the third most accurate passer in the final third with a 91.43% of his passes finding his team mates.
According to Opta stats, Flamini has a tackle rate of 75%. This can be proven by his skills for anticipation to intercept, cut balls out and diffuse dangerous situations. One could argue that he has been lucky with some of the over-zealous tackles that could have taken a turn for the worst.
With a midfield full of maestros and world class players like Özil surely it is unthinkable that Arsene Wenger will go another season without silverware. The Wilshere-Flamini-Ramsey-Özil-Rosicky link up has elevated both the team’s confidence and position in the standings; top in both the Premier and Champions League. The injury list is still long with the likes of Chamberlain, Podolski, and Walcott still missing in action.
As it stands, much applause has been on Mesut and Ramsey but deep down I think the Flamini has been the unsung hero. The Frenchman’s free transfer back to the Grove is definitely one of the many wild cards Wenger has up in his sleeve.
One thing guaranteed is that Flamini will be a revelation. It is only a matter of time.
Written by David Mwandawiro
Follow David on Twitter @ThatguyDavy
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