Prior to Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday against Swansea City, rumours (without base) surfaced via Facebook that Flamini had been cautioned by the FA for allegedly threatening Stoke City’s Marc Wilson.
According to the rumour, the 29-year-old Frenchman who re-signed for the Gunners this summer after leaving the club in 2008, threatened the Stoke midfielder following his strong challenge on youngster Jack Wilshere:
“Do it again and I will blind you.”
Now, as far as I know, the FA has issued no such caution to Flamini and the player may have said no such thing but what’s interesting is the cult status his performances in midfield have been earning him so far this term.
Again this weekend, against Swansea, Flamini cynically brought down a Swans player inside the home side’s half to prevent a break from the hosts who were chasing the game late in the second half. He has, so far this term, outmuscled and out-tussled all of Arsenal’s opposition, home and away, contributing to the form of Aaron Ramsey especially, giving the Welshman a protective platform to get into advanced positions.
Flamini had not been a particularly popular signing this summer, in contrast to, for example, Mesut Ozil, and this was largely due to the fact he a) was signed on a free transfer and b) he left on a free transfer five years ago.
Back then, Flamini had been an important player (although still relatively young) in Wenger’s team and played a pivotal role in the development and success of Cesc Fabregas during his four-year spell with the club.
In fact, Flamini had been part of the last Arsenal team to win a trophy – the 2004/05 FA Cup – and in the absence of Mikel Arteta through injury for the early stages of this season, Mathieu Flamini came in, did a job, and, it appears, endeared himself to the fans once again with his physicality and no-nonsense approach.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald