The 29-year-old French midfielder suffered concussion in Arsenal’s 4-1 win last weekend over Norwich at the Emirates and subsequently was not included in Arsene Wenger’s squad that faced Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat.
His exclusion was precautionary as I understand it – he was in fact well enough to attend the game as I saw him via the Emirates after the game but he was only a spectator.
Meanwhile, Arsenal now face a tough run of fixtures in the coming weeks – fixtures they will need to face with due caution if they intend to keep their run of good form up in the Premier League, League Cup and Champions League.
Arsenal travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday to face a managerless Crystal Palace side that resides in the relegation zone present and then host Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday evening.
I wholly expect Wenger to rotate his squad this weekend and next week, given that he suggested a number of his key players were a little fatigued in the Dortmund defeat. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud have played a lot of games at club and international level over the last few weeks.
Flamini was not involved with France over the international break and, apart from his concussion, has been in fantastic fitness and form since he returned to the Emirates this summer – he has been something of a revelation protecting the backline and anchoring the midfield in Wenger’s side who did appear more defensively frail in midfield in his absence on Tuesday.
With crucial fixtures against Liverpool, Dortmund again, and Manchester united in the next fortnight, Wenger may elect to rest some players this weekend and in midweek but one player he should definitely rest this weekend is Mathieu Flamini.
Why? Because the Frenchman has picked up four bookings so far this season and averages pretty much a booking a game – one more and he’ll be handed a one-match suspension by the FA. Now, the likelihood of Flamini getting booked is high due to the position he plays and the combative nature of his game.
That’s all well and good but Wenger will no to (if he hasn’t already) consider whether he would rather have Flamini suspended for the Chelsea game in the League Cup or Liverpool or even United games in the Premier League.
I would anticipate Flamini will play this weekend against the Eagles and I would anticipate that the boss might have a quiet word with him and instruct him to perhaps get himself booked – they need him more against Liverpool and United to keep their unbeaten league run and title challenge going.
image: © wonker