The French midfielder has been outstanding since his return to North London, and he has revealed that it was his time at former club AC Milan that gave him the maturity required to excel in his position.
“Having spent five years at Milan I have learnt so much,” he said. “Most of all I have learnt a lot tactically. I matured a lot as well.”
Arsene Wenger is certainly benefitting from this more tactically-aware and mature Flamini, who has played a vital role in the Gunners’ surge up the Premier League table.
And the player believes he has identified the reason for Arsenal’s success so far this season.
“I think it’s more a team effort, a mind-set that’s making the difference at the moment,” he said. “I feel that we’re attacking together, defending together. The players are putting in the necessary effort for each other.
“Everyone is fighting for each other on the pitch and that’s what’s making the difference. It’ll be up to us to prove we have what it takes to win titles.”
It certainly will, and after the blow of dropping five points in recent matches against Liverpool and Manchester United, the importance of their return to winning ways in the FA Cup against the Reds cannot be understated.
But for now they turn their attention to the Champions League – a competition Flamini knows well.
Speaking about the tie against the reigning champions, Flamini said, “When you reach the last 16 at this level there are only big teams left.
“I remember when I was playing for Arsenal before, and we reached the Champions League final, we also faced big teams like Madrid and Juventus. It’s part of the game, you have to accept it.
“If you want to win it you must face all the big teams.”
It could be argued that Arsenal’s last match against Bayern was the catalyst for everything that came after. But now they get to show just how far they have come, and Flamini’s influence will be as vital as any.
image: © wonker