Arsenal's midfield terrier Mathieu Flamini, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time for his unfortunate own goal resigning his side to a 2-2 draw with Swansea City midweek, has stressed the importance of the defensive part of the Gunners' game as they host Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, March 29.
City, a team who drubbed Arsenal 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, have not cooled their attacking intent and, since dropping a 4-1 aggregate loss to Barcelona in the Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini has witnessed ten goals in three games from his dugout.
"We have to be strong defensively first of all because that is very important when you play against a big team who are a very offensive side," Flamini explained, as per the club's official website, perhaps thinking back to negative results suffered versus Chelsea (6-0), Liverpool (5-1) and previously against City.
The Frenchman, who has produced a tireless work-rate throughout the season while also displaying organisational skills, believes it is imperative that Arsenal start strong, rather than losing the game in the first quarter.
“When you play a big game, you cannot lose it in the first 10 or 15 minutes because it is not good for the rest of the match. So we have to be focused and be ready because these kinds of games are battles. You have to win the duels, win the fight and then play your football.
“After that, we have enough quality in this team to find a goal.”