Mathieu Flamini on why he was especially eager to avoid Tottenham defeat

Mathieu Flamini challenging Steven N'Zonzi

The Arsenal midfielder says he was keen to avoid his first defeat at the Emirates coming against his fiercest rivals.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has explained why he was particularly keen to avoid defeat against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The Frenchman was a replacement for Santi Cazorla at half time during the north London derby on Sunday, with the Spaniard having struggled to make an impact as the Spurs midfield controlled proceedings.

And Flamini was credited with turning the game back in his side’s favour to allow them to net the equaliser to Harry Kane’s opener.

The Arsenal man says he was determined to ensure his first defeat at the Emirates did not come at the hands of the Gunners’ fiercest rivals.

"I was happy [to come on] because it is a special game for me against Spurs," he told

"There is a lot of passion, I know what it means to play against them for the fans and of course it was important for me to get back into the game.

"I have never lost a Premier League game at the Emirates, and believe me you do not want it to start against Spurs."

Reflecting on the crunch clash, the midfielder says Arsenal are naturally always disappointed not to secure all three points against Tottenham.

The draw was particularly frustrating for the north London side given Manchester City’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa earlier in the day. A win would have seen them go two points clear at the top of the Premier League table but Arsene Wenger was obviously pleased to have eared a point after seeing Spurs outplay his side to begin with.

Flamini added: "Of course we are disappointed because it was an important game for us, it was a derby and you want to win it," he added.

"So it is disappointing but we came back after losing 1-0 at half time, so we will take the draw. Unfortunately we didn’t score a second goal because we had plenty of opportunities, but we will take this point. It was important not to lose."

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