Sunday, March 23, 2014
Flamini ready for big guns in waiting

Flamini ready for big guns in waiting

Mathieu Flamini says Arsenal can take heart from qualfiying from a very tough Champions League group despite the fact the Gunners squandered an opportunity to top Group F.

Late goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne condemned the Gunners to a 2-0 defeat but with Borussia Dortmund beating Marseille and three sides finishing on 12 points, the Frenchman inferred that the prospect of playing either Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich or Paris Saint Germain is a small price to pay for progression from a tough group.

“It is never good to lose a game,” Flamini told UEFA.com.

“We wanted to finish top of the group, but that is how it went today. Napoli played a great game and were unlucky. It went right to the end with three very good teams. Everybody was on 12 points so it was very close.

“It is hard for Napoli because today they won 2-0, but what was important for us was qualifying. I would say this has been [the most difficult group stage I have been in]. It was one of the hardest because you have a team like Napoli who have not qualified and we have finished second, level with them on 12 points. So of course it was one of the hardest.

“We will play a big team, but we knew that. When you finish second, you know you have to face a group winner so that is the way it is. Anyway, if you want to go to the final and try to win something, you have to play all the big teams. I do not really have a preference. We will see what happens with the draw.”

Chatting pitchside straight after the defeat Per Mertesacker echoed the Frenchman’s words, also admitting that the Gunners struggled to overcome the psychological impact of knowing they didn’t have win to qualify.

“It is a bit of a strange atmosphere at the moment because we lost the game. We were always on the back foot. We gave 10% less mentally because we always thought we were through. We were lucky today, but we deserved [to go through]. It was a difficult group.”

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34 comments

  1. Barkey sure has the right attitude!

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  2. If we finished top then we would be a ‘big team’ that many would hope to avoid.. End of the day I’m sure many of the teams that finished top will be keen to avoid us too, as we can put in a performance when we want to. Personally hope we get PSG, and Barca in round after :)

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  3. Big Chief from Antarctica

    It’s all about form.

    Yesterday’s performance was plain shite. I do hope that it, along with the Everton first half, was a blip.
    Man City and Chelsea will be clear indicators. I’d rather not single someone out but Cazorla needs to up his game, Ozil can’t have the idea that he can compensate lazy performance with an assist or goal. I could go on and on but, the team spirit and effort since the Munich victory needs to stay. No place for complacency.

    If that remains the case, I’m not too worried about the prospect of facing Barca/Bayern. Just get back to the form of the past 7 months.

    COYG!

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    • I agree. We’ve had a dip in form the last few games. We can and must play a lot better. Did you notice very few of the AFC players hustling for loose balls and trying to win the ball back? Flamini was the only one with high energy out there last night. I don’t know if it is fatigue or what, but we need to get back to the way we played against Liverpool.

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  4. Pedro: “Opponent 1/8 finals? Man City and Arsenal are certainly the two strongest teams, let’s see if we have some luck and avoid them”

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  5. Ain’t that picture something to smile about!

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  6. Good man Flamini.

    I honestly could not give a fuck who we get. You can do a Porto or a Chavs, and luck your way through the competition and win it, or you can do it the hard way and win it.

    Given the choice of those that have finished 2nd, those in 1st would rather not draw us in the next round.

    So bring on a cracking night at the Emirates, as this is what top European football is all about.

    And for a reminder of what it’s not about, today, remember, is Sp*rsday.

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  7. Through is through, would be better if we had an easier draw, but if we can’t win against one of the bigger teams at one point there’s no point in being in the competition anyway, then we should rather save our focus and energy to win the league..

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  8. Was it not Callejon who scored the second goal?

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  9. Callejon scored, no? Insigne assist. Draw will obviously be difficult but i’m of the opinion that we can upset some people.

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  10. Flamini is talking through his arse here, that was a shit performance and everyone at Arsenal deserves to be sacked, imprisoned and put in solitary confinement where they can all die sad lonely deaths. Waaaaaaaaaaah

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  11. our chances of winning the league are good this year
    i can live with us going out of the CL early
    it will help us focus on the league
    too many times in previous seasons we’ve been fighting on 4 fronts only to get an overloaded fixture list and loose them all
    CL is all about the prestige of playing the best teams in the world at the grove

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  12. the only sam is nelson

    any of us would have taken second place in our group when the draw was made

    the fact that some are now complaining about that shows how far we’ve come in such a short space of time, really

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  13. You’re mad for that!!!

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  14. “we gave 10% less mentally because we thought we were through”.
    That’s why this team has and will fall short. They just don’t have the winning mentality that is needed.

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    • No mate … we didn’t have the winning mentality that’s needed when we beat Dortmund in Germany or Bayern in Germany last season either …

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  15. I rather play a “big” team than a team with a smaller reputation. The players with be up for it. I too often saw Arsenal being a bit complecent when we play a “smaller” team.

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  16. For me, a mature team knows exactly what to do on the pitch, and if any player starts to get confuse, thats where the wise leader on the pitch came into play. To ensure everyone is on the same wavelength. For me Arsene’s comment on doesnt really know if need to attack or defend just sounds odd. Its like even he doesnt know how to approach the game. I still find it strange really.

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  17. Getting a treble would have been gr8 bt oh well…

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  18. I don’t want to be “that guy”, and I know things have improved tremendously in recent months, but it’s kind of the manager’s job to get his players fired up and psychologically ready.

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  19. Here’s the thing, if Arsenal had won the group, we would have got one of these:

    Galatasaray AŞ
    Bayer 04 Leverkusen
    Olympiacos FC
    FC Schalke 04
    FC Zenit
    AC Milan

    Of that list, you could argue that Zenit would be an easier draw, but then Arsenal’s record in Russia is hardly stellar. Who else, Olympiacos? Certainly no Barcelona, but hardly an easy one either. The rest are tricky.

    So yeah, tough draw for Arsenal. But there are precious few easy fixtures this year. Anyway, playing the big teams is what it’s all about, right? Give us Real Madrid!

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    • Would rather go out here to a big team with a respectable performance than get to the semi final or final and lose, we still have the league to go and win.

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      • No.

        Would prefer to play a weaker team in this round. There are other competitions that may get affected by a draw (very likely) against a strong team.

        We botched it up by being timid. Should have gone for a draw at very least. Instead we seemed content with protecting a one goal deficit.

        This team has always played better with backs against the wall rather than with calculated permutations. Wenger set the team up wrong both tactically an in apprioach (Granted caution necessary)

        Sometimes the best defense is offense. That particularly with Napoli.

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  20. Without meaning to sound too doom and gloom, I thought last night was poor from Arsene before we even kicked a ball. He prioitised qualifying, when with us sitting top of the group needing only a point to stay there, winning the group should have been the priority. This was reflected in the team selection, and in the second half performance. Whilst I understand that you have to beat the big teams to win it, it is better to meet them later rather than sooner. Given that Napoli had to attack, surely Theo should have been playing, and I would go so far as to say that he should have started ahead of HFB, especially ahead of Saturday lunchtime.

    Rant over, COYG !

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  21. The omens for Saturday are not good, are they?

    Our last two performances have been well below par; we’ll only have had two full rest days, while City will have had three; City rested key players on Tuesday, while we played a full-strength squad; and City at home have been awesome so far this season.

    I’d take the draw right now.

    The great thing about this season as opposed to previous ones is that we have have a nice habit of bouncing back after poor performances. That what we must do on Saturday. But it’s going to be a really, really, tough one.

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    • thought the general consensus wasn’t that we played badly against Everton. Everything I read and watching the game myself suggested two very good teams going at it, there is a reason Everton have lost 1 of their 15 games. So I think its harsh to call that a below par performance.

      Having said all that, a point at the Etihad would be a fantastic result and I’d bite your hand off if offered that right now.

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    • This is the first time I’ve ever been compelled to give you a thumbs up, Fatgooner. It feels weird. But I like it.

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    • I don’t think City’s defense is as good as Everton’s. If Sagna is back (which he might not be) I think we can win. If not, we might win anyway. Ramsey only played 30 minutes, he’s due a good game.

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  22. Fatgooner out!

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  23. We can take on any team.bring them on.

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  24. I hate to agree with that clown-ass Piers Morgan, but prising [not cup-tied] Suarez away in January would make us world beaters at the stroke of a few pens (and 50+ million quid)…

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    • Never going to fucking happen, why are people still on about this? Liverpool are fourth. They sell Suarez and they’ll be 10th and they know it. If it was unlikely in the summer it’s even less likely now. They won’t sell him in January, not even to Madrid.

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  25. Even if he bites someone this weekend.

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  26. City are strong at home. We will have our work cut out for us.

    if we play as insipid as we did against Napoli, we will get humiliated.

    I think the gaffer should be making a strong point that the Napoli result was simply not good enough for us. Making excuses will send the wrong signal to the team.

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