Flamini: Watching Arsenal is painful


Mathieu Flamini says he understands the frustrations of the Arsenal fanbase as he counts himself as a supporter himself.

The Frenchman came off the bench for Crystal Palace against his old club as they coasted to a 3-0 victory that condemned the Gunners to a fourth consecutive league defeat on the road.

Speaking after the game, Flamini, who left the Emirates on a free for a second time last summer, urged his former teammates not to give up on the season just yet.

“I understand also the frustration of the fans because they are such a big club and they want their team winning and it is not an easy situation.

“It is difficult for me to comment from the outside what is happening with Arsenal. Results are not what they want, that is for sure. But they have a lot of quality.

“It is painful because I am still an Arsenal fan. I spent many years over there so my heart is white and red.

“I really hope they will make it because they deserve to be in the Champions League. It is such an amazing club. The season is not finished. There are many games ahead. I believe they can do it. It is up to them.

“I saw Arsene. Of course everyone is disappointed. When you are a big club you want to win every game, so that is normal.”

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92 Comments on "Flamini: Watching Arsenal is painful"

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I miss this guy…


Say whatever you want about Flamini, but at least he had bottle. At least he had fight. He wouldn’t of just rolled over like they did yesterday evening at Selhurst.

Remember that time when everybody was questioning why we re-signed him, and large portions of the fan base were calling him a waste of a shirt. Then we played Spurs away and he single headedly knocked them out of the Cup by scoring two goals; the first one a poachers goal arriving late on the scene to mop up a poor goal keeping error with a calm side foot finish; the second goal a rasping volley from 20 yards out right into the corner.

Over both spells at Arsenal he only ever lost one game at home. I reckon it would of hurt a lot being him watching from the bench at Palace considering he got moved on ‘for not being good enough.’ Absolute cult hero of a player for me.

I am still waiting for his energy company to turn him into a billionaire so he can buy out Arsenal.


‘single handedly

Little Mozart

You’re so right about his bottle. I remember a few seasons ago when we were losing at home to Man City and Flamini equalised with a luscious sidefoot. He then brushed his teammates off and ran to the fans to celebrate just like a real Arsenal fan would.


Wouldn’t have… Come on!!!



Its just the internet.

David C

An extremely underrated LB as well! Oh 2006, you seem so far away now.


He’s also had over 90 % passing completion on many an occasion conveniently ignored by those who prefer to bleat on about passing completion for Elneny.

Patrik Ljungberg

Sign him up!


He scored that beauty against the Spurs.

Frankly we have been living a charm life for a while now with some of our more senior players bailing us out. Sagna was one who also dragged us back from a dead game against the Spurs.

And it is these types of characters we really need on the pitch right now, a bit of experience and gumption.

Giroud is one I would prefer on the pitch at the moment fired up and given as many minutes as possible.

And we should keep it simple, play to his strengths.

Parisian Weetabix

Rosicky in that game man, don’t forget Rosicky.

I never miss a chance to eulogise Rosicky, but he was so important for us in a couple of those seasons when we were chasing insurmountable points totals to regain our fourth-place trophy. He didn’t necessarily stand out in memorable games when we cruised to victory; he stood out in scrappy games that we could easily have lost. The one I’ll always remember is a scrappy 1-0 win against Newcastle at St. James’ a few years ago. As I recall the entire team played pretty averagely against a Newcastle side that was well up for it – except Rosicky, like Flamini, was the type of player who didn’t need the whole team playing well to boost his fragile mentality. He put in slide tackles, drew fouls, pressed, got into several confrontations with Cabaye – all this from ATTACKING MIDFIELD.

Yeah, Rosicky was flawed and didn’t score enough goals or make enough assists, but watch Atleti or Dortmund or Liverpool and look at how their attacking midfielders press like demons. It’s a team game, and I think this Arsenal team misses that attitude epitomised by unorthodox players like Rosicky and Flamini to do the dirty work and relish it. You simply can’t expect to dominate every game in the PL, and right now when we don’t dominate, players in this team go missing. We need those players who don’t expect a stroll in the park, but who will do the necessary pressing and defending required of a top-four team in this division. I’ll stand behind Arsenal for life but when the fact Ozil actually cares is worth of a news story in itself, and Walcott is telling us that the other team wanted it more, it makes me realise there’s more to football than the glory of goals and assists, and that one solitary rockstar-haired guy charging across the pitch to close down the opposition centre-back, in the 93rd minute in some game in the Midlands where we have a one-goal lead, is a far better representation of what football is really about.

The truth is I love Tomas Rosicky and everything he stood for as a football player, from the countless pre-assists to impeccable slide tackles on the halfway line. His attitude to the game was something to aspire to, and something I feel like we took for granted while he was at the club. Sorry if I got carried away with this but Rosicky was my hero, I could wax lyrical about him all day and it’s making me genuinely sad writing this and realising just what he brought to this team. He was Arsenal as fuck and I fucking miss him.


It’s all fallen apart since the Flamster left. We just haven’t been able to recover from losing him in the summer. Can’t understand why we let him leave.


You’re kidding, right?


You’re kidding, right?

Mr Kidding

Yes, I am!

Patrik Ljungberg

No kidding.


Some people didn’t see the sarcasm.


the source of all our powers!


Don’t forget Tomas!


Jokes aside, that’s one guy I really do miss. ?


Would it be possible to suggest an idea. Performance based ticketing?

i.e if we finish 4th, we can charge no higher than the team that finishes 3rd?


Nice idea, but there’s more chance of Stan Kroenke appointing himself as manager and head of public relations than there is of the club introducing performance-based ticketing.


Yeah I realise the reality of the idea is impossible. But perhaps campaigning for it might drive home the disenchantment us the fans feel.

Not only are we being expected to accept mediocrity, but pay top dollar for it. Perhaps a chance of tack in the protests, expressing on a corporate level.


Expects? They put a price on a ticket and YOU decide if you want to buy it! Sick of hearing what people expect for their money. You buy seat, full stop!


There’s more chance of seeing him running around on the pitch


I’d prefer performance based pay for the players. They would all owe us for last night’s embarrassment.


But then one day the team will finish 1st… and the club can charge what ever the fark they want!


Much respect to this guy. When he left AC Milan he wanted to come back and play for this shirt so badly that he trained his bollocks off until wenger had to give him a deal.

Some of this squad could use abit more of flamini about them.

Glory hunter

Isnt it strange that We always realise in hindsight that the players we think are shit were never really the problem, to all the players that i ridiculed in the past(apart from Almunia) i apologise. It was never your fault


Sometimes the players we think are shit are the problem. See: Bendtner, N., Gallas. W.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Who dares smite the name of Lord Bendtner – The Greatest Striker To Ever Live?


it was interesting that sam allardyce clearly explained his tactic against arsenal. not sure if i had heard any other manager say them out aloud. was it a message to wenger? maybe he was just trying to highlight how innane our tactics and players are

Lord Bendnter

I noticed the depth he went into when speaking to sky n I thought of the same. Now that Crystal palace r done with fixtures against arsenal for the season, it’s like he was telling Wenger, get ur players to support the fullbacks and quit leaving your two CB so open all the time. Provide them with defensive support. And he’s right about that. You don’t have to be a 11men behind the ball SamAllyrdice team to get your basics right

Tom Gun

No he was sticking the knife in. Because he’s a cunt. Because he wanted to embarrass Wenger and show him up as to how easy and obvious it was to come up with a tactic to beat him.

Don’t get me wrong. It was easy. It was embarrassing. That doesn’t change the fact Allardyce is a fat cunt with no class whatsoever. Yes he and Wenger never got along, but to embarrass him publicly with a cynical smirk was plain disgusting.

Donald\'s Trump

Nah. Good on Big Sam I reckon. He’d have got us 4th place no problems.


‘Fat cunt with no class whatsoever’ 🙂




I remember reading an interview of Tony Adams about when Wenger first came to the club. They had huge arguments about how to set up the defense. Arsene compromised and the club kicked on. Wonder if the fact that no one questions him in the club has led to him exposing our centerbacks and leaving them stranded constantly?

John C

I read an interview yesterday with John Jensen and he said that Adams and Bould coached the central midfielders in front of them throughout the match. I think we can safely say that neither Kos, Mustafi or Gabriel are doing the same with our current midfield or have done for years. None of our players on the pitch are given or have any authority.

Theo the friendly Ghost
Theo the friendly Ghost

We haven’t had a real captain to do exactly that either. Someone to take somebody by the scruff of the neck and sort out problems on the pitch.

John C

We haven’t but i get the feeling Wenger doesn’t want one as his handing of the armband to Theo shows. Seriously, giving the captaincy to Walcott shows exactly what regard he holds the office of captain, contempt!


I don’t understand, tactics don’t win you games, mental strength does.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Allardyce is telling our board: I know how to fix Arsenal.

John C

Tony Pulis did the same a couple of weeks ago when he highlighted how we zonal mark and the plan they worked on in training to beat it.

Considering the contempt Wenger shows both Pulis and Allardyce i would probably rub it in as well!


I will start by saying that, like almost everyone else, I think we need a change a of manager. However, how Wenger is being treated is appalling. He may have lost a step or two but this is a man who has always been loyal to the club, He has been a father to the players who then respond by hanging him out to dry. Even if his message falls on deaf ears, surely the players rally together in this situation to give him a deserved send off through their effort and performances? Purely on a human level, isn’t this what people do when they owe somebody so much?

What about the board, who wouldn’t be sitting where they are picking up large salaries (and dividends) without Wenger? They repay him by using him as a punching bag and cowering behind him.

What about the press, who at every opportunity twist the knife? This is a man who is the only remaining example of stability in a circus league. The man who offers them intelligent opinions on everything, football and non-football related. A man who responds to questions laced with stupidity and nastiness, with class.

I have sympathy for the fans, who pay top bucks to see a cluster fuck of a mess unfold beyond them, with no ability to effect any change.

I also feel sorry for Wenger, thrown under the bus by his own. His only crime being that he lost a step through age, and believing in himself to always turn things around. I don’t buy the argument about him being in it for the money. PSG would likely fall over to offer him more. He is at Arsenal because he loves them and wants to make them better. he is the only person who consistently fronts up to critics and is brave enough to stand by his convictions. I think we would do well to remember this sometimes.

Little Maestro

I feel sorry for Wenger too. I am an ardent supporter of his and will always know he is a legend. Unlike the younger supporters, I was able to enjoys the incredible teams around the early half of his career at Arsenal.

But there’s a difference between the belief that he is the proper man revive the team, and hubris. The stubbornness that served him well during championships has turned out to be a liability. The environment is toxic now and beyond repair. Time to bow out, receive an ovation and have a statue installed in front of the Emirates. But sadly, for the good of the club, Wenger must leave.


I wonder if Hubris is the main reason why he doesn’t walk away himself, or a fear of the unknown. Arsenal is and has been his life for decades.

Donald\'s Trump

Love makes the world go round. Talent is what makes Arsenal climb the league.

Put in

It is called gravity Donald! Gravity!


I genuinely wish he would recognize that his time is over, announce it and let the fans unite around all that he has done for the club and send him off well. Part of the problem now is that there still seems a genuine chance he stays on – which really is hard to justify on any other basis than looking at the past. Or alternatively let’s say he decides to leave after the season is over and doesn’t announce it – that would rob him and the fans of the chance to properly celebrate him. It’s time to man up and announce it.


how very true you are. wengar is not the problem but those around him. the players just seem to roll over — no fight for the colours or fans.

Theo the friendly Ghost
Theo the friendly Ghost

I feel the same way, BUT do you agree that he should have left as manager after we won the last FA Cup, as we haven’t competed for the premier league in years? He needed to identify the need for a fresh perspective and direction, and he didn’t, and now we look like a bunch of clown shoes.


I agree with almost everything you say after your First sentence!


Matthieu Flamini, French billionaire who saved the planet with his green fuel invention, comes to back to save Arsenal and invest 300m£ a year on transfers. Wake me up when May comes.


Flamoney, can you please buy off the majority stake from that silent wanker?


what can you expect from a team captained by Walcott and Ramsey?

Lord Nicki B

Djourou, Flamini and Wojciech (on social media at least) looked like they cared more about the club that those actually on the pitch.

Woj simply posted an angry emoji on Instagram after the match just fyi. Djourou was on that post.

Flamini, please, just save the world, earn a ton, and buy us out from this misery.


If I may ask, Why do we deserve to be in the champions league Mathieu? Would it lose its luster without us? 😀 Beyond disappointed about our club’s situation, just trying to find humor when I can.


You failed.


Nah, you’re just butthurt.


For what it’s worth I think a season out of the champions league might be a good thing.

It hasn’t done Chelsea any harm …

Me So Hornsey

It also hasn’t done Man U any good.

Glory hunter

Being in it definitely hasnt done us any good, so im willing to see what happens without it.


They appointed shit managers to replace Ferguson. That was the main problem there.


Probably also the new chairman


I agree. Trying to be genuine contenders for so many trophies with the squad we currently have is leaving us too short to put in a realistic attempt at winning ANYTHING. Being out of Europe may also be the wake up call Silent Stan needs to recognise things are on the slide.


It’s definitely a big advantage for the teams that are not in it.

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

Financially we can’t afford more than one season out of the Champions League, we’re not Chelsea with an owner who can bail us out or a top level commercial deals that can make up the shortfall (their kit deal will be double ours next season for example).

I’d even go as far as to say one of Ozil & Alexis would have to be sold, regardless of whether they wanted to sign new contracts or not.

Clock-End Mike

And the Europa League too, I assume you mean? That’s an even bigger distraction (though Arsenal would be one of the better teams in it, if we do manage to finish 5th).


Arsene Wenger…………a legend, who is now deceived by his own self belief.
His tactics are outdated, and yet he believes the recovery, the magic, is just around the corner, using the same old formula.
He tragically reminds me of the King Canute story, about a man who thought he could turn back the tide. He sat in his chair on the beach, willed the tide to obey, and, guess what, he drowned.
Meanwhile , a bloke of Sam Allardyces ilk can boast about how to deal with Arsenal, and put them to the sword. Surely that describes the death of an era???


i am ashamed to say this but i was hoping that one of players would at least put a two footed challenge or try to beat the crap out of the opponents. chelsea leicester and now arsenal. players just not playing for the club or for the manager. the fight between koscielny and sanchez seems to have changed the dressing room dynamic drastically. ever since the liverpool match we have lost the will to fight.

Merlin\'s Panini

At times like this all you can really say is Takuma Asano.

Rambo\'s Thai Retreat
Rambo\'s Thai Retreat

What a wonderful phrase

Oh No Not Again

This is the problem with arsenal now we use to have players that wanted to play for the club who loved the club and had a heart for the club. Now it’s all about money and that is it no player for arsenal loves the club or the fans.

Say what you want about players like Adams,Keown,Vieira,Petit and Henry amongst others but they would always fight to the end and give everything.


I don’t often listen to the podcasts but todays Arsecast Extra, was very good. Agree with the conclusions reached.

fed up

To think a lot of us fans were worried about uzmanov (spelling) being bad news for the club, but silent Stan isn’t exactly great is he!!!

Faisal Narrage



Last season, I mentioned our issues in midfield were not simply Flamini.

In fact Flamini and Ramsey (whom we know isn’t the easiest to play with in central mid) held together well for a stretch which included wins over City and a high pressure match with Olympiakos away.

This was without many of our better assets (including Alexis)

In fact it was when our better players came back that ironically this partnership fell apart.

Ostensibly we also dried up up top with our attacking assets returned and Ramsey tried to make the difference by playing higher. This isolated the aging Frenchman and we were faced with the wrong end of a couple of lob sided losses.

Coquelin came in and we leaked 13 goals in 7 games. This was with Elneny sprinkled in.

So clearly Flamini aging as he was and limited was not principle issue.

We saw against West Ham people quoting ad tedium Elneny’s passing statistics (conveniently comes out as and when)

Flamini has had high 90% passing completion rates but the same statistic obssessed people will neglect to mention it bc it won’t fit the narrative. Statistics its what you want people to see.

No mentioned made out the number of key passes Flamini made last season to initiate attacks leading to goals scored which will surprise some.

All said, it serves to illustrate sometimes you have to take things in better perspective and watch the games again.

People have natural bias stoked into them sometimes and it can affect judgement. In such instances, mistakes are amplified on the popularly vilified players.

None of the above of course will solve our current issues.

At the moment all midfield choices in deep midfield next to Granit are poor.

Elneny as I mentioned is an average player. Ramsey doesn’t seem to have enough bite for the role and is better further up as surrogate to Ozil. Coquelin for soome inextricable reason cannot strike the proper balance next to the Swiss.

We can also try Ox but he is better served wider and providing crosses IMO plus he is less experience defensively.

Iwobi is one I feel may have some potential with technical skill, strength and eye for through passes, like Ox, he may have better ability to exploit the vertical carrying the ball at feet. BUT again, it is some risk at this stage to have him defensively in the role.

Another option (again not without risk) is to tweak our formation to add more presence in the middle in much the same way Chelsea did following defeat to us earlier in season :

A 3-4-2-1 in this case with wing backs


In this case, there is more cover for Bellerin going foreward (Against Palace Mustafi was constantly dragged out wide because Walcott was not tracking back quick or deep enough)

Also we get more flexibility with Ozil and Alexis interchanging up top joined by Iwobi when needed into the middle.

Ox and Bellerin will push wider, Monreal will have to curb his attacking instincts a bit more but price to pay for some stability.

The problem at this point of the season, is its a fundamental tweak that may or may not pay off.

But considering we have thus far tinkered and not found solution with any of the deep midfield partnerships next to the important Granit, may be some out side the box thinking might be needed in consideration. Chelsea tweaked, implemented it relatively quickly and got very effective thereafter.

Its difficult choices ahead of us. Conttacts, ownership issues are all irrelevant IMO.

What we need to recover first and foremost at this point is confidence. The players are looking lost out there and the gaffer needs to find a solution tactically or otherwise.

Much as I feel it is classless to be constantly on Wenger’s back and accusing him of ‘poisonous atmosphere, OTOH, ultimately results on the pitch are his responsibility and he isn’t producing at the moment.

Like it or not, we are going to be with him to end of season.

Faisal Narrage

Dude, get a blog.


I think the other issue on hand is that simply the league has caught up with us technically.

The redistribution of Television money plus influx of foreign players and managers (remember when the same media were on our backs for foreigness and see Stoke these days), has made it more difficult for us to sustain competition over a season not just against peer rivals but also ‘lesser’ teams.

Wenger has introduced in recent times high end talent like Ozil, Alexis arguably even Cech, Santi but also Mustafi and Granit.

BUT the rest of the team need to also catch up technically.

This whole focus on English core is Wenger at his best getting carried away with idealistic projects.

IMO we have enough English core even if we let some of the lesser performers and injury prone elements go.

We need more technical players who can hold and beat players with the ball.

The likes of Elneny, Ramsey and Coquelin are pass and play players. There is no surprise that we lack vertical ability going up field and when face against the wall, tend to go sideways.

We no longer have the Diaby, Rosicky (well we never had them for any sustained period) or Santi (I doubt he will be that available on return being up there in age and carrying a chronic injury now)

We need to find players who can carry the ball through feet in midfield but also have a bit of grit about them.

We should be iMO looking at Fabinho at MOnaco or Saul Niguez at Athletico those type of players to complement the passing range of Granit from deeper.

Even in the wide areas (even if we replace Alexis and /or Ozil), we should IMO replace Walcott. Sure he weighs in with goals here and there but when not scoring, he tends to largely be less effective sticking the ball or carrying threat up field.

At his age, his pace will wane in a couple of seasons. Whilst he has a good price on his head for scoring, I say cash in on him now and upgrade.

A player like Mahrez (Barca are rumoured in for him) is what we really need to bring in, someone with a bit more guile who can combine speed with trickery beating a player or two if need be on his own.

I think we are losing a bit of the fear factor teams use to have of us with the way we play now, lacking cut and thrust up top.

Point in case, Wenger again persisting with a project trying to get Welbeck fired at this stage of the season when we frankly need someone to produce.

Again (as against West Ham) plenty of pace about Welbeck but to what end result? Why did he get clapped off the pitch at West Ham? He missed two sitters and barely held the ball for us.

Rather we play Giroud, get back to a bit more basics up top and just stick the ball in (feed the big man or feed off of him)

Maybe in the summer we can try and pry Draxler in exchange for Alexis should the chilean want to go to PSG and if the German is unsettled.

But right now, we need the experienced players who know how to finish on and that would be Giroud fired up and given enough minutes from the start not played as a ‘plan B’. This as I have mentioned is a mistake that will come home to roost.

Plenty of issues to ponder but solution has to come from the limits of current squad until we (are forced) to address the wider shortfalls in the summer.


I don’t think any amount of contract issues is frankly an issue.

This is a convenient excuse for short falls on the pitch stoked by the media to invent more crisis than necessary.

As mentioned :

1) IF Wenger said yes he is staying, the banner people will start up again with more ‘poisonous’ rethoric.

2) IF Wenger says no he is leaving, some players aside from Alexis and Ozil will be looking at their future (the agents certainly will start procedings). Cue vulture in the wings stories from the media.

What benefit is there for Wenger to announce his intentions now?

The correct thing to do is right the ship on the pitch first and foremost.

This whole Wenger contract affecting the club is a pile of nonsense.


tl dr 🙂


It’s quite frankly astounding that Wenger even gets a say in it at this point. Any other manager would have been let go at this point.


A young Flamini holding in front of the back 4 with a young Cesc in front of him pulling the strings and creating for others. That midfield combo had a couple of good seasons together – creativity of Cesc and bite of Flamini – better than any combo we have at that moment.

Oh No Not Again

This is the problem with the players at arsenal now none of them have a heart for the club it is all about money.

At least the likes of Adams,Keown,Vieria, Henry and others would fight to the end of the game and season the players we have now just stop and roll over.

The hunger and passion have gone from the club.


Who is directing traffic on this team? Flaming, Mertesacker, Kos, all out or gone. No Artet no one to take control. Everyone thought it would be Xhaka but he is slow footed and in danger of being sent off every game. The team is rudderless and it is Wengers fault. He controls the scouting, training, contracts etc. yes Silent Stan is silent and Ivan quiet. But they gave the keys to Wenger and he drove the ship into the rocks. Why? Because other clubs scouting departments caught up to him and he is determined to get “value”. This leads him to take Xhaka for 35 mil instead of paying Kante a higher salary at the same transfer rate. Could have had Higuain, Aubameyang and Griezman for under 30 million pounds but refused to pull the trigger. Instead we buy Welbeck and Lucas Perez for lower transfer fees. Just player after player after player ( C Ronaldo, Ibra, Hazard, etc.) who ended up elsewhere because Wenger hesitated. There is so much money in the league now that everyone has caught up. Theo as captain? Welbeck does not score goals. Giroud is a perfect foil to the way Allardyce sets up his team. Where was he? On the bench. I love and respect Arsene…#Wengerout


Flamini..damn autocorrect


Flaming Flamini and Ivan the Quiet


Great point – we don’t sign players when there’s a “risk” involved and then when they turn out they cost too much money. We’re stuck in this no mans land where we are stuck with totally average players simply b/c Wenger trained them and didn’t have to invest huge fees in them.


Sorry mate. Just down voted you in error. Agree with your points 100%

Original Paul

We really should have a comments thing after the Arsecast Blogs…?
I thought you two were a bit harsh on Gibbs considering he has hardly played! 🙂


Clearly the disease that remains, over years of passing players, is Wenger and his associates.