Flamini’s cup final disappointments
Mathieu Flamini has spoken about his disappointment at being consistently overlooked in cup finals by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Flamini made his desire to leave the club public last month – citing a lack of first-team football as his main reason – and has now elaborated on those comments.
“In my first season at Arsenal, I played in all the matches in the FA Cup only to be left out of the team for the final. Last year, I played in every match in the Champions league but was left on the bench for the final. Then last season I played in a lot of the Carling Cup campaign but once more I didn’t play in the final. I was left in the stands and it was not easy to understand. I have not started a game since February and I have to think of my career.”
Flamini underrated by Wenger
It is very difficult to argue with Flamini’s point of view. As he said, he has been excellent for the Gunners when called upon and extremely unlucky to miss out on playing in the FA Cup, Champions League and Carling Cup finals despite playing a significant part in all three. He has taken this to mean that Wenger does not want to rely on him in big games and sees this as a big reason to move on. Again, it’s hard to argue with this. It seems that these comments are the final nail in the coffin and Flamini will surely be moving on in the summer.
I am personally a big, big fan of Flamini and will be sorry to see him go. I think Wenger has undervalued his potential and I subsequently believe whoever does sign Flamini will not regret their decision. It is obvious that Wenger sees more potential in the likes of Abou Diaby, Denilson and perhaps even Johan Djourou to fill the void that will inevitably left by Gilberto Silva’s absence and does not feel that Flamini can do this job on a long-term basis. Only time will tell whether Wenger has made a mistake in letting Flamini get away from Arsenal.
Fabianski in, Poom out
In other news, Arsenal have finally confirmed the signing of Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski for an undisclosed fee.
“I am delighted to be joining Arsenal. They are a great Club with many world class players and I am really looking forward to meeting my new team mates. Arsenal is one of the biggest and best clubs in Europe and I hope that I can help the team win trophies in the future.”
Whilst Fabianski has finally joined Arsenal last season’s third choice goalkeeper Mart Poom is going in the other direction has been released and signed by recently relegated Watford, also for an undisclosed fee. Poom was signed midway through last season as cover for Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia and only made a couple of appearances for the club.
Fabianski signing should refocus first-choice Lehmann
Whilst Arsenal does already posess a world class first-choice goalkeeper in Jens Lehmann, there is no doubt that the German was not at his best last season. He had an annoying tendency to get ruffled by opposition players and this resulted in him receiving and unacceptable tally of eight yellow cards in the Premiership last season. There is a genuine feeling amongst Arsenal supporters that the signing of Fabianski should – at the very least – keep Lehmann on his toes and give him a firm reminder that he is not irreplaceable should he inexcusedly lose his head again next season. Should Fabianski perform well when given the opportunity, however, there is every chance that he could displace Lehmann as the club’s number one goalkeeper by the end of the season.
So, in summary, outgoing is a 35-year-old third-choice keeper who only made a couple of appearances for the Arsenal first team and incoming is a 190cm tall, 22-year-old player who has been voted best goalkeeper in the Polish League for the past two seasons and should give Jens Lehmann a real run for his money. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this has been a good bit of business for the club.