The perfect squad player

The perfect squad player

Cesc Fabregas celebrates his goal against Manchester CityMore analysis from the City game 

It’s been a quiet start to a week in which Arsenal play their most important game of the season so far. The second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Sparta Prague kicks off on Wednesday night and Arsenal go into the match with a two goal advantage thanks to an excellent result in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, there has been no hint any updates on the injuries suffered by Philippe Senderos and Bacary Sagna and at this stage it is impossible to say whether or not they will be available for the game.

Update: Physio Room has only three Arsenal players listed as injured (Jens Lehmann, William Gallas and Emmanuel Eboue). This means that Senderos and Sagna should both be available but whether they play or not is a different story.

I mentioned yesterday that I did not get to see the Manchester City game but I now have a very good understanding of how Arsenal performed thanks to an excellent new Match Analysis program available on Arsenal TV Online. Two fellows called Dan Roebuck and Stuart Robson discussed the match and were quite critical of Arsenal’s performances in a number of respects. The major one was that they thought the defence struggled to effectively deal with Manchester City’s counter-attacking style, mainly due to Alexander Hleb’s inability to provide adequate cover in front of Mathieu Flamini. As a result, Martin Petrov was often able to surge forward down the left and on another day, he could have had a couple of goals. Hopefully Wenger will get in Hleb’s ear a little bit and ensure he is giving whoever is playing right-back against Sparta Prague the support they need.

Mathieu Flamini is the perfect squad playerThe importance of Flamini

There was also a discussion about the performances of Gilberto Silva and Flamini who filled in for Senderos and Sagna respectively. Personally, I would feel quite comfortable if Gilberto and Flamini played in defence again against Sparta Prague. Flamini had a tough time of it against Petrov but there is no doubts in my mind about his ability to play as a full-back. I often think Flamini’s contribution to the club goes unnoticed by a lot of supporters and the role he plays is absolutely essential. Every great side needs hard-working squad players who can come in and do a job and that is exactly what Flamini is. In a recent article by Jamie Obertelli on the consistently engaging Goal.com, Flamini’s value to the club is summed up perfectly:

“Whilst most fans will agree that Flamini is not technically gifted enough, or physically imposing enough for a regular first team spot, his recent performances have highlighted his importance to the club. Flamini displays drive, commitment and desire every game and has actually pitched in with some important goals during his time at Arsenal. Add to that the versatility of being able to slot in at either full-back position and it is clear why Wenger decided to keep him.”

Anyone who saw the Arsenal Crossbar Challenge video would’ve noticed the chants of ‘Gattuso! Gattuso!’ that went up from his teammates when Flamini went to take his kick and I think that says a lot about how he is viewed by the rest of the squad. Indeed, Robin van Persie, who spoke today about his anger over Arsenal being labelled as a weak club, singled out Flamini as one of the toughest players at the club along with Fabregas and Gilberto. The respect is definitely there within the player group, but sometimes I feel as though it is missing from the supporters. So far Arsenal have been able to handle their injuries quite well because of guys like Flamini and I think some Arsenal fans need to realise this.

What do you think?

Have your say on Mathieu Flamini by leaving a comment.

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53 Responses to “The perfect squad player”

  1. igorli
    August 27, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    On Hleb’s performance: penalty and assist.
    What do you want else ?

  2. Onyechi
    August 27, 2007 at 10:37 am #

    Flamini can be very good if he eliminates some of his concentration lapses and giving the ball away quite so often, in dangerous areas I hasten to add.

    If he can also assume the role of playing through the middle as a midfielder as was noted in one of the matches( I cannot remember which) during the Emirates Cup, he can be very effective indeed. That was in my opinion one of his better games for us.
    However I do not see this happening often as we already have cover in this area.
    But as for being a squad memeber, his contributions must never be overlooked completely.

  3. darragh
    August 27, 2007 at 11:35 am #

    I think your comments on Flamini are spot on. He is a great contributer and great all-round asset (remember that goal against Chelsea last year!). I foresee him becoming very important in Arsenal’s title race this year.

  4. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks Darragh. I just think if we want to win we need a couple of the second-rung players to really step up this year. Flamini has done a stellar job so far and I think the likes of Denilson, Senderos and Bendtner will all have a big part to play as well.

  5. adane - Dubai
    August 27, 2007 at 12:36 pm #

    Flamini is hard worker player ; he have a good advatange by playing in alot places ,…. it is good to have lik flamini

  6. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 12:49 pm #

    Flamini is Arsenals most underrated player. He can spot players in space, pass well and has a keen eye for goal. Last season, he scored the winner against Zagreb (2nd leg), he scored against Liverpool and Chelsea ( 2 of the best teams in England ). Scored in the thrashing of Blackburn. I am a Flamini fan. I’m glad he didn’t leave this season.

  7. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 12:56 pm #

    I just found a great article on Goal.com that discusses Arsenal’s chances of success this season. I’ve edited the above post to include the link.

  8. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

    TRNASFER NEWS: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will break the bank to sign Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Ronaldinho after having two meetings with his brother and agent. (Daily Mail)

    Portsmouth are set to sign Bolton’s Nicolas Anelka for £9m and Fulham’s Papa Bouba Diop for £3m. (Daily Mirror)

    Arsenal have made an ambitious attempt to sign Robinho from Real Madrid. The bid is believed to be around £18m. (Website)

  9. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    I can’t see Robinho joining Arsenal, but stranger things have happened. It is interesting to note that he was not in the squad for Real’s game against Atletico, so there may be some substance to the rumour. Do we want another lightweight player though?

  10. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 1:04 pm #

    Correction – Robinho started the game against Atletico.

  11. ColonelMarquand
    August 27, 2007 at 1:06 pm #

    Don’t forget also that the Flamster played at left back in what was a record breaking clean sheet run in the Champions League, Senderos too.

  12. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 1:07 pm #

    That nickname; the Flamster, is so funny. I love it. As for that Champions League run, he was absolutely superb. I thought Senderos was OK, but relied heavily on Toure, but Flamini was simply outstanding. You don’t often get a guage of just how quick he is until he’s placed in a position to really sprint, such as at full-back.

  13. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 1:40 pm #

    What name should i have on my arsenal shirt?, DO you want me to do a daily transfer thing?

  14. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    Jay, send me your details via the Contact form and we’ll work something out. Cheers. Also, I’d personally go for Adebayor or Flamini (I really have a soft spot for them!) but Fabregas or van Persie would be a safe option – they’re not going anywhere in the near future. Basically, I’d recomend you to pick your favourite player. Let us know who you choose 🙂

  15. NicktheGooner
    August 27, 2007 at 1:49 pm #

    Flamini is a great player. He important for our squad in many ways. He’s underrated yes. But there are many who understand his importance. Most importantly Arsene Wenger himself.

  16. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    I just updated the injury the post with regards to injury news. Physio Room does not have Senderos or Sagna listed as injured so I imagine that they are both available for the match against Sparta. I have a feeling Wenger will probably want to rest the pair of them though.

  17. knightman
    August 27, 2007 at 1:59 pm #

    hey i got a friend called kibs and he’s got his jersey printed ‘Robin Van Kibs’..it looks cool. i’d go for Adebayor coz he’s my favourite player but ‘Dudu’ is a fresh option (except that it means ‘insect’ in my native language – swahili)

    bout Flamini, the thing i like most about him is his hard game..he plays hard and doesn’t hesitate to take shots on goal. he does the donkey work for the team.. 😉

  18. knightman
    August 27, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    that’s good news SF..i really hope Sagna will be available. tell u what, if we win tuesdays game i’ll send you a cold beer from kenya SF 🙂

  19. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    I reckon Sagna and Senderos will be rested, i just heard that Jamie Carragher is out injured with a broked rib and collapsed lung.

  20. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    The Arsenal game is on Wednesday.

  21. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    knightman – Cheers! 😀 Chances are it’ll probably get lost in the mail on the way to Australia. Nice thought though, especially as it’s starting to warm up over here.

    Jay – That’s true – I really feel for Carragher. As for the other injured players, Gallas and Lehmann are listed as being available on September 15 whilst Eboue will be back by September 2. It seems we will be back to full strength much sooner than expected.

  22. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    SF: I filled in the Contact List, i think i done it correctly but i’m not sure. I’ve poted to go for Bendnter, Flamini or Fabregas. ( for my shirt)

  23. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 2:12 pm #

    Sweet. Thanks. I’ve got to go because my battery is about to die but I’ll check it out as soon as possible. Have a good one all.

  24. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 2:23 pm #

    If we are tlking bout the perfect squad player i think Walcott and Clichy get a shout. Clichy is fast, makes very intelliagent runs, can keep the ball for hours and plays LB. Walcott is super speedy, good crosses, powerful shooting. Striker or Winger.

  25. rayray
    August 27, 2007 at 3:17 pm #

    For me Flamini is the new Ray Parlour. Although critisised by a few as not up to Arsenals extremely high quality, when Mathieu plays you know immediately that he’ll never let you down. His goals last season were also a tribute to his “no lack of skill”. I believe he has the ability to establish himself as a fans favourite just like David Price, Eddie Kelly, Richie Powling etc., in days gone by.

  26. manueljiji
    August 27, 2007 at 4:42 pm #

    When i heard Flamini “would be sold”,i cursed,am happy he has stayed and is being recognised by some.
    If he plays more often,sooner or later we will all stand up for him. You’ve said all the good things about him.

  27. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 4:55 pm #

    Everyone has said good things about him because there is nothing to say bad about him. He may not be the best midfielder in the world but he is still valuable to the gunners. He fits in defence and midfield and is always ready for a challenge, he can score and pass perfectly.

  28. Joshua Asante
    August 27, 2007 at 5:27 pm #

    I’m always a great fan of Walcott.He is my favourite player.I think he will be one of Arsenal greats?Let us give him more time he’ll come good I see a lot of Thierry Henry in him,He’s definately better than Ryan Babel by any standards.Just watch him!You will be singing his praises soon.
    Arsenal 4-Sparta Prague 0 !come Wednesday.

  29. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 5:40 pm #

    TRANSFER NEWS: Arsenal will sign teenage French striker Gilles Sunu in January 2008 for between £700,000 and £1m on a four-year deal from Chateauroux.

    Manchester City defender Micah Richards has pledged his future to the club despite interest from Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

    Arsenal have lined-up a swoop for Celtic keeper Artur Boruc as Jens Lehmann’s long-term successor

    Arsenal have made a shocking bid for Turkish Champions Playmaker Stephen Appiah.

  30. Moses
    August 27, 2007 at 8:41 pm #

    Exactly what you pointed out happened just now. We dont seem to notice the importance and hardwork of some key figures in our squad. We forget easily the commitment Flamini showed in the season we got to the champions league finals and now. Every game I see flamini giving his 120% plus some extra bit. And to correct Onyechi I dont know what game you were watching of flamini giving the ball away. Everyone might notice van persie’s catchy swivles and hlebs darty runs, but please try also to notice the guy that chases the opposing striker from his half and doesn’t give up. Also notice the guy that puts his body in line just to intercept a pass in the middle of the field where there’s no apparent danger. I can understand some misconceptions from fans that dont play the game, cause when you do, you really notice the guy that works hard on your team.

  31. Moses
    August 27, 2007 at 8:43 pm #

    And we were supposed to be commenting on Flamini for today atleast not walcott or van p. or our fab 4. We already know they’re great and we love them. please notice our very own gattuso flamini!!!

  32. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    It’s OK, people can comment on whatever they want. I think we got onto those other players because Jay commented that he thought Clichy and Walcott were his perfect squad players. It’s only natural for the conversation to go on some tangents.

  33. Ronaldo7
    August 27, 2007 at 11:15 pm #

    after watching the arsenal game i have realised 3 obvious things….defence looks shaky at times but to be honest not as shakey as uniteds atm….Hleb is a unbelievable dribbler but lazy as…..rosiky needs to be calling the shots from them middle he struggles out wide and doesnt have the pace..

    i know hleb has been doing well in the middle but his a better wide player than rosiky so why not swap them…..from what i have seen of rosiky in international football is that he likes to be the link man inbehind the strikers and knock the ball around, (similar in a way to aimar)…he doesnt have the strength or speed to go around players….

  34. Jay
    August 27, 2007 at 11:20 pm #

    I’m sorry if this was just about Flamini but i read the title “Perfect Squad Player” so i thouhght Walcott and Clichy had to be mentioned

  35. Spanish Fry
    August 27, 2007 at 11:31 pm #

    Yeah it’s totally fine. There’s no restrictions about what people can talk about here, as long as it’s not rubbish!

  36. gunnershabz
    August 28, 2007 at 6:40 am #

    i never doubted flamini, but i think last season he was told u only be in the team if u willing to play anywhere. he rejected this and now this summer must of accepted the fact he will be played everywhere and now he has started all the games.
    he is a good squad player, and i like his commitment. if he gets more aggressive like gattusso then we will have a great player.

  37. gunnershabz
    August 28, 2007 at 6:47 am #

    i honestly think if the speculation is true adriano is available, he has got problems, weight and his lifestyle but if he is available at a good price, i think he should get him.
    similar to baptista, trim him down, and am sure wenger will sort him out, get him into shape for a month and then slowly get him into the team.
    he strong, good shot and am sure he will take care of himself in the premiership.

    i cant believe teams like man city, middlesboro are linked with him.
    adriano was one of the best strikers around at one point.
    over at gunnerblogs there is rumors of alvaro recoba arriving on a cheap.
    am sure recoba is like 30
    anyone else is agree on adriano, if the price is right i think arsene should be “listening”

  38. ArsenalKenya
    August 28, 2007 at 6:51 am #

    Flamini is great and i will back him all through. Walcot is tipped to be one of the greats at Emirates and people will start noticong him at the end of the season. Remember christiano Ronaldo, the way he took time to adapt to EPL. I fancy Adebayor, Eduardo and Bendter to perform better this season. JAY can you confirm the transfer rumours about Artur Boruc and Stephen Appiah. Wenger is to sign a new 3 year deal as he unveils two new signings. Could these be Boruc/Appiah; Anelka/ Quaresma; Martins/ Luka Modric ?

  39. Spanish Fry
    August 28, 2007 at 7:03 am #

    There was a time when I classified Adriano as the best striker in world football. At his peak (which lasted only for around half a season) he was unstoppable. But his lifestyle is questionable and his attitude even moreso. If Wenger managed to tame him then Adriano could be a world beater at Arsenal, but as it is I just can’t see a move happening.

  40. gunnershabz
    August 28, 2007 at 7:06 am #

    i know what u mean spanish.

    but adriano has to change himself to achieve more to his career, i think he is 25 and well, like i said a price which arsene is “listening” what if inter wanted £8m for him, would u take it??

  41. Spanish Fry
    August 28, 2007 at 7:09 am #

    I would take it. The reason being that if Wenger could see a way to change his attitude then it would be a bargain. I could see Adebayor and Adriano becoming good mates 🙂

  42. gunnershabz
    August 28, 2007 at 7:12 am #

    lol, but like i said its up to arsene if he feels its good value and would be a good investment to the team.
    but then we got so many left footed players up front.
    but hey at £8m if thats the price i would take it. extra options up front and we can attract more brazilian players.
    but i got a feeling fenerbache will sign him, they love signing big name players, dont care what baggage they bring

  43. Spanish Fry
    August 28, 2007 at 7:13 am #

    So true. They took Anelka for a little while so ego is definitely not a problem for them.

  44. gunnershabz
    August 28, 2007 at 7:17 am #

    anyways, if i was wenger i would buy lissana diarra, he is similar to flamini but more stronger in tackle.
    i dont think wenger will buy a defender, now i know he wont buy a winger, he never has bought one. overmars/pires/ljungberg aint out and out wingers.
    luka modric could be one but if dinamo get knocked out of CL.
    i think it all depends on beating sparta prague officialy entering the group stages of CL, then we can buy players.

  45. knightman
    August 28, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    Adriano? well that sounds like the usual weird arsenal signings so i’d say “fine, go get him wenger”.

    The more i think of our striking force, the more i wanna see how a RVP/Bentner and Adebayor/Dudu combination will work out. The idea is to have attacking options to choose from so we avoid last seasons scenario which saw us crippled by injuries..

    For tommorows game, i wanna see Adebayor/Dudu starting and RVP/Bentdner coming in around 70th minute depending on the score sheet. I know people will scream at the thought of RVP not starting but this might infact work so well. What do you think?

  46. Joshua Asante
    August 28, 2007 at 8:15 am #

    Moses if someone comment on Walcott or Clichy,I think it’s o.k.They are not chelsea players!

  47. tharu
    August 28, 2007 at 8:22 am #

    Adriano would be the worst signing ever,becoz he had struggle to score goals for inter milan,but found it easy to score for brazil,want arsenal need is a drive up front,pacey left-wing or right,like di maria of argentina.if we are not going to sign any1 then wenger must give confidents in walcott n eboue to bring that crosses and run ins.

  48. Joshua Asante
    August 28, 2007 at 8:51 am #

    Anyone know the injury update to Eboue,Sagna and Senderos?will they be fit for Wednesday.

  49. Samuel
    August 28, 2007 at 9:34 am #

    tharu: di maria went to benfica. adriano would be good the same way i was excited about baptista… personally i’d say go for it, wenger is better at turning players with potential around than most.

  50. sam nix
    August 28, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Adriano came on against Arsenal in the Emirates Cup and was a diff class. If AW could get him in shape and ego free, then he would be amazing in the Prem. Rather have him than Anelka…

  51. Jay
    August 28, 2007 at 8:51 pm #

    Senderos can play wednesday but Sagna and Eboue are out. Almunia starts again.

  52. sheriff
    April 2, 2008 at 2:18 am #

    i think adebayor should be sold for a better striker cos u will put arsenal into a deep shit which will make them recret.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Arsenal FC Blog » Blog Archive » Arsenal's (almost) perfect start continues - October 1, 2007

    […] to grow because his decision to stay is having a big impact on Arsenal’s season so far. I mentioned previously that Flamini is the perfect squad player; someone who can be relied upon to perform well whenever […]

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