Mathieu Flamini’s Injury: How Will Arsenal Cope in his Absence?
It all began with a scintillating debut performance for the Gunners against the old enemy, Tottenham Hotspurs, as Arsene Wenger’s valiant soldiers held their nerve to seal a 1-0 victory which was followed by the mind-boggling capture of Mesut Ozil. With Mikel Arteta suffering a thigh injury early in the season, Flamini slotted into the holding midfield like he never left and his enforcing presence liberated Aaron Ramsey to strut his stuff in attack, like Cesc Fabregas in the 2007/08 campaign.
With Arteta undoubtedly an indispensable player to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger was forced to make a decision on his holding midfield pairing when the Spaniard was fully fit and he ended up fielding Arteta and Flamini in the heart of the midfield, which ensured that Ramsey was deployed on the right wing, a position he has gotten much joy from in the past.
Against Napoli at the Emirates, it seemed like a stroke of genius as the Arteta-Flamini combo was water-tight in midfield, providing a fulcrum to instigate attacks as well as protecting the back four behind them. Ozil opened his goalscoring account with a peach of a finish which was provided by Ramsey from the right wing. Arsene Wenger deployed the same squad against West Brom but they were probably affected by their midweek exertions and the Gunners put up a collective sub-standard performance that was just enough in the tank to salvage a draw.
When the Gunners hosted Norwich after the international break, they were firing on all cylinders and that Jack Wilshere’s team goal after an exquisite team move gets better with each passing replay. However, the magnificent midfield performance in the 4-1 victory was marred by a concussion suffered by Flamini after a clash of heads with Alexandre Tettey.
Following the team doctor’s advice, Flamini was rested against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and all thoroughbred Gooners could attest that his absence was hugely felt. The visiting holding midfield combination of Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender smothered Mikel Arteta and with Ramsey bombing forward, the midfield was lost. If Arteta had the raging Flamini by his side, it would have been another outcome.
Notwithstanding, Flamini made a highly welcome comeback against Crystal Palace but after just eight minutes or so, he was replaced by Serge Gnabry after suffering a groin injury. Shortly after the game, Wayne Versey of Goal.com reported that he’d be out for two weeks,
“Flamini is set to miss the club’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash against Liverpool next Saturday, as well as the crucial Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund and Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Chelsea.I can’t stress much about the loss of Flamini in these upcoming crucial clashes without revealing his stats so far this season with some aid from WhoScored,
Goal understands that Flamini is now expected to be sidelined for a fortnight with the injury and that he is targeting the trip to Manchester United on November 10 for his return.”