Mathieu’s Delight As Spurs Slayed In Flam Show

ts (2)

Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 2 Arsenal

0 – 1 Flamini (28)
1 – 1 Chambers o.g. (56)
1 – 2 Flamini (78)

Matthieu Flamini, joint top scorer for Arsenal from his one appearance this season. Footballing sensation, Harry Kane, has scored zero in his half-a-dozen club matches so far.

It’s a funny old game.

That’s the way the footballing gods like to roll these days. Kick a club when it’s down, offer that branch of hope with a twinkle in their eyes which asks, “Did you really think I’d forgotten you?” I can’t think immediately of a least likely hero for the night nor a performance like it, to bring yourself back to everyone’s attention.

Heavily linked away with a move in the summer, only to remain at the club heading toward another Bosman in 2016, Flamini had been absent from first team action. I was surprised when the line-ups were announced, to see his inclusion in the starting XI alongside Mikel Arteta. The pair – the Spaniard to a lesser degree – compensated for Francis Coquelin’s absence and in Flamini’s case, Olivier Giroud’s barren spell in front of goal.

The time to focus on Saturday’s encounter with Leicester will come. Let Flamini enjoy his day in the sun, bask in the glory of night which he won’t quickly forget.

It is just bizarre to think that Flamini has as many goals in one night as the club’s strikers. I’m not thinking about what that says about their form so far, simply enjoying the smile thinking that Tottenham were entirely undone by a previously forgotten man. He won’t be any longer.

The two finishes were excellent in their own respect. Yes, the first relied on Vorm’s mishandling of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot but Flamini followed it in with a poachers instinct, providing a lifted shot high into the net, out of the goalkeeper’s reach.

As for the second, if that had been Özil or Sanchez, everyone would have been purring about the technique and how only football’s elite can provide those moments. It wasn’t, it was a thirty-something midfielder driving his legs forward in support of his team-mates who provided the perfect volley as the ball looped into his path.

You can only tip your hat to the man.

It was a strange night, London’s premier derby with the supporting cast on show providing a lower key affair than normal. On the pitch at least. Off it, the usual tales of Neanderthals and blood-letting surfaced post-match, some not returning home as safely as they had left; a swift and full recovery to you. Some things never change around this fixture; it was a vile place to travel to thirty years ago; nothing much has improved.

Arsenal rarely look in genuine trouble. Tottenham exploited the lack of protection afforded Mathieu Debuchy and his own insecurities to attack down the Arsenal right. The time out of the game since Arnautovic’s unwarranted assault comes with ring-rustiness but not being restored to the starting XI immediately, has destroyed his confidence. When you make Danny Rose look a good player, you know it’s not a good night.

Overall, the defence did well. I can’t recall any opportunities of note before Flamini’s first goal and afterwards, Kane’s shot which was superbly defended by Gibbs on the line and a couple of Ospina saves, there wasn’t a real threat. Yes, Tottenham attacked down the right but they fizzled out for the most part in wayward passing and timely interceptions by Mertesacker and Chambers.

The latter has been paying attention. Unfortunate on Saturday when the ball cannoned off his back into the net, he was unlucky once more as he stretched for the ball ahead of Ospina and diverted it into the net, as the Colombian dived behind him to gather the ball safely had he not intervened. A lack of communication between the pair is the root cause, something they will overcome but it’s the sort of early season misfortune which dogged Laurent Koscielny for his early years at the club so at least Chambers is learning something…

Arsenal’s reward is a trip to Hillsborough for the sixth meeting with Sheffield Wednesday in this competition. A reminder of Wembley glory and a repeat of Martin Hodge’s generosity toward Nigel Winterburn wouldn’t go amiss. For a trophy that Arsenal have a genuine chance of winning, it was a relatively kind draw. The remaining ties are shaping this to be a Premier League Reserve Cup this season with no Football League presence guaranteed in the next round.

Spurn the opportunity of silverware? I wonder if Arsène will look more seriously if his charges reach the last eight? I’m sure Mathieu Flamini will beg to differ.

’til Tomorrow.

56 thoughts on “Mathieu’s Delight As Spurs Slayed In Flam Show

  1. Morning YW

    Nice to win.
    Credit where it’s due, Flamini did well for the goals. Unfortunately it’s 2 in 2 for Calum too.

  2. I’d guess we will play pretty much the same team against Wednesday next month.
    The performance was quite disjointed at times as you’d expect but in the end we took a risk and it paid off.
    Hopefully, the real pay-off comes with 3 points at Leicester.
    Been a much better week than last week.

  3. I am going to continue my theme from yesterday that this was a performance of previously regular first teamers who are ‘down on their uppers’ or who are waiting for the chance to do their coaching badges. Hardly any of them are getting regular games at the moment, but they could be – it was not the usual serving of youngsters and strictly B side replacements.

    Therin lies our strengths and our weaknesses too, the A team can’t hit a barn door, so neither can the B team, because it requires an instinct and composure in front of goal that we lack. It was a chance for The Flaming Arteta to shine and fill those boots, but it could have easily been the Jack or Tommy show had they been fit. None of the players are bad and we have talked well at times of all of them; they have all had chances before and many have been feted.

    So what happens when you bang together a bunch of players who could collectively be regarded as being ‘a bit out of sorts’ or even ‘down on their luck’? Well they beat their rivals fairly easily.

  4. AITG,

    In response to your mail from yesterday’s stream. Certainly, I agree it could have been TR scoring, he has a good record in NLDs.

  5. Mawnin’ All,
    The title “Lucky Arsenal” was never more apt than a few Summers ago when old garcon Mathieu Flamini knocked on Arsene’s door and asked for a job. Arsene, remembering Mathieu’s past contribution to the cause, took him on again and the rest is history.
    Arsenal supporters of a certain age will remember way back in the post-war years when old stagers like Joe Mercer and Ronnie Rooke were signed, nearing the end of their careers. Both (and there were others) gave of their experience to our
    Club, with inevitable success.
    Those who write off older players should remember that their talents and experience contribute to our cause in more ways than one. 😉

  6. nicky

    That’s the theme of tomorrow’s post: it’s disingenuous to claim Flamini is Arsenal saviour when the manager was prepared to let him leave in the summer. 🙂

  7. For balance we should also point out that Mathieu’s past contribution included running down his contract and clearing off on a free after a few months of decent form.

    Well done to him for last night though.

  8. If Coq is fit he should certainly play on Saturday, although of course I’m grateful for Flamini’s double yesterday.

    If Coq’s not fit and Santi plays then who plays best with him is a difficult decision. Ramsey, Arteta, Flamini, Chambers, Ox ???? Is there another better option as a one time against Leicester?

  9. YW, I never claimed that Flamini was a “saviour” of Arsenal, merely that to sign him out of the blue, on a free, only emphasises the luck with which Arsenal FC will always be associated. (I hope). If only he was 5 years younger, he would make a great captain.

  10. @AITG

    Quick note…..

    Gibbs did have a run of form during that time when Nacho was still bedding and wasn’t playing well, problem was, Gibbs struggled defensively because he focused on attacking. Nacho was then inserted and the rest is history.

  11. No, sorry, that wasn’t directed at you personally. It summed up some of the crap I’ve seen elsewhere. Note to self: bloggers here are more discerning than social media. 🙂

  12. Flamini on his goals and performance:

    “The two goals were for them.

    “They’ve always supported me, they’ve all been behind me and they’ve played a big role in my career.

    “It was important for me to celebrate with them and nobody else.

    “It was the first time I’ve scored two times in a game. [It’s good] to score against Tottenham in a derby in such an important game for Arsenal and the fans.

    “For me [it’s special] to play against Tottenham in a game that has always been important in my career.

    “It was my first game when I came back to Arsenal and to score two goals today and here was important for me.

    “I tried to be a bit creative today. I had the opportunity, I felt that there was maybe a possibility so I went forward [for the first goal] and the ball came back to my feet.

    “I scored with my left foot, which was also a nice surprise.”

  13. Have to tip my hat off to Flamini, I thought he should have been put to pasture and he came out and decided to have one of those moments that may very well be remembered in London Derby folklure. You know it will start, “Remember the Cesc, Mozart, Helb, Flamini years, those were so really great teams to watch. the futbol was free flowing and Flamini was always there to do the dirty work. But I do remember that one Derby in the Carling Cup/League Cup when Flamini had his moment with 2 really good goals. Who woulda thought”

    I thought for the most part the match was end to end due in large part to both sets of midfields sans Flamini, being non-existent. It was good to see Mert back and in commanding form, while I thought Chambers had a really good match, he seems to be reminding us he is a good player, we all just have to remember that he is a young player and it will take time. Gibbs was uneven but job well done to him for staying on his post and making the save of the match.

    Talking about funny ol’ game, the best goals of teh match came from an unwanted DM who again showed his love and passion for Arsenal and the best save of the night came from a LB who doesn’t enjoy defending and spends most of his time on teh pitch watching to be a striker not a LB.

  14. Morning,

    Can’t knock Flamini for his poacher’s instinct in following up the long range shot for his first goal. I do wonder what has happened to our striker’s instincts though. That is surely where Giroud should and he looks to me to be in a major funk. With Alexis not getting off the mark yet and Walcott’s performances being a bit mixed, we are really struggling for goals. I hope Alexis starts firing them in soon because we are in dire need of someone else to take up the goal scoring mantle this season.

  15. Whenever he plays Flaming brings a lot of passion, a lot of can do and fight to the Arsenal team and that’s a very good thing. He works incredibly hard and demands more from his fellow players. Exactly what Arsenal need. It was noticeable that Coq came into the side and immediately behaved like this, while surrounded by vastly more experienced and accomplished players. Barking orders and organising and encouraging his fellow players. Where are the older players hiding in these moments ?

  16. Well done Flamini.
    Can’t feel anything but happy for him. Was good to see his passion and willingness to get into positions to score.

  17. I also agree with all you guys lauding Flambo.

    That said, I must confess my first thought was – ‘what the hell is one of our HDMs doing in their penalty area – get back you twit’ – swiftly followed by, ‘oh, no! —— great goal Flambo, you are my hero’.

    I should explain that the stifled ‘oh, no’ was because in the first split second of his shot, I thought he had lifted the ball over the bar — the rapid addendum ‘great goal etc’ was to save face, but I fooled no one in my pub! 😀

  18. @wavey

    Giroud does look a beaten man, Maybe all the talk from ex=players and pundits has gotten to him plus being booed by the French fans. ‘Th icing on the cake is that Arsene has chased strikers and has now openly acknowledged that Theo and Giroud are 1.a and 1.b.

  19. Great post yogi. Remarkable game. Well done by Flamini. It’s nice that someone took the bull by the horns and actually scored a couple of goals. It’s remarkable that Flamini is tied for our leading scorer after he has played a grand total of 1 game.

  20. The other thing that is rather remarkable is that I think those 2 goals yesterday’s were the first goals from open play from someone who started in our central midfield in all of calendar year 2015. I think Ramsey and Ozil each scored a couple of goals when they started at the wide forward position but I dont think Cazorla, Ramsey Ozil or Le Coq had managed to score a goal from open play in the last 30-35 games when they started in central midfield and much maligned Flamini gets 2 in one game.

  21. Wavey.

    I wouldn’t worry about Giroud. He is in a major funk right now but this is no different then the dry spells that he has had every season for the last 3 years. I suspect that at some point he will have another 12 game hot streak and end up scoring in the low to mid teens in league goals just like he always has.

  22. Flamini was awesome playing in the box to box role yesterday. However, Cazorla is back after his 1 game suspension and the creative axis of Cazorla/Ozil will be back. Flamini really was a disaster for most of last season when he played in the DM role. His positional sense was poor and he lost the ball several times in dangerous positions. Flamini’s struggles when he played as the deepest midfielder was the reason for the desperation that Arsene felt when he brought Le Coq back from almost certain exile. One remarkable game does not change what happened last season.

  23. @Bill

    I don’t think anybody anywhere, okay maybe Flamini’s mum/Santori, think that he is some world beater or that he is even a viable option week in or week out; we all think and have said that on last night when we needed a player to step up and be accounted for, Flamnini answered the call. He scored 2 really good goals the 2nd being simply sublime technique, but he was also allowed to run around and make tackles and interceptions because the game was so wide open and both midfields lacked any sort of discipline.

    Tip your hat off to Flamini for having a top night.

  24. Well it’s settled then. Flamini as false 9. He’s the predator solution within that stopped us from buying Action Jackson or Benzema. Arsene knows.

  25. Getting booed probably affects a man like Giroud more than it would others. Tall, handsome, in shape and rich – he is used to fans and ladies fawning over him. Dude is experiencing negative public reaction. That’s not easy to deal with. How many of us have been the object of 10s of thousands of people’s public derision?

  26. Giroud is a seasoned,extremely well paid professional footballer, if some justified criticism doesn’t motivate him to do better, then we should replace him asap.

  27. Some guys respond better than others when boo’ed. Some use that as motivation to disprove the naysayers. I don’t think Olivier is one of them. However he did go on a tear after he was publicly shamed in his cheating scandal. He needs to focus on his job. Maybe the dude has shit going on in his personal life right now. Not saying it is an excuse, just an explanation.

  28. @philmar

    Actually after his cheating scandal, he went into the shitter until he was dropped for Yaya in consecutive matches.

    I do wonder though if its more the boo’ing or was it the likes of Henry, Wrighty and other ex-Arsenal players saying that while Giroud is a good striker, they don’t view him as the type to lead Arsenal to the title.

  29. I wouldn’t be do concerned about the Giroud funk if others were stepping up. Unfortunately today isn’t the case so far this season. It seems that our attack is in a bit of a collective slump. We probably need to find the Alexis reset button and go back to factory settings. Arsene has tried to apply the Arsenal jailbreak and has crashed Sanchez.

  30. It will be interesting to see who Arsene goes with against Leicester at DM because Arteta doesn’t have the legs for a match like that as was evident, at least to me, by yesterday were it seemed like he was just there and every now and then would pop up to commit a foul. Does Arsene go with Flamini next to Santi or Ramsey and hope that Flamini can stay discplined like the days when he did that job for Cesc, Hleb and Mozart? Does Aresne go with Chambers next to one of Santi or Ramsey because he has the athleticism but also is comfortable and composed on the ball enough to be able to play a bit with the biggest question of him naturally being that he is inexperienced in that that role but can play there? Or does Arsene go out of the box and go with Ramsey/Santi pivot and hope that one or both can stay disciplined enough to do the job?

  31. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR DOES COUNTDOWN … QUITE BADLY

    As if getting beaten at home by Arsenal in Milk Cup last night wasn’t infuriating enough for Tottenham Hotspur, a terrible evening at White Hart Lane had already started badly with an example of the kind of poor spelling that the Fiver has long been renowned. Having wheeled out White Hart Lane caretaker Ledley King to present Canadian ice hockey legend and special guest Wayne Gretzky with his own personalised Spurs jersey in a pre-match ceremony, only for Spurs officials to be left Arsenal-coloured red of face when it was drawn to their attention that they’d managed to spell The Great One’s name wrong.

    “Our sincere apologies to @OfficialGretzky for the shirt error,” they tweeted, making sure not to compound their boo-boo by spelling “shirt” wrong. “New one on its way! #COYS”. Being Canadian, Gretzky had of course been too polite to point out the error at the initial handover. “Not to worry @SpursOfficial it happens all the time!” came his reply.

    The Mathieu Flamini of his sport, goal machine Gretzky is a four-times Stanley Cup winner who was an ardent supporter of fair play throughout his career, so he may have been perturbed to see visiting Arsenal fans, or people who have no affiliation whatsoever to Arsenal but just so happened to be sitting in the upper tier of the area of White Hart Lane reserved for visiting Arsenal fans, killing time as they waited to be let out of the ground by staging their own impromptu Countdown conundrum by removing and rearranging the letters of the famous old sign that says “THIS IS MY CLUB, MY ONE AND ONLY CLUB’, to read “BY UNCONDITIONALLY CHUMMY BLESS”. Or that’s what some of the 10 fans arrested for assault or criminal damage may claim in court, perhaps adding that they’d heard Spurs were thinking of knocking down and renovating their stadium and were just being neighbourly by giving them a helping hand.

    Upon hearing that the Football Association had announced the matter was criminal and that neither club will face FA charges for any post-match shenanigans, the Fiver couldn’t help but notice that in its own rulebook, this august governing body – a body that has already announced this week that it is still charging one Arsenal player for complaining about a red card it has already admitted he shouldn’t have been shown – states that each club “shall be responsible for ensuring that its directors, players, officials, employees, servants, representatives, spectators, and all persons purporting to be its supporters or followers, conduct themselves in an orderly fashion and refrain from any one or combination of the following: improper, violent, threatening, abusive, indecent, insulting or provocative words or behaviour.”

    So on this particular occasion what looks like an incident of random vandalism is a police matter but at least we can be thankful the rules in the FA’s inconsistently applied handbook are at least spelt correctly.

  32. Canadian here. Not sure what’s happening with Gretzky lately. Just recently he endorsed our incumbent right wing prime Minister (we are in the middle of a general election). And now he’s accepting Spud shirts? Hope he continues to support more lost causes, wanker!
    His tweet should have ignored the spelling mistake and just thank them for the nice white Spur’s shit (sic).

  33. Perhaps he’s facing a breakdown? Mind you very few sportsmen have altruistic leanings; the money they have makes them immune to any social responsibility.

  34. C

    If Le Coq is not available I think Arteta is the only viable option at DM. The defense was more then sturdy enough against the Spurs. your theory that Arteta is so slow that he can’t handle a game is over the top. IMO. He is a safe option and he won’t give the ball away or make mistakes and he won’t get behind the ball or out of position which the critical part of being a DM. He is certainly not a long term option and we should have gotten another DM this summer but he can handle a few games as long as he does not come up lame.

  35. @Bill

    The types of teams that Arteta struggles with are high pressing, high tempo teams that rush him in possession; well that’s exactly what both Leicester and Bayern do. Sure he can be in position, but that doesn’t mean much if players are skipping past you or you pick up an early yellow and have to walk that fine line. I’m glad you have faith in him and I will certainly support any player playing in our shirt but that doesn’t mean I have to have faith in their ability to do a job.

  36. C @ 9.54
    I’ve been wondering about our midfield for Leicester too.
    Personally, I’d go with Arteta / Rambo, not that I think Wenger will.
    And I hope we’re well briefed on Mehrez. The guy’s a walking penalty risk and Kos has been known to make the odd rash tackle.

  37. Flamini is a far better player than many imagine him to be.

    His faults have been amplified where Coquelin’s ignored.

    I’m not saying(have never said) he is better than Coquelin but he has been unfairly characterised by more simplistic and frankly bias analysis.

    His use of the ball (particularly in forward play)has improved as has his passing numbers.

    Close to 12 minutes in, he made an important intercept in our box which had it been Coquelin, many would be whacking off incessantly to.

    We have very decent and experienced back up in Arteta and Flamini.

    Which is why I felt Wenger would not buy in central midfield unless an absolute gem of a player was available to price (from RM which would have to first entail a De Gea move)

    That Arteta was retained for one more season was indication that Arsene was not entirely sure how events would transpire at close to end of window.

    In similar vein to Flamini, there has been unduely and as per usual knee jerk reaction to the likes of Chambers and Debuchy and Campbell.

    Calum has been unfortunate with own goals but Cback is hardly his normal position and he is only coming t grasp with it at still a tender age of 21yrs. I thought he did well overall with a vital headed clearance first half showing reasonable improvement in positional sense (and abated by the presence of the underrated Metersecker)

    If we remember KOscielny suffered plenty of red cards and own goals first season in, we should be more generous to the development of Calum.

    Debuchy if we remember has hardly had a full season with us and is only just coming back into competitive games. He is showing ring rust. Monreal made plenty of mistakes too before recent good form. I think Debuchy is a quality player and will improve given more opportunities.

    Ditto Campbell who put himself about. Again many amplify his ‘poor first touch” when frankly, he was very capable holding the ball for us out wide.Again, this is a player hardly featured for us and crucially we should remember like Coquelin, he is on the cusp of 23yrs and possibly translating potential into real ability.

    All are fringe players at the moment but you never know if they may step up this season.

  38. Morning Folks, 🙂

    I rather liked the comment about Gretzky and the humor —

    — “Our sincere apologies to @OfficialGretzky for the shirt error,” they tweeted, making sure not to compound their boo-boo by spelling “shirt” wrong.

    Getting your shirts and your sh*ts wrong is easy to do, if you are a Spud. 🙂

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