Thursday, 2 October 2008

Are we over Flamini?

When Mathieu Flamini left Arsenal we all knew it would be hard to replace him. He was only a first team regular in his last season in an Arsenal shirt but what a first team regular he was.

He was one of Arsenal's best players last season and was a big factor in Fabregas playing so well. The two complimented each other and I firmly believed that they could have emulated the partnership of Vieira and Petit or been even better.

Since leaving Arsenal he has endured a slow start to his Milan career being on the bench more often than playing. You could say that he may regret leaving the Arsenal and is following the route of many who believe the grass is greener on the other side.

One thing is for sure, I think Arsenal miss him. Despite the controversial manner of his departure I still wish deep down that he was still an Arsenal player.

I mean no disrespect to the players we have but it's obvious that we are lacking in the midfield area. It's obvious that Arsene Wenger thought so too, after all, we have now found out that he put bids in for Alonso, Toure and Inler.

Le Boss seems to have put his faith in Denilson after the failed attempts to boost the midfield area. I like Denilson but despite his undoubted quality he is inconsistent with his performances. That is expected with his young age and lack of experience.

Diaby is the player a lot of Gooners would like to see given a chance in the middle with Cesc but we have more chance of seeing Spurs win the league! I rate him highly but Diaby is constantly on the treatment table. He has been likened to Vieira but Vieira he is not. He only looks like Paddy, he doesn't play like him.

Song is a player I'd like to see given a chance. He seems our toughest tackler and can do the dirty work allowing Cesc to weave his magic. Le Boss seems undecided on where Song should play though. Is he a defender or a midfielder? say he is a defender so that gives an indication on where Arsene thinks he should play.

The midfield seems to be doing an Okay job at present but I think its really just papering over the cracks. We have not really faced a side of note and we have lost two games. I worry a little about when we face the midfield of Chelsea and Manchester United. With Flamini in the side I'd have no worries.

I'm not doubting that we have quality in the midfield but I still feel we are lightweight since the departure of Flamini. Le Boss thinks so too............

I think we can cope short-term without Flamini but we need another player added there in January. Denilson, Diaby and Song are potentially very good players and need time. At their age they have plenty of that! But I still feel that they need someone else to help guide them through this stage of their career other than the veteran Cesc Fabregas.

Keep it Goonerish...............


cb said...

another gr8 article wrighty!

Anonymous said...

Agree with first comment

Marko said...

Wrighty I know what you mean? He was a great player for us last season and given his age he could of been part of one of the great midfield partnerships in modern football with Fabregas. But he decided to leave and while I think he might still end up regretting it we have to look to our own now. I honestly believe that Song, Diaby and Denilson have what it takes to become really important players for our club given time. Given even more time I also believe the young guy Coquilin can turn into a super little player. But if you're looking for a quick fix there are players out there that we are interested in and that we could move for in January or next summer, I believe De La Red and Inler are just 2 players that I'm sure Wenger is keeping an eye on and might moved for in the future. Would we be better if Flamini stayed? Maybe. Is he irreplaceable or will we miss come the end of the season? No I don't think so.

Wrighty7 said...

Fair point Marko.

Especially the part we have to look to our own now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the article. If we could create a player composed of the strengths of Denilson (finesse and flare), Diaby (size and speed), and Song (strength and tackling ability), we would be unstoppable. Unfortunately, we can't. Out of all the options, I think Song is the best. We have enough offensive players and speed on the flanks that adding a slower defensive player in the middle of the pitch would help, not hinder our efforts. Also, replacing Denilson with Song would help us on set pieces as Song is much bigger and better in the air.

I believe we do miss Flamini, but I think he will miss us much more, especially if we give Song a run of games.

Top Gun said...

Totally agree Wrighty.

Flamini will miss us more than we miss him in the long run but we did need to replace him.

We didn't and like you I worry against sides like Chelsea. They could destroy us in the midfield.

Stu said...

I was absolutely gutted when he left, mainly because he was one of my favourite players. He let his contract run down and its the clubs fault for not meeting his terms.

If he had stayed i would have liked to see him as captain. He was an everpresent in the team and rarely played bad. He was also popular in the team and was always heard. But thats impossible now so i am over it.

His career is likely to head downhill now, like all the others who left for "a new challenge"

Dman said...

i thought toure would of been the perfect signing, the technique and composer of denilson, the athleticy of diaby and the strength and determination of song. The next vieira if given the chance, no argument to that. I watched udinese the other week, Inler did not impress me as much as much as his supporters have suggested that he will.

Anonymous said...

I think Song has to be a midfielder for us now. He played at CB in the CC but that was only because we didn't have other options. At the back we have Djourou who rarely gets a game (although I think he deserves to play) and because we're so short at CM we have to have Song in there.

Anonymous said...

Flamini had a good seson last year, but Denilson brings a new dimension - already got a few goals and a few assists. Flamini rarely troubled the goal.

Denilson could potentially fill the gap left by Flamini and a bit more. More attacking options.

Defensively we have been ok this year, except at set pieces - we need a tall cb - thats all to complete the jigsaw

Anonymous said...

In the matches where Denilson scored he was able to do that because he was playing the Fabregas role and Fabregas was playing more of the Flamini role and lying deeper and spending his time on defensive duties. Fabregas has as much replaced Flamini as Denilson has, the question is do we want that.

It is blindly ignoring reality and the way the team is actually functioning on the field to say that Denilson is replacing Flamini.

The way the center of midfield is functioning has changed completely and new tactics to try and cope with the fact we have no direct replacement for Flamini are now employed that mean that Cesc is no longer playing the Cesc role, so it's not as simple as saying one player is the Flamini replacement.

To be fair you were never going to get an exact replacement and the partnership was always going to function differently but the extent to which Fabregas now plays defence... I'm not sure it's in our best interests.

Anonymous said...

Flamini in my opinion was the best player last season but he chose to leave and that waz his mistake not ours,arsenal has moved on period.

Tony said...

Flamini was a greedy bastard. Why should the club meet huge demands on the back of one good season? I hope he rots in the milan reserves. Song has to replace him, not denilson

Milanista said...

Great Blog!! Just seen your article on Flamini and as a Milan fan I got to say I want to see more of him on the field. When he has played he has put all his heart and soul into it as he had big shoes to fill with Gattuso out injured. Nevertheless he rose to the occassion and I can honestly say that I am happy Milan bought him. It's a great loss to Arsenal but a gain for Milan...

Anonymous said...

We've got the solution in house - Song will be better than flamini if he gets to play. And Diaby, remember, was Wenger's ideal replacement for Gilberto - not Flamini. When he gets healthy we are going to be stacked. I rate Denilson highly, but I'd rather see Diaby or, for now at least, Song.

Anonymous said...

Over Flamini? We're not over Henry, Bergsie, Pires, Vieira, Adams, Campbell, we've got a long way to go yet.

gazzap said...

I think this is the best article I have read this season. spot on. we miss Flam (not saying I want him back because he was a greedy toad) but in terms of on the pitch, we need to replace him. wenger knew it and song might be that man. Den hasn't shown he can be that man YET but he might be able to learn. I think you can coach it because all he needs to do is learn to position himself better to protect the defence. But it would kerb his natural attacking instincts so thats why I would prefer to see Song in there, who is a more natural defensive player.
I think Diaby would have the same issues as den. I like both Den and Diaby but next to Cesc I dont think either of them are discliplined enough to be the rock that Cesc needs to work off.

Den is playing well but I dont think he is the right kind of player. Wenger could easily buy in that position in January IMO. Yaya would be a good purchase.

Anonymous said...

I too feel that Song is the best choice to replace Flamini. We need more steel in the midfield and he will give it to us. Song should be the cover for a fabulous attacking midfield of Theo, Cesc and Nasri.

Seb said...

Good article, Flamini was a terrier for us last season, snapping into tackles and motoring all over the pitch time after time. He made a big change from the ever-pedestrian Gilberto, changing our style in the process, and gave Cesc a lot of freedom. But he's gone and I'm none too impressed with the way it happened, although I can understand Milan may have been a big draw for him.

I did notice against Porto though, that we seem to have adopted a more collective responsibility for defending as a midfield unit. At times I noticed Nasri Cesc and Denilson all closing down and defending positionally. We are not launching into hard-man tackles, but we have players who can control the game and all play our passing game well. I think we are just going to have to adapt to this over the season and get used to Cesc sharing the responsibility for defence. Even if Diaby returns and starts with Cesc, they are both attack minded and will both have to do a job in front of our back line.

Spike said...

We've been crying out for a quality DM since Vieira left. Flamini did a decent job for one season, fair play to the fella for getting as much money as he could from that 1 year!

Denilson, as much as I want it to happen, just aint the defensive midfielder we need.

Song has to be the DM, not saying he's brilliant, but given Wenger's pathetic refusal to spend the necessary fee to sign quality, he's the best we have, especially seeing as how Diaby has booked his room at the footballers retirement home in Hastings!

Out of the yutes, Randall looked like a Flamini clone the other week and he can play a bit too!

I'd also drop Kolo in favour of Djourou NOW, not in 6 months when we're out of everything. Gallas has got loads of stick, some of it valid, but for me, Kolo aint been the same since he came back from the ANC. Its time to drop one of em, anyways and give Djourou the kind of run Phil got.

Spike said...


WE wouldn't feel the loss of Flamini at all if ALL the players showed the hunger, desire and energy of the kids the other night. It shouldnt just be down to one player to harry and get stuck in as Flamini did.

The way the players all tip toed about against Hull, showing no effin desire or respect for the opposition made me sick. If they all get stuck in as they effin should, then we wouldnt be having shite results like the Hull game.

I seriously do not understand how the Arsenal players could be soooo effin arrogant when they have won fuck all for 3 years??? How the fuck were they allowed to go onto the pitch thinking all they had to do to win, was effin show up???

They was a disgrace and I really hope it don't show itself again, ever.

Anonymous said...

Flam is gone and it's a massive blow to Arsenal in terms of leadership and fulfilling a vital role as dm. A greedy toad? A greedy toad doesn't go four years as underappreciated and hugely underpaid during that entire period and then settle for a second rate contract. Only an idiotic toad who is grossly misinformed would do something that stupid. Flam is paid almost twice as much as he would have been at Arsenal. Arsenal have themselves to blame for losing Flamini.

Now there are replacements out there for flam and they are taller as well and we need height desperately as we are a short team. Likely candidates....none currently at arsenal have Flamini's qualities nor will they as Flam's intangibles will prove too difficult to emulate with the players we have.

Anonymous said...

Spike, agreed, I think Flam brought something to the team that wouldn't have allowed the game v Hull to unfold like it did. He showed the determination that the current side lack from time to time.

Boris Hamster said...

Song is the answer. Denilson isn't.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me most people think Denilson is too similar to Cesc for Arsenal to be at their best, and I have to say I agree. At this point he should be Cesc's understudy, ready to fill in when he needs an occasional rest or is suspended (he does pick up a lot of yellow cards, doesn't he?) and a role off of the bench when we need some creativity. His style forces Cesc to play too defensively which is why I think he hasn't been at his best so far this season. Look at Euro 2008, Cesc played almost behind the striker and at times was brilliant.

Song, although not the perfect replacement, is the best candidate to partner Cesc. He plays defensively by nature which will allow our attacking players to get forward more freely. He's not the fastest player, but I do think he's considerably faster than Denilson, especially over shorter distances. He's strong in the air (Wenger says he's the best leaper on the team) which is something I think we need desperately at the moment. I also think he's a better long distance shooter than Denilson, again something we could use more of.

I like Diaby but he can't be counted on until he can prove he's able to stay fit for more than a month at a time. Actually a month would be a good stretch for him.

Anonymous said...

I think Flamini was massively over rated, an average player put in a very good footballing side.

But what he offered will obviously be missed, players like him work their nuts off to cover their basic flaws - but they can be valuable to the side as he proved.

If I was Wenger though, I would push the boat out and sign Miguel Veloso - so much to his game.

Talk of Yaya Toure being the next Vieira is stupid, Vieira actually had a brain.

Veloso is the one


Anonymous said...

Veloso is the answer for next year.

This year the answer is Diaby