Mathieu Flamini Can Still Provide Competition for Francis Coquelin


Mathieu Flamini has had to take a back seat to the back seat roles on the Arsenal bench. With guys like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey returning to full fitness and Francis Coquelin dominating the midfield, he’s going to find his play time becoming more and more limited. But if you ask Mathieu Flamini how he feels about that, he’d tell you it’s perfectly okay.

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“I’m happy to be part of this club… That, for me, is the most important. I don’t think the personal situation of every player is important. I think the collective is more important,” he said (via Squawka).

Mathieu Flamini admitted that injuries are the primary thing that set his season back, but he accepts that Francis Coquelin has been completely dominant on the year. However, that doesn’t mean that the once-vital Mathieu Flamini is just going to let Coquelin run away with the job.

“Competition makes you better,” he added in the interview. Just like every other position at Arsenal, a little heel-nipping from players trying to get into the starting XI is absolutely necessary to keep them on top of their game.

Mathieu Flamini doesn’t have the same defensive inclinations that Coquelin does, but he isn’t a major downgrade either. Flamini averages 2.98 interceptions per 90 compared to Coquelin’s insane 4.25. He wins 2.01 tackles compared to Coquelin’s 3.17. They aren’t bad numbers, they only look bad when put up next to Coquelin’s. In fact, they’re actually pretty good numbers, as they’re over twice what Mikel Arteta provides.

But while his defense isn’t as proficient, he does offer an option on the attack. He passes very effectively at 91% and he registered a goal and an assist on the year. Again, not flashy, but it’s something. Mathieu Flamini has a little Aaron Ramsey in him where he manages to pop up in goal-scoring opportunities.

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Mathieu Flamini also seems to share the tenacity that Coquelin and Jack Wilshere have. The three will not back down from anyone, not even Marouane Fellaini. However, Flamini can be a bit abrasive at times and earn himself some silly yellow cards. Coquelin had that trouble as well, but he shook the habit pretty quickly, whereas Mathieu Flamini still shows a tendency to wrack up the yellow.

Mathieu Flamini can still offer a lot to this team. The passion is there, he lives for the team and he wants nothing more than to impress enough to earn some playing time. Sounds like the perfect candidate to keep Coquelin on his toes as well as the perfect candidate to put out there for some playing time and watch as he fights for his position.

Next: All you need to know about Petr Cech

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