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After the 5-1 Premier League defeat at Liverpool and a drab 0-0 draw with Manchester United at Emirates Stadium, you could almost hear news editors around the world preparing to tap the words ‘ARSENAL IN CRISIS’ into their laptops.

A 2-1 win against Liverpool in the FA Cup later, a hard fought win earned despite being second best for most of the tie and with a few dubious refereeing decisions thrown in for good measure, and suddenly everyone is looking forward to the Gunners welcoming Bayern Munich to North London on Wednesday.

As good as Liverpool have been this season, Bayern are still far above everyone else in Europe, and while you couldn’t say the UEFA Champions League is theirs to lose, it will take some performance to stop them.

Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who returned in the FA Cup tie against Liverpool following a ban, believes the club has the quality to progress against Bayern over the two legs, telling the London Evening Standard today, “We know it won't be an easy game because Bayern are a very strong team, but we are Arsenal, we have big ambitions.”

“If we want to qualify, we have to get a good result against Bayern [in the first leg at home].  What I will say about this season is that I see a great commitment, I see everyone working very hard on the pitch and helping each other.”

Arsenal and Bayern met in the knockout phase in this competition last season, where the Germans took Arsenal apart at the Emirates before the Gunners won in the Allianz Arena. Manchester City are the only team to win in Munich since then, and you would think Arsenal would need a win and a preferably a ‘0’ in the away goals column to give themselves a shot at getting through in a few weeks. Although Arsenal played well in the second leg last season, there was a feeling Munich were doing what they needed to do, and were able to accept the loss.

Arsenal fans will be hoping for this scenario to play out; even if they do go on to exit the competition in Germany they’ll at least see travelling to Munich with a realistic shot of going through as progress.


The free transfer Mathieu Flamini, who has been influential for Arsenal as a defensive midfielder this season has attracted attention for cutting off sleeves from his jersey during the Marseille clash. The manager and the kit staff are fuming at his action that deems as breaking the club’s tradition of wearing full sleeves.

The tradition instigates that all players are to wear the same length sleeve as the match-day captain but Flamini chose not to follow orders and cut his sleeves to half length. This isn’t the first time Flamini chose to break tradition as he also did so in the match against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this month. 

This has caused a stir between Flamini and the club’s kit staff. His action has caused Wenger to intervene in the matter who has assured everyone that Flamini will not be doing so again. 

According to Daily Mail, Wenger said, "I don't like that, it won't happen again." However, Flamini’s response to his decision over sleeves was, "I've been playing at the top level for 10 years and I like to wear short sleeves, it is what I like."

Gunners have honored the tradition and throughout history players have abided by the rule. Time and time again players have been witnessed with sleeves rolled up but cutting them off has been seen as disrespecting the tradition.

His action has caused former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon to comment on it. who expressed his opinion on twitter. He said, "I used to like to wear short sleeves too but I wore the same as the captain. Club tradition must remain at all costs. Rodders (Tony Adams) used to ask the players to vote. If it was long then I rolled up after kick off."

Flamini’s sleeves were barely noticed by the people outside the club’s authorities but both the times he has stood out as the odd one out in the team photos. Although creating an issue over sleeves seems rather dramatic Flamini wouldn’t be doing himself any favor by continuing to defy the long maintained tradition.   


Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil may have earned the recognition for firing Arsenal to the pinnacle of the Premier League and virtually through to the knockout stages of Europe. However, there is more to this cogent Arsenal side than meets the eye.

The Arsenal side of 2013-2014 possesses adequate options in every position on the pitch. One such player is Mathieu Flamini. The Frenchman has fit in seamlessly, as if he never left. His ability to screen the back four, attitude on the pitch and willingness to communicate with team mates has made him a significant cog in the Arsenal side. His partnership with Fabregas in 2007-08, the last time Arsenal convincingly challenged for the title springs to mind.

His presence has added steel to the side which the Gunners have missed since Vieira’s departure to Juventus in 2005. The 28 year old’s contribution has not gone unnoticed by team mates. “It is not just Özil, Cazorla says. Flamini does a hidden job.” Quite simply, Flamini adds the force to the finesse of other midfielders.

Another integral prong of the side is the central defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. The former’s discipline and application has been decisive in improved defensive performances this season. The lanky german has now gone 455 minutes without conceding a goal for Arsenal.

Moreover, Koscielny was plucked from relative obscurity at FC Lorient while many questioned Mertesacker’s purchase instead of the much fancied Gary Cahill, perhaps overlooking his opulence of experience at international level. While both took time to acclimatize to the demands of the English game, they are now the preferred defensive axis in the eyes of the manager. Their selection has been justified ahead of club captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Furthermore, Bacary Sagna’s consistency at has been commendable. After an unfortunate 2011-12 season where he suffered leg breaks on two separate occasions, Sagna has improved considerably to form part of an impressive defense.  His performances have been well worthy of a new contract according to the fans as well.

Last but not least, the other full back, Keiran Gibbs, is also having his best season at the club. The latest English full back from the Arsenal conveyor belt, Gibbs has featured regularly this term. The reasons for an immediate enhancement have been twofold. Firstly, competition with Nacho Monreal for a starting berth has undoubtedly aided Gibbs’ development. Secondly, the chance to represent England at next year’s World Cup and the pressure of usurping Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines in the national team have led to better execution at club level.

As the season progresses, Arsenal’s forward may lay claim to all the plaudits, but the back five will be fundamental if Arsenal are to finally end the trophy drought.
Arsenal finally found one player that agreed to join the team. Irony or not, this player already played for Arsenal between 2004 and 2008. Yes, Mathieu Flamini is back to the Emirates Stadium after leaving Milan as a free agent.

Flamini was training during the last weeks with his former-new team but step by step, the idea of joining the team rose between him and the coach Arsene Wenger. The French coach waited until the end of the transfer window (it will close September 1st) because Flamini was not his first choice and after realizing that Arsenal could not catch the players they waited, the team decided to go for Flam.

Arsenal are currently in talks with Mathieu Flamini, as they look to re-sign the midfielder 4 years after he left the club in 2008 on a free transfer to AC Milan.

The Gunners hope to conclude a deal swiftly as Wenger looks to add the defensive midfielder to the squad; which is severely lacking in numbers after injuries to key personnel.

The former AC Milan midfielder has been training with the Gunners to stay fit,ever since being released by the rossoneri after his contract with the club expired.

Ever since Arteta's injury which ruled him for up to six weeks,Wenger has been looking for a midfield signing to bolster his squad.

Arsenal have tried to sign Newcastle's French midfielder Cabaye along with Brazil's Gustavo, but have been left frustrated in their attempts to do so.

With Diaby out for the long term along with Coquelin having been send on loan, a player to cover for Arteta's absence has been mooted for in recent weeks.

The Gunners have long required a defensive midfielder and despite Flamini not the same old player, he will add experience and comes with a winning mentality which the teams lacks in. The former Milan player is also a versatile player who can play at the right back position,and would be a decent signing for the Gunners.

The French midfielder looks set to become Arsenal's second signing of the summer as the Gunners look to step up their transfer activity.