Statistical Review of Flamini’s Performances: The Best Things in Life are FREE

He has been an inspiration since his return

There was a time when Arsene Wenger had a squad that was heralded as one of the greatest football teams to ever grace the Premier League. The team had the English grit and determination of Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, the French flamboyance and panache of Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, the Dutch intelligence of the god himself, Dennis Bergkamp and a collection of superstars that made Arsenal a major force to be reckoned with. In the middle of the park proudly stood Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, two iron-clad rulers in the heart of midfield.

That era was on the decline and Arsene Wenger brought Mathieu Flamini and Lassana Diarra to the limelight, but the latter wanted more playing time and jumped ship when Portsmouth came calling. The former forged a telepathic understanding with Cesc Fabregas and after enjoying his best top-flight football campaign, he went for the riches of Italy, earning him a pantomime villain status.

His heir, Alexandre Song, arrived at the club as an unearthed gem with a lot of rough edges had enough game time and his improvement showcased Wenger’s alchemy, as the Cameroonian gem was changed from lead to gold. Following the departure of club talisman, Robin van Persie, Alex Song shockingly followed suit to Barcelona, and the fans were clearly disappointed but hoped for an ideal replacement. Instead of going to the transfer market to sign a recognized holding midfielder, the manager opted for his vice-captain to take one for the team, which he did.

Mikel Arteta isn’t your average defensive midfielder, but what he lacked in guile, strength and being a natural enforcer, he made up for it with his passing play, dictating tempo, vast experience and maturity. With Arteta as Arsenal’s holding midfielder in the entirety of the 2012/13 campaign, the Gunners saw an inspirational leader that was willing to give his all to the team and he popped up a couple of times with those converted penalties.

But there was a downside to Arteta’s meteoric rise as Arsenal’s holding midfielder – he was aging and he had a lot of game time in such an energy-zapping playing position which led to a couple of cramps and fatigue, and ultimately, he suffered some injuries as the season progressed. At the start of the new season, Arteta suffered a thigh strain and was diagnosed to be out for an eternity, so Arsene Wenger was left with no choice but to go into the market to find a replacement.

The media and fans alike wasted no time in providing Wenger with options, like he never knew who these players were. They started by linking the club heavily with Luiz Gustavo, a want-away defensive midfielder that went down the pecking order following the arrival of Javi Martinez. Luiz Gustavo checked all the boxes for the kind of player Arsenal needed but Wenger folded his arms as he joined VFL Wolfsburg.

The media linked Arsenal with young starlet from Real Sociedad, Asier Illarramendi. The youngster had a great tournament in Spain Under-21’s European Championship triumph and he was instrumental in Real Sociedad’s surge for a fourth placed finish. But for a player so young and inexperienced, he commanded a mammoth price tag and Arsenal backed out before he sealed a big-money move to Real Madrid.

The media didn’t stop as it was reported that the Gunners had a bid rejected for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and many fans were optimistic when they heard that Arsenal was set to activate Marouane Fellaini’s release clause at Everton. Then of course, there was also the rejected bid for Yohan Cabaye.

Amidst all the transfer speculation surrounding Arsenal, there was a certain Mathieu Flamini that was training with the lads to keep fit after his five-year stint with Milan came to an end. In his time in Italy, Flamini made 153 appearances, scoring five goals but he won the Scudetto and Italian Super Cup in 2011, which adds to his FA Cup he won with Arsenal in 2005.

Arsene Wenger had re-signed Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann as well as securing a loan switch for Thierry Henry, so a few eyebrows were raised as it seemed as if Arsenal was going to sign the prodigal son for free, and guess what – they did! Some fans voiced their frustrations as Arsene Wenger had secured another “free” signing instead of spending some money but little did they know that this French enforcer had some unfinished business at Arsenal.

Feel free to take a peek of Flamini’s definition of unfinished business.

Flamini’s arrival mitigated a short-term challenge at the club, as Arsenal was desperately in need of cover in central midfield following the injury suffered by Mikel Arteta. In his second debut as a first half substitute for Jack Wilshere in the North London Derby, Flamini made his presence felt and he has been very vocal, directing his teammates and he has been willing to put his body on the line for his team.

He has offered some steel in midfield and his presence and influence have been hugely felt in the games he has played so far.

According to WhoScored, listed below are Mathieu Flamini’s stats this season,

 

Premier League

Champions League

Appearances (subs)

3 (1)

2

Tackles made (per game)

9 (2.3)

6 (3)

Interceptions made (per game)

7 (1.8)

5 (2.5)

Fouls committed (per game)

5 (1.3)

3 (1.5)

Clearances (per game)

10 (2.5)

3 (1.5)

Blocked shots (per game)

3 (0.8)

Total Passes (accurate passes)

220 (202)

135 (128)

Pass Completion percentage

91.8%

94.8%

Bookings (Yellow/Red)

(3/0)

Now it’s time to compare Mathieu Flamini’s stats (league only) with the rest of the holding midfielders Arsenal were linked with this summer.

 

Flamini

Fellaini

Cabaye

Illarramendi

Gustavo

Bender

Appearances (subs)

3 (1)

1 (2)

2 (2)

3 (1)

4

6

Tackles made (per game)

9 (2.3)

2 (0.7)

9 (2.3)

10 (2.5)

11 (2.8)

16 (2.7)

Interceptions made (per game)

7 (1.8)

1 (0.3)

7 (1.8)

1 (0.3)

6 (1.5)

10 (1.7)

Fouls committed (per game)

5 (1.3)

3 (1)

5 (1.3)

6 (1.5)

10 (2.5)

9 (1.5)

Clearances (per game)

10 (2.5)

3 (1)

3 (0.8)

1 (0.3)

4 (1)

7 (1.2)

Blocked shots (per game)

3 (0.8)

1 (0.2)

Total Passes (accurate passes)

220 (202)

131 (119)

126 (100)

158 (137)

163 (144)

212 (172)

Pass Completion percentage

91.8%

90.8%

79.4%

86.7%

88.3%

81.1%

Bookings (Yellow/Red)

(3/0)

(2/0)

(0/2)

It’s worth noting that all the players compared with Flamini here would have cost Arsenal wads of cash. Many of Flamini’s peers have made more tackles than him but he’s on par with Cabaye and the £27.5m Fellaini is nowhere near him in the tackling department. No player in this list has made more clearances and blocked more shots than Flamini. His passing stats are hugely impressive as well, as he has a completion percentage of 91.8%, more than everyone on this list.

There may be some issues with his discipline but he’s nowhere near Luiz Gustavo, that has already notched up two straight red cards for Wolfsburg in this early stage of his career with his new team.

As these stats prove, Flamini has been an excellent performer for Arsenal, despite arriving at the club for nothing. It’s fair to say that some of the best things in life are free.

Sayonara.

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About enigma106

An Arsenal fan with a good sense of humor

Posted on October 3, 2013, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Really enoyable blog here En; more so, for the perspective it offers us – non-stat freaks, as it shows Matt is as good, if not better overall, than the biggest (expensive) names out there. I like the the flaming French much – for the fire in his belly whenever he’s on the pitch and his looks like the cigar-smoking guy from the movies. I digress.
    Getting him on a free and the impact he’s made is pure genius from AW – the double pivot with Arteta against Napoli was water-tight, I won’t even dabble into his versatility.
    Allez Mathieu!

    Like

  2. Wonderfully written piece on Flanimal.

    Along with Ozil, Flamini also should get some credits for the recent positive results of Arsenal.

    Like

  3. He has been super impressive so far. I hope he keeps it up. What this article further shows is that we need to get Bender too, his stats are pretty impressive.

    Like

  4. Khomo-ea-Mollo

    I love this analysis. I was one of those not too impressed with Wenger going for Flamini having been linked with the likes of Fellaini. Flamini is a real deal and I love his committment.

    Like

  5. beautiful article really enjoyed it

    Like

  1. Pingback: Statistical Review of Mathieu Flamini’s Performances This Season | TokNok Multi Social Blogging Solutions

  2. Pingback: Ramsey Wins EPL Player of the Month: Statistical Review of his Performances in September | Gooner Daily

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