Can Arsenal thrive without Flamini?

By Avenell Dave

If you were to put two names on the Arsenal teamsheet that have become integral to the team, Giroud and Flamini would probably be the first to be included. 

We don't have any other strikers of note and we saw during the week that the alternative, TGSTEL is either rusty or just not up to the same standard.

Maybe Sanogo will turn into a new Benteke or Lukaku but at the moment, his injury record is continuing in the same vein as it did before he joined us. We cannot rely on him yet. 

Equally, the way Flamini has slotted back into the side, cajoling and organising the team has made a real difference and his loss is huge.

Reassuring that it is that he may be back for Manchester United, he gives us the protection in midfield that we have not had since Gilberto departed. 

With the Brazilian and Manu Petit before him, we had mobile players who provided added protection for the defence and Arteta does not provide the same level of security. 

Everyone is talking about Liverpool's dynamic due, SAS, and how they will tear a new one to any defence in the country. 

I was an admirer of Sturridge when he was at Citeh and yet the fact that he did not make the grade there or at Chelsea raises questions about his attitude. 

Maybe he didn't quite get the chances he required but whatever the reason, we can see now how well he is playing.

While I made no secret of my reticence surrounding the prospective signing of Luis Suarez, he has returned as if he has never been away, scoring goals of brilliance and regularity.

There is plenty of reason to be concerned.

But while Liverpool have their threats, so do we and if we take the game to them, there is no reason why we cannot come away with a result. 

We need big players to have big games. We need Ozil and Cazorla to impose themselves as we know they can and we need Arteta to have a disciplined game that includes moving the ball more quickly than perhaps he usually tends to do.

I suspect how Arteta plays will determine how we do in the game. He has to show, as he did towards the end of last season, that he can provide the shield that Flamini has provided in recent months. 

Arsene Wenger has spoken regularly of the need to cut out the silly mistakes and I hope Steve Bould has been working on the defence throughout the whole team to ensure we are set up correctly from our own corners as well as ensuring we know when to clear it rather than try and play our way out of trouble.

Napoli and Dortmund have had equally superb starts to the season and we acquitted ourselves well against both sides. Silly mistakes apart, we could have beaten them both. 

Our form this calendar year has been excellent so why should it end now just because we are facing someone who has strikers in form? 

Liverpool may be superb going forward but if we cut off their supply line our wide and limit the capacity for the aging Gerrard and waddling Henderson to get forward, I really think we can win. 

The pundits have already written us off this season and while we have our weaknesses, pretty much everyone else does too. 

I really fancy us tomorrow. 




Sagna Mertesac

ker Koscielny Gibbs

Arteta Ramsey Wilshere

Ozil Cazorla