Blogs & Opinion


Arsenal 1-1 Man City: Jamie Redknapp says Mathieu Flamini role is vital

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 29th March 2014 view comments

Jamie Redknapp says Mathieu Flamini has proved he needs to play in more big games for Arsenal until Arsene Wenger signs a younger model.

The Frenchman scored a surprise equaliser for the Gunners in their 1-1 draw with Premier League title favourites Manchester City and impressed in a midfield role alongside Mikel Arteta.

Redknapp said Arsenal benefited from having two hard-working players in the centre of the pitch and called on Wenger to use that duo more often in crucial matches, at least until he signs a younger player who can do a similar job.

Flamini: scored in Arsenal's draw with Man City

Flamini: scored in Arsenal's draw with Man City

"He's a player you wouldn't expect to come up trumps, but I felt he made the difference," he said when analysing Flamini's performance on Saturday Night Football.

"It begs the question why doesn't Arsene Wenger play him in these sorts of games. You look at what Jose Mourinho does in big games sometimes - and he goes with Luiz and Matic, belt and braces, and he will stop other teams playing.

"I look at Arsenal and think that in midfield areas where it gets tight and you've got to stop other teams and you can't just have pretty footballers.

"You've got to have players that are going to get the ball to Santi Cazorla. Do I think he's the long-term answer? They got him on a free transfer at the start of the season and almost stumbled across him.

"But they need someone like that, someone who is going to win tackles. To ask Arteta to do it is just too much. He hasn't got the legs to do it."

Crucial

Arsenal travel to Everton next week in a game that will be crucial for their hopes of finishing in the top four, before heading to Wembley to play Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final the following weekend.

And while Redknapp says Champions League qualification is important for Arsenal, he believes the FA Cup should be the priority.

"If you could have one or the other I think Arsene Wenger would probably take the top four," he added.

"But I think for that club now you've got to win a trophy. Nine years is too long. They need those big moments; any player, when you finish your career, talks about those big moments and what you won.

"You don't think about qualifying and finishing fourth and then going out in the quarter-finals [of the Champions League]. They need to win a trophy.

"Financially, of course it's better for them to get in the top four, but it's been miles too long. Arsenal fans want to see silverware back there. That club has been built on winning trophies.

"Whether it's the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or the league they've got to start doing it. This is the year.

"If he doesn't win a trophy this year he'll never win one. He'll never get a better opportunity."

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ed Chamberlin

Chamberlin: Back Balotelli

Ed Chamberlin says the ‘box office’ Mario Balotelli can mark his Liverpool debut with a goal....

Kevin Phillips

Phillips: Giants have no excuses

Premier League sides have no excuse for going out to lower-league teams in cup ties, says Kevin Phillips....

Niall Quinn

Quinn: Sanchez can be main man

Niall Quinn backed Alexis Sanchez to fill the goalscoring void left by the injured Olvier Giroud at Arsenal....

Latest News RSS feeds

Rooney named England captain

Wayne Rooney has been named England's new captain by manager Roy Hodgson.

Uncapped four in for England

Roy Hodgson has named four uncapped players in his latest England squad.

Live transfer updates

Bayern Munich confirm Xabi Alonso talks, Crystal Palace target Wilfried Zaha and Hull City close on Abel Hernandez.

Champions League draw on Sky

Find out how to follow the Champions League group stage draw across Sky Sports on Thursday.

Sky Sports Today

All the latest sports news and views in our live blog, as Wayne Rooney is confirmed as the new England captain.

Features

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Saturday’s opponents Chelsea might have expected Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to come back to haunt them, but Jose Mourinho surely thought he’d seen the back of Samuel Eto’o. Instead he’s back in the Premier League and eyeing another challenge in his remarkable career.

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.