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Unlikely Hero Flamini Missed By Arsenal

For all of Mesut Ozil’s elegance and class, Aaron Ramsey’s early season exuberance and Jack Wilshere’s natural talent, it seems that a far less glitzy player has been at the heart of Arsenal’s recent success.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini returned to the Gunners as a free agent from AC Milan at the beginning of the season, and the impression was he faced a major battle for game time.

When Arsenal smashed their transfer record on Ozil, it was perceived as a luxury buy, not one the club desperately needed.

Instead, low-budget Flamini has surprisingly added the hard graft, fearlessness and steely will to win that has been severely lacking from the Gunners midfield in recent seasons.

Ironically, Arsenal paid the price for Flamini’s all-action heroics last night.

He was missing from the team that lost to Borussia Dortmund because of a head injury.

And pundit Jamie Redknapp says Flamini’s absence was a crushing blow for the London side.

"Wenger said post match that they forgot that if they cannot win it then they don't lose it," former Liverpool and England star Redknapp told Sky Sports.

"They really missed Flamini in that regard - he is the player that when they lose the ball he would have been organising people, pushing people around him, I don't think they have that mentality in the team anymore.

"[Mikel] Arteta is a lovely footballer but I don't think he looks at the dirty side of the game. Flamini galvanised the team, he is a natural leader."

Meanwhile, Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp- who watched the game from the Emirates stands- was in jubilant mood after his team outclassed the Premier League leaders.

"It was a great performance," Klopp told Sky. "We won away at Arsenal who are in a sensational form.

"It was an open game we won thanks to a fantastic attack which made it 2-1. Arsenal are too strong to keep them away from our goal the whole time. They didn't have that many chances.

"From up in the stands you have a better view! A totally new perspective."

Read: Dortmund Win At The Emirates

Read: Wenger Laments Arsenal’s Naivety

Flamini Rejects Milan Extension

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