Arsenal legend Mathieu Flamini admitted that is “painful” to see his old team in such turmoil. Arsenal are stuck in sixth place with the fans at war with Arsene Wenger, the board and the players over the disputed issue of Wenger’s continued management of the club.
Wenger signed Flamini twice, in 2004 and 2013, and the French midfielder made 246 appearances over two spells in north London. He came on for Crystal Palace at the end of their 3-0 defeat of Arsenal on Monday night, but revealed afterwards how difficult it is for him to see his old team struggle.
“It is painful because I am still an Arsenal fan,” Flamini said. “I spent many years over there so my heart is white and red. But it is not an easy situation.”
But Flamini is still confident Arsenal can get back into the top four. “They have so much quality in the team and I really believe they can do it. It is just a matter of how they want it. I really hope they will make it because they deserve to be in the Champions League. It is such an amazing club, the fans and everything around, they have to be in the Champions League.”
Flamini would not voice an opinion on whether Wenger should stay but he did underline his own debt to the veteran manager, and his confidence the team could turn their fortunes around.
“I had some amazing times with Arsene Wenger,” Flamini said. “He did so much for me. I played for many years under him. I owe him a lot. But I understand also the frustration of the fans because they are such a big club and the want their team winning. It is not an easy situation.”
“It is difficult for me to comment from the outside what is happening with Arsenal,” said Flamini, who spoke to Wenger and many of the Arsenal team afterwards. “Results are not what they want, that is for sure. But they have a lot of quality. I saw Arsene, of course everyone is disappointed. When you are a big club you want to win every game, so that is normal.”