• Champions League

Flamini: Arsenal fighting on all fronts

ESPN staff
February 18, 2014
Boateng: Arsenal deserve respect

Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini believes his side are on the front foot once again ahead of their Champions League last-16 clash with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

A 5-1 drubbing against Liverpool at Anfield and a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United coincided with Flamini being suspended from the Gunners line-up earlier this month, but Arsene Wenger's side returned to winning ways in fine style with a morale boosting 2-1 FA Cup win against Liverpool on Sunday.

Now Flamini has suggested that win against Brendan Rodgers' in-form side was the ideal tonic ahead of a match with the reigning European champions, as he insisted the Gunners defeat against Bayern in last season's Champions League will not be a factor in the re-match.

"Of course it gives us momentum because it is an important week," Flamini told the Arsenal website. "It was important to qualify in the FA Cup as we wanted to be on a good run against Bayern on Wednesday.

"We know it won't be an easy game because Bayern are a strong, strong team but we are Arsenal, we have big ambitions and if we want to qualify we want to produce a big result against them. We'll do everything, we'll try to play our best football and get a good result.

"I don't want to talk about last year [when Bayern beat Arsenal on away goals], but what I can say is Arsenal has a big ambition, we're fighting for the championship title, we're still fighting for the FA Cup and we'll do everything we can to qualify in the Champions League.

"We have had difficult games and when we had to fight and compete in these games, we did it. We have had a lot of victories away and that is very positive for us. I think the commitment this year is very important, it is very good. We have shown character and solidarity.

"We have a collective of players and we need everyone because we want to win a title, but it is tough. We will do everything, we will try to play our best football to try to win this game or to get a good result. You have to fight for every game and we are trying to do it."

Meanwhile, Flamini feels he owes former club AC Milan for helping him to improve as a player.

Wenger raised eyebrows when he brought the 29-year-old back to Arsenal on a free transfer in the summer, with the player turning down a new contract offer during his first spell in North London.

However, Flamini has proved his doubters wrong, turning in some impressive displays for Arsenal this season.

Flamini, though, feels indebted to Milan, where he spent five years after first leaving Arsenal in 2008, for the way his game has come on in recent campaigns.

"Having spent five years at Milan I have learned so much," Flamini told UEFA.com. "Most of all I learned a lot tactically, because it's true that you learn a lot about this aspect of the game in Italy. I matured a lot personally as well.

"I'm 29 years old now and during five years at Milan I met a lot of players and many new people. I have learned so much. I feel a lot more mature and now I am much more experienced than when I was only 24."

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