Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has urged his teammates to prove the Gunners “are still one of the big teams in the Premier League” when they take on Manchester City on Saturday.
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“That’s going to be a big one [against City],” Flamini told Arsenal’s official website. “We want to do well, especially after the big loss against Chelsea. We want to prove that we’re one of the big teams in the Premier League.”
The North London club looked set to secure a morale-boosting win against Swansea on Tuesday -- after the 6-0 defeat at Chelsea -- only for Flamini’s unfortunate late own goal to gift their opponents a share of the points.
And following the 2-2 draw, the 30-year-old suggested the game against City at the Emirates Stadium this weekend has become pivotal if Arsenal are now to secure a place in the Premier League’s top four.
Flamini went on to give his version of events as a catalogue of defensive errors ended up with him diverting the ball past his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to deny the Gunners two crucial points against the Swans.
“I was coming back and I think the keeper kicked the ball onto my leg and it was an own goal,” he said. “Of course it’s very disappointing because it was a difficult game. We conceded an early goal, we didn’t play a great first half but we were trying, trying, trying.
“We played a great second half because we came back winning 2-1 until the end and then we were unlucky on the second goal. We wanted to come back for the fans, especially because they have been behind us since the beginning of the season and especially after the 6-0 defeat against Chelsea. We wanted to react to give them a positive game but unfortunately we conceded at the end.”
Arsenal will be looking to improve on their poor record against the Premier League’s top three this season, with their five games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City so far producing just one victory in five matches, while they have conceded 17 goals.