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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 21, 2007

Flamini finally settled in Gunners role

After almost quitting Arsenal during the summer, midfielder Mathieu Flamini intends to make the most of his chance this season.

The 23-year-old had become frustrated by a lack of first-team football last season and was ready to further his career away from Emirates Stadium.

Despite being linked with a move to several other Barclays Premier League clubs as well as the likes of Inter Milan, the Frenchman decided to stay at the Gunners following a heart-to-heart with manager Arsene Wenger.

Flamini can play in a variety of positions, including on both flanks.

However, it is at the centre of the action in midfield where he feels most comfortable.

Having already made seven starts, Flamini is hoping to get another chance to impress against struggling Derby tomorrow.

He said: 'It is true I was close to leaving because I did not play enough, so I spoke to the coach and we had a good discussion.

'Now I am here and am very happy to be here.

'The manager told me he had confidence in me and I said, `All right I am going to stay and I will prove that I can play'.'

Flamini added: 'Arsenal is a big club with high ambitions, so the competition is here - but it will make you better.

'Sometimes I have to move, like last time when I play right-back. I like to play midfield because it is my natural position. One game by one game and I will see.'

Arsenal have certainly shown few signs of missing Thierry Henry - sold to Barcelona during the summer - and produced another composed display to beat Sevilla 3-0 in their opening Champions League group game.

Cesc Fabregas has chalked up five goals already, and it was his shot which deflected in off defender Julien Escude to set Arsenal on their way against the Spaniards.

Flamini feels one of his key roles is allowing others the license to roam.

'I am doing an important job because I have to and I try to get the maximum of the ball,' he said.

'This season Cesc is a bit more free, playing a little bit higher than me and so he has more chance to score and more chance to give some passes and I think that is important.

'It's important for a player to have time to play because it gives you confidence and you can have an understanding with your partner.'

Flamini added: 'We are playing like a real team because one time Cesc will make the difference and then it might be Adebayor.

'Anybody can make the difference and that is very important because before it was more than one player that could make the difference.'

Arsenal will be expected to chalk up another comprehensive win against the newly-promoted Rams, who may have beaten Newcastle on Monday night to move off the bottom, but have yet to score a goal away from home and have shipped 11 - including six at Anfield.

However, Wenger has plenty of injury concerns.

Captain William Gallas (groin), keeper Jens Lehmann (elbow) and Emmanuel Eboue (ankle) have been joined on the sidelines by midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring).

Defender Philippe Senderos (hip) and winger Alexander Hleb (knee) are also both now doubtful.

Wenger said: 'We have a few knocks and bruises.

'I will rotate a little bit to bring in some fresh players, but who, I don't know yet.'