Arsene Wenger has confused just about everyone by claiming that Mathieu Flamini’s terrible tackle in the opening minutes against Bournemouth should have actually been a free-kick… to us.
I haven’t seen one person, Arsenal fan or otherwise, complaining about Flamini’s yellow card in the sixth minute against the Cherries. In fact, almost everyone thought he was lucky to still be on the pitch. Not Arsene Wenger though.
“I didn’t see it like that,” Wenger insisted in his post-match interview.
“I’m fairly sure at the start it was a free-kick to us because Flamini was there first and I didn’t see how high he was. He was first on the ball, I don’t even think he needed to tackle. It was maybe both. Maybe it was a foul from Flamini because he had high feet, I have to look at it again. I still feel that he was first on the ball and went for the ball and didn’t go for the player. It would have been harsh.”
Although I usually stand by what Wenger says, there’s no way, regardless of how many times you watch that tackle, that it wasn’t a terrible challenge. If that had happened any other time during the match, it would have been a red card and no one could have argued.
Flamini has developed from just anonymous to a liability and, given his experience, he should know better. He knows full-well he can’t be flying into those tackles and by doing so he puts the whole team at risk. If we’d been down to 10 men, there’s no knowing what the result would have been.