Mathieu Flamini believes it took a ‘perfect’ performance for Arsenal to overcome a resolute Southampton on Wednesday night with Alexis Sanchez, once again, able to drag his side over the line.
Sanchez broke down a spirited Southampton rearguard in the final minute of regulation time to ensure Arsenal were able to clinch the three points and propel themselves towards the Premier League’s coveted top four positions.
It was the Chilean’s ninth league goal in his maiden campaign as an Arsenal player and, as has often been the case, proved to be a decisive strike. Sanchez will have few simpler chances to convert this season, but he has developed an important knack for being in the right place at the right time.
While Sanchez will have earned the majority of plaudits, Flamini spoke after the game of his pride at what he says was an excellent performance all round for Arsenal, who recorded a third successive triumph across all competitions.
“It was a great game - a perfect game I would say because we played very well, we were very strong at the back and at the same time we had a lot of quality up front,” the French midfielder told Arsenal Player.
“It was a true Premier League game where we were fighting on every ball. Every challenge was important.”
Arsenal’s previous home outing had been the defeat to Manchester United during which they were anything but solid, with Louis van Gaal’s side scything through their defences seemingly at will in the second-half.
Stomach for the fight
It was a defeat that began to turn the tide more noticeably against Arsene Wenger, but Flamini believes the performance and the result against 10-man Southampton shows that the players still have the stomach to fight for their manager.
“What a performance by the team, what spirit, and I am very happy for everyone at the club because we have been working very hard until now and we didn’t win a few games that we were supposed to win,” he added.
“[This time] we were 200 per cent in the game, fighting for every ball and it made the difference in the end. I’m really proud of the guys.”