Arsene Wenger has had plenty of reasons to smile recently, as his Arsenal side have made the most impressive start to the season out of all the title contenders.
Despite losing 3-1 at home to Aston Villa on the first day of the season, his side have gone from strength to strength and have won every game since, taking them to the top of the table.
This change in fortune has coincided with Wenger's venture into the transfer market. Fans were amazed and excited when he splashed out a club record fee on Mesut Ozil, who has been majestic in the midfield since joining.
But the signing which I think has had the biggest effect on the side, has been the return of Mathieu Flamini.
Flamini first joined Arsenal in 2004 and enjoyed a lot of success in the four seasons he spent at the club. He then left to join AC Milan, where he was used more as a utility player.
But now, after five years in Italy, he has returned to the club where he made his name and he's slotted back in like he never left.
He is the holding midfielder Arsenal have been crying out for since Gilberto Silva left. He anchors the midfielder really well, links up attacking play with short, simple passes and is always there to give the opposition a hard time.
Arsenal do not have anyone else who can perform in this role. Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby try to sit deep but it’s just not their natural game.
Players like Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere have been in brilliant form since Flamini has come into the side.
The burden of defensive responsibility has been lifted from their shoulders. They have much more freedom to express themselves, get into the final third and link up with Ozil, Giroud and Walcott, which so far they have done brilliantly.
They still do their job defensively, but they know that Flamini will always be there to either buy them some extra time to get back or break down the attack as part of the defensive unit.
Flamini is the main reason that Arsenal are playing so well. He may not have been the marquee signing that Ozil has been, but for me, he has been the most important.
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