Ian Wright defends Arsenal’s under-fire Mathieu Flamini

Ian Wright has defended Mathieu Flamini after the Arsenal midfielder’s calamitous cameo

Ian Wright has defended Mathieu Flamini after the Arsenal midfielder’s calamitous cameo in Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona.

The France midfielder replaced Francis Coquelin in the 82nd minute as Arsene Wenger sought to add fresh legs to his midfield following Lionel Messi’s 71st-minute opener at the Emirates Stadium.

However, Flamini failed to collect a poor pass from team-mate Per Mertesacker and brought down Messi in the penalty area to give the visitors a chance to secure a 2-0 aggregate lead.

The Barcelona forward duly dispatched his penalty to put the Champions League holders in control of the tie ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou on 16 March.

Flamini was heavily criticised on social media for his disastrous contribution on Tuesday night, but Wright pointed the finger at Mertesacker for the captain’s role in the penalty.

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Arsenal make the trip to Barcelona for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash.

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