Ahead of Saturday’s clash against Manchester City, Mathieu Flamini has called on Arsenal to stay switched on at the start of their biggest games.

The Gunners have found themselves facing an uphill struggle in their recent matches against Liverpool and Chelsea after conceding early goals.

Flamini says the team must be prepared to battle from the very first minute in these games, especially against a free-scoring side like City.

These kinds of games are battles. You have to win the duels, win the fight and then play your football

Mathieu Flamini

“We have to be strong defensively first of all because that is very important when you play against a big team who are a very offensive side,” he said.

“When you play a big game, you cannot lose it in the first 10 or 15 minutes because it is not good for the rest of the match. So we have to be focused and be ready because these kinds of games are battles. You have to win the duels, win the fight and then play your football.

“After that, we have enough quality in this team to find a goal.”

Despite his late own goal against Swansea on Tuesday night, Flamini believes the fighting spirit the team showed bodes well for the rest of the season.

“We came back in this game and it was not easy – a lot of the players were tired but we did it,” he said. “We came back to 2-1 and unfortunately we conceded the goal and it was a bit hard for us.

“But the team spirit is still there and we gave a good example of it. We got a draw of course but we have to take the positives, move forward and focus on the game on Saturday.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 26 Mar 2014