By Richard Clarke

For Mathieu Flamini, Sunday's draw at Chelsea proved something he already knew - that Arsenal can compete with the top two in the Barclay's Premiership this season.

Eleven minutes from time, the Frenchman scored what appeared to be the winning goal at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately, for Arsenal, Michael Essien replied six minutes from time with a 30-yard thunderbolt.

Still, having taken three points away from Manchester United and one from Chelsea, the 22-year-old midfielder is now certain Arsenal can haul back the lead currently held by Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

"We knew it was possible for us to be with the first teams in the table," he said. "Now we are sure. But we have to show consistency to go and get the points at Wigan [on Wednesday].

"At the same time we are a little bit frustrated because we had potential to win the game at Chelsea.

"We scored a goal and we did not want to concede. It was a lesson I suppose but it was a good game for us as well and I thought we were unlucky.

"All of the team were very young except for maybe Gilberto and Jens so I think this is a really good point for the future.

"It was a game of high intensity. It is always like that. We fought for the ball on the pitch but I don't think it was violent. It is true there were some [tough] tackles but that is normal because it was a big game with both teams wanting to win."

Flamini also dismissed suggestions that Arsenal came for a draw.

He said: "With every pass, every ball and every movement we tried to win this game."

11/2 - Wigan v Arsenal: Robin van Persie to score the first goal

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 12 Dec 2006