By Chris Harris
Two accusations were levelled at Arsenal at the start of the season: they would struggle without Thierry Henry and they were too young to challenge for the title.
The rise of Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor and company quickly addressed that first concern. In Mathieu Flamini's opinion, Arsenal's durability in the heat of the title battle shows that youth will not be an obstacle to success either.
"We are definitely not too young," said Flamini, speaking after the 3-0 win against Newcastle. "A lot of people said that at the start of the season but we are almost in February and we are still top of the league. We are playing well and I think we have a good chance of winning this title.
"We are very confident. Game after game you see we play fantastic football, like [against Newcastle]. The first half was difficult because they were all defending and the most important thing was to score, which we did before half time.
"Our confidence is very high and we will do everything to win the title."
Flamini was a bit-part player this time last year but has emerged as a vital cog in the Arsenal machine. If anyone doubted the midfielder's importance, they just had to witness his virtuoso display on Tuesday night, capped by an assist for Adebayor and a thunderous long-range strike.
The camaraderie in the Arsenal squad has been a feature of their season, from joyous goal celebrations to that now familiar post-match huddle. Flamini believes that the team spirit at Emirates Stadium can propel Arsène Wenger's side to the Premier League title.
"The team spirit is fantastic," he said. "At key moments this season it is always helping us and making the difference. I think it is the most important thing and at the end of the season it will make the difference for us."
Flamini - Youth not an obstacle on title quest
By Chris Harris