Flamini - I'm still very close to Cesc

Mathieu Flamini says he is still "very close" to former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.

The 29-year-old, who returned to the Club last month, was the Spanish playmaker's midfield partner in 2007/08 when the Gunners challenged strongly for the Premier League title.

"We had a lot of players [in 2007/08] who were very close off the pitch"

Mathieu Flamini

Flamini was also good friends with Alex Hleb and Tomas Rosicky and has been reunited with the Czech star in recent weeks. And according to Flamini, the team spirit in Arsene Wenger's current squad is just as good is it was five years ago.

"I am still very close with Cesc. He is still a very good friend of mine," Flamini told Arsenal Player. "It's difficult in football to have close friends because of the competitions but I'm still close with Cesc.

"I saw him in the summer, he has a little girl now and I'm really happy for him. He's happy where he is and I always keep him in my heart.

"Sometimes you have connections with players and you can't explain it. We had a lot of players [in 2007/08] who were very close off the pitch.

"I have a lot of good memories [of that time]. I remember the cohesion in the group, everyone was fighting for each other on the pitch, it was a great team spirit - as good as we have now in the dressing room.

"I think the main event [that ended Arsenal's title challenge] was when we went to Birmingham with the injury of Eduardo. It was a big shock and we conceded two points. Sometimes this can happen in a season when we were doing so well. After that I think we lost a bit of focus."

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