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Flamini: Wenger renewal and FA Cup triumph has given Arsenal new confidence

The former AC Milan midfielder hailed his manager's decision to stay and insists the resurgent Gunners can emerge as genuine title challengers once again this year

EXCLUSIVE
By Liam Twomey

Mathieu Flamini has hailed Arsene Wenger’s decision to remain as Arsenal manager and believes the Gunners are capable of winning their first title since 2004 next season if they can keep key players fit.

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The build-up to last season’s FA Cup final was overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s future but, after seeing his team defeat Hull City to end a nine-year trophy drought, the Frenchman confirmed he would remain at the Emirates Stadium for at least another two years.

Flamini believes his manager’s decision was an important moment for the club and is confident they can emerge as title winners once more.

“For all the players it was great news, and for me even more because he played a big part in bringing me to Arsenal from France the first time and then bringing me back,” Flamini told Goal at the launch of Arsenal's new PUMA kits.

“We were all very happy because he’s played a big role in Arsenal ever since he came here.

“We feel even more confident now we’ve won a title. We’re coming into a new season now and hopefully we’ll win another one.”

Last season Arsenal’s Premier League tilt was undermined by injuries to key players – most notably Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Abou Diaby’s personal injury nightmare continued.

Flamini is upbeat about the Gunners’ title chances next term, but admits Wenger will need better luck in keeping his most important men on the pitch and off the treatment table.

“It’s very positive for the club and the team to have Abou [Diaby] back [in training], because he’s a very talented player,” he added.

“Hopefully we’ll also have Theo back in a month. It’s all very positive for the team because we have a lot of quality, but we had a few injuries which made it a bit difficult for us in the title race.

“I hope Jack [Wilshere] and every single player will be fit for the whole season. It gives us more options and makes us stronger.

“When we have everyone fully fit, it gives much more opportunity for different [tactical] possibilities and makes it easier for the coach to manage the team. It’s a plus for everyone.”

Arsenal's new home and away replica kits and a full collection of fanwear are available for fans to purchase now online at www.puma.com and in many stores worldwide. The new cup kit will launch in-store and online on August 14.

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