Cat Stevens once wrote about how “the first cut is the deepest” yet for Arsenal it seems every snip made by Mathieu Flamini is a knife to the very heart of the club, given the reaction to the Frenchman trimming the sleeves of his shirt.
According to reports in the national press, the midfielder has been reprimanded by manager Arsene Wenger for failing to adhere to Gunners tradition and wear sleeves of matching length to those of the on-field captain.
In the past Flamini has opted to roll up the long sleeves of his shirt, but at Manchester United and on Champions League duty this week, kit men were left aghast at the sight of the ball-winner in a hastily-altered shirt, that he appeared to have modified using a pair of scissors.
After a dressing down from his boss, however, it now looks likely that the 29-year-old will tow the party line with Ladbrokes offering odds of 1/10 on him wearing a long-sleeved shirt for Saturday’s trip to Cardiff.
But for those seeking a little more value in their bet, the odds of 5/1 on him sporting the same short sleeves could be difficult to ignore.
Wenger, for one, will be hoping that the player is at his very best come Saturday and if that means allowing him to make his controversial alterations to the shirt he wears then he may yet have a change of opinion.
And while the overriding feeling is that the rules will be enforced, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Frenchman score and celebrate with something involving his sleeves – a scenario that Ladbrokes has backed at odds of 25/1 to occur.
With Arsenal favourites to win at 4/7 and Cardiff backed at 9/2 to record another famous home victory, Flamini will need to be at his best if the Gunners are to avoid a repeat of Manchester United’s recent draw and a stalemate is priced at 3/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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