Mathieu Flamini showed he is learning a thing or two from his great friend Mesut Ozil, netting a winner which would have had any technician of the game nodding his head in approval, with that winner turning all the more sweeter for the Arsenal midfielder as it came against their north London rivals Tottenham.
White Hart Lane was buzzing after a Calum Chambers own goal cancelled out a Flamini strike – no, not that one -- in the first half of this League Cup third round encounter, but in came the French midfielder, making his first appearance this season, with a volley-and-a-half that silenced the home support and had the away fans singing "he scores when he wants, he scores when he wants, Mathieu Flamini, he scores when he wants."
Arsenal had the better of the first half, at least in terms of cutting edge in the final third and took the lead thanks to the striker-like instinct of Flamini. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain thumped in a low shot, which Michel Vorm could only parry back to his own six-yard area, and there was Flamini, getting in ahead of all the Spurs defenders to smash the rebound into the roof of the net.
Spurs came back a lot stronger in the second 45, and deservedly equalised, when Chambers, who only had to leave the ball for David Ospina, turned in a low cross from Nacer Chadli into his own net.
It looked like Tottenham would go on and win the game from there, as Harry Kane continued his hunt for the opening club goal of the season. Had it not been for a brilliant goalline clearance from Kieran Gibbs, he would have broken that drought as well, but the Arsenal defender headed clear when the ball looked destined to hit the back of the net off a brilliant scissor-kick volley from the Spurs captain.
As Tottenham tired in the last 20 minutes or so, Arsenal, with the pace of Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain, started to take advantage, but not even Arsene Wenger would have expected Flamini to sore the kind of goal that won them the north London derby and booked their place in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
The ball looped up high into the edge of the penalty area off a clearance from Frederico Fazio, and Flamini, a defensive midfielder by trade, showed brilliant technique to smash the ball on the volley into the corner of the net, leaving Vorm with absolutely no chance.
The reward of that hard-fought victory for Arsenal is an away match against Sheffield Wednesday, who knocked Newcastle United out, in the fourth round.