Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta believes the addition of Mathieu Flamini has had a significant impact on their fortunes this season.
Flamini returned to Arsenal for a second spell in August on a free transfer and his since established himself as a regular in Arsene Wenger's starting XI.
The Frenchman's arrival did not come with much fanfare in comparison to that of fellow midfielder Mesut Ozil, who joined in a deal believed to be worth £42.5 million in September.
But Arteta feels the inclusion of Flamini has brought some much-needed depth to the Arsenal midfield.
"I think it (Flamini's presence) helps the team because we can rotate players and we can play differently," Arteta told Arsenal's official website. "We can play with two (in midfield) and it gives us another option.
"No-one has been able to play every game this season. I think the league is getting more demanding, you need a big squad, you can't afford to have only 11 players."
At 31 Arteta could be considered to be reaching the latter stages of his career, however, the Spaniard insists that he is still in top condition.
"When you get to know your body and you have more experience, you are able to learn and read the game better," he added.
"It makes it easier for you and this is probably the time when I'm enjoying my football most, so I want to carry on. For me the age is only a number, I feel very good.
"There will be a day where you start to drop but for me personally now, if I can play every three days, I'd rather do that."comments