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The return of Diaby – just like a new signing?

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Victory Through Harmony

The return of Diaby – just like a new signing?

By Ian Trevett

The shutters of transfer window are preparing to slam shut, and in all probability there will be no marquee signing at Arsenal. Now we have three fit centre backs, I am not really holding my breath. If there is one thing we have learnt about Wenger is that he is not one to be swayed by the prevailing opinion, whether it is among fans or media experts.

If we fail to win a trophy because of a lack of fit centre backs, the knives will be out. If we sail through looking secure at the back, he will give a self-satisfied smirk, as if to ask, ‘why did you ever doubt me?’

If there are no new faces at the Emirates, then we may have a player who has the same impact: the forgotten man at Arsenal, Abou Diaby. Everyone is patiently waiting for the return of Ramsey, but Diaby has slipped out of the limelight.

Diaby is a player who splits fans. He has abundant skill and those long legs that eat up the ground between the boxes, turning defence into attack in a blink of the eye. He could be world class, yet he frustrates as much (or more) than he excites. He suffers from the lapse of concentration that leads to a sloppy pass and he is perhaps the worst culprit when it comes to the ‘don’t shoot where there is a pass on’ culture, that can have fans tearing their hair out.

So why am I looking forward to his return so much? The reason is that we don’t really need him at the moment, and expectations of him are low. And I am sure that he will come back with a determination to prove us all wrong.

It is hard to see where he will fit in at the moment. The midfield is sown up with Song, Wilshere and Fabregas. Rest a player and we can just bring in Nasri from the left into a central position where he plays even better. Denilson can step in to shore things up a bit when required. And give it a month and Aaron will be back in the mix.

Diaby needs to find himself a place in the team, and he will have to fight damn hard to do so. But he will give us something different, especially offensively in midfield. There will be games when we struggle to break down teams with the bus parked. Also we are playing a lot of games at the moment and we need the squad to play their part.

He needs the sort of attitude he showed about a year ago, when we were struggling at West Ham in the cup. He came on, with Nasri, with 25 minutes to go and took the game by the scruff of its neck and drove us on to victory. He will need to show that determination to get close to a first team place, as no-one would currently pick him over Cesc, Jack, Alex or Sami.

This time last year, we were desperate to get players back, and each player returning had the weight of expectation on their shoulders as we needed them to perform at the highest level straight away. We were missing Fabregas, Walcott, Van Persie and Bendtner for big chunks of the mid-season. This time the only pressure on Diaby is to prove that he deserves a place.

For me, he has the quality to put pressure on the current first teamers and, if he stays fit, he will give Wenger a selection dilemma as the season goes on. He is one of the most naturally gifted layers at the club, but he now has to decide if he is going to fight for his place in the club. If he does, our midfield options will be immense. If he doesn’t he may find himself sidelined and be forced to find a new home if he wants first team football.

The first thing Diaby should do is shoot at goal. Everyone loves a goalscoring midfield player. Good luck, Abou.

Herbert Chapman at Huddersfield Town

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50 comments to The return of Diaby – just like a new signing?

  • Waz

    Diaby used to shoot and scored a few rockets early on, I wOnder if the manager who influences a loss of this natural instinct in favour of thinking and passing, roZicky used to shoot a bit more too

  • Waz

    Essentially weenier desires intelligence over inspiring indIvidual instinct by, we train to play the arsenal way, that works wonders for us but downside for me is then indecision we can see when taking a shot

  • Waz

    Wenger not weenier

  • Dark Prince

    Diaby is a mixed case. He has the potential which can be seen in bits and parts but is highly inconsistent. The problem is the he is almost 25yrs old. He should be starting his prime form now but still is nowhere near to it. Infact, he’s getting more injury prone and his performances are getting more inconsistent.

    I dont think this is his year. Maybe next year. This year there’s already Wilshere, Song and Cesc who are performing exceptionally in midfield. Even if we rotate, we have Denilson and Rosicky. And Ramsey will definately be chosen over him once he comes back. And most of our fixture pile up is over now. So other than the few fa cup games where he might start, the rest will definately substitute appearances.

    The first step for him now should be to be completly fit. It doesn’t matter how many more weeks it wil take but being completly fit is the first step towards coming back to form.

  • Gooner by soul

    Wax…i would agree with most but would like to correct u on indecision…..in arsenal point is u get better at tech level then if u shoot or half shoot then u will score……look RVP winger turned striker….look at walcott this season…he has improved so much technically n no of goals shows tht

  • Nico

    Diaby is underrated by most gunners

  • festo

    yes,agree with u PRINCE

  • Tasos

    Diaby undoubtedly has the potential to go a very long way, unfortunately for him, like some others at the club, injuries have curtailed his progress thus far.

    This season alone he has been the victim of two very poor challenges from Michael Essien and Paul Robinson. The problem for Diaby now is that he finds himself further down the pecking order through no fault of own.

    I believe he could still have a major part to play this season, his height, power, skill and drive can add a different dimension to the team whilst also allowing Wenger the luxury of resting and rotating our midfield if and when necessary in what promises to be a very busy but very exiting period for the club.

    Recently we have seen the benefits that can come from a sustained period playing in the team, hopefully Diaby can add to that list when his chance arrives.

  • Davi

    Diaby improved massively last year as a defensive midfielder and has been important in a few games this season already. Against liverpool, when we were without song and fabregas, diaby stepped up and helped keep us secure at the back. Equally against blackburn, while walcott was the one who really won us the game, diaby was superb defensively for us and I really think we would have conceded another goal if he weren’t in the side that day. Before his injury wenger was rotating diaby with wilshere, depending on the strengths of the opposition, and it was working. This also meant jack could have a rest at times, which he needs at his age. He’s also the best cover we have for alex song.
    So yes, his return will be important to us.

  • WillyG

    Oh my God!! Diaby is back!! It will be 10 against 12 if we play him….he always play for the our opponents. he scores goals for them, he always passes to their players…he jogs while chasing their players….Oh my God, he’s back!!

  • 2BAgooner

    WillyG you mug.

    I bet you sit there slating the boys, moaning and bitching when things dont go perfectly like the little girl you are.

    Diaby is a class act, support the team you might find out.

  • mark

    he’s young…give him time…i know bloggers don’t subscribe to this boring and unsensational idea….but we simply can’t write off young players like we do with denilson, bendtner, diaby, etc…like we did with Song, Nasri, Clichy, etc

  • Dan

    Who cares? Everyone knows that Diaby will only be back for 5 games tops before he gets injured again.

    Good opening to the article about our lack of activity in the transfer window. Unless Wenger brings in a quality centre-half, I doubt whether we can win a trophy this season (including the Beer Cup).

  • Richard B

    Having height in the team is vital against certain opponents – particularly when we are defending set pieces. Yes. I know Diaby scored an og at OT last year in just such circumstaces but he clears far more than he concedes and can be a potent weapon in such games.
    However I don’t think that he is, by nature, a defensive player and will try to beat his man wherever he is on the pitch and will risk losing the ball in the process. Clichy will do the same. When it comes off its glorious, setting up an attack when the opposition least expect it – but it’s dangerous.
    Wilshere has shown that you can turn a natutal, ball playing, attacker into a defensive-shield player (better now than Makelele according to Capello) so maybe, if Diaby has been watching he can learn from Jack.
    In the end Diaby shines at his brightest when playing further forward but that’s a role where Fabregas and Nasri both look best.
    We really do have an embarrassment of riches all over the pitch and the benefits of that (not least the fielding of stronger teams in the domestic Cups) is beginning to show.

  • dianjuh

    @WillyG
    Wacha UJINGA!!!!!

  • Obi Naija Gunner

    No need to be negative this season – for any reason!
    Diaby is important. We need all the legs we can get. He will come good – just like the entire team.
    GUNNERS FOR FOUR!

  • gooner80

    Ive seen diaby play exceptional and on his day he is a match winner competition for places stops people becoming complacent. He does stride like patrick going forwards.

    IMO I dont think we always need to play 4-3-3 diaby off the striker wouldnt be a bad role for him

    I think aw is going to have a headache soon, Im hoping the second string can take us all the way in the facup because we cant really afford to play first teamers, they should be reserved for the league champions league and finals and even some league matches it would be nice to give some players a rest

  • dianjuh

    R arsenal fans programmed to see th negative side of their players or what??!! how cn the return of our own player be in anyway bad?? IDIOTS!! even th return of Aluminium( arsenal’s alumni)is +ve news!!!….movin on ….Diaby wil def help us push more comfortably for honours this season. He played very well last year with cesc and song…..they already have an understanding so as soon as he gets a couple of games 4 fitness then selection problems are in store…but tht cn only work in our favour!!!

  • Simon

    @Dan

    So we cannot beat Birmingham City unless we spend a few £million on a defender?

    What a load of rubbish!

    how have we managed to bang 5 past them whilst conceding 1?

    We may not beat them but a hurried signing is not going to ensure we will either!

  • 9jagun

    His important whether u like it or not the more players you have the stronger the team. How about if all were injured?

  • CanadianGunner

    Like a new signing, I think not. Marginal player at best. Lazy in defense, error prone, lacks finishing and most importantly his stats on competed forward passes, not the usual sideways or backward ones he feels comfortable with that slow and disrupt the flow of play but the forward passes that create. He’s no PV, please, sell him before he does another OT.

  • walter

    Is Willy G a William Gallas fan?

    I for one am glad we can add Diaby to our team.
    The way he has been kicked off the field this season on two occasions (without punishment from the refs) still makes me mad.

  • 8 inch knob

    Diaby has the second best passing accuracy in the Arsenal team.

  • 8 inch knob

    ……………………..Chesney…………………………
    ………………………………………………………
    ………………..Djourou……Koschielny………………..
    ………………………………………………………
    …….Sagna………………………………..Gibbs……..
    ……………………….Song………………………….
    ……………………….Diaby…………………………
    ……………………..Fabregas………………………..
    ………………Walcott………..Nasri………………….
    ………………………………………………………
    …………………….Van Persie……………………….

  • 8 inch knob

    Lol.

    Diaby has been sorely missed.

    Fuck Almunia. His return is negative news. Hope he breaks his arms.

  • walter

    I think the return from Diaby could have as a result that Wilshere can have some rest. He has played already so many games that it will make him very tired.

    And now when Wenger thinks Wilshere needs a rest he can put Diaby in his place. The last thing Wenger can do is to get all the petrol out of Wilsheres engine. This could bring his future in danger. And it could make hime more injury prone also in the future.
    Oh and I know that Wilshere will have a setback in the next months/years and also suffer from a few medical problems. This is rather normal for a player like him who has come early on the scene. But giving him now enough rest will help him later on.

    Even if it will be hard on him so sit on the bench now and then. It will be for his own good and for his good in the long run.

    Just saw a little report during the half time between Everton and Chelsea: Love Jack, love the way the talks about Arsenal and Wenger. He is such a great lad.
    And also in this report a much younger Cesc in 2008 predicting a great future for Jack.

  • Paul C.

    I also think it is amazing to see negativaty about the return of ANY players from injury. Until Almunia’s return from injury, Chesney was our only fit ‘keeper, so how can Amunia’s return be anything but positive? Manuel is not a No.1 ‘keeper, we all know that, but he is more than adequate as a backup, in fact he is an excellent back-up compared to those at many other clubs.

    And Diaby? The guy is a good player. He has ups and downs but he is capable of outstanding performances and makes our squad stronger when fit. Yes he is injury prone, but if in the last few months of the season he gets fit and into top form, then he could win us some games by himself.

    This is positive news.

  • Jones

    Hope he breaks his arms? Give the man some respect you knob! How can the return of a good backup keeper be negative news.

  • nicky

    Tasos
    Well said. Two challenges on Diaby that were well out of order and resulted in his being on the sick list for far too long. In my view I hope a place is found for him in the team because he’s too influential a player to leave out. But he needs to play regularly in order to shine and until he does, we will not see the best of him.

  • critic

    i just can’t believe people don’t realize the importance of diaby. I mean it’s believable if charity fan or utd fan say such things, but arsenal fans slagging their own players??? that’s a great culture that glory hunters are trying to promote.

    May be these actually are other team’s supporters or may be they need arsenal to win trophy for getting laid or to get a promotion or may be even get a job!!!pathetic…

  • critic

    Anyway, moving on, diaby’s comeback is a great news. he will

    1)give more options to AW.
    2)allow song to move back in defense if situation arises.
    3)add more muscle to our midfield, in case we need to bully some1.
    4)guy can score goals from outside of penalty box. Remember his goal against blackpool or was it against some1 else. Cross from right side, on the volly, banggggg…and i bet many don’t even remember that goodness gracious goal.

  • critic

    But……yes there are always if’s and but’s to make things interesting.

    He is just back from injury, expecting him to pull the rabbit out of his pants is just like putting pat rice in forward role and expecting him to score 20 goals a season. He needs time(no, not pat rice u idiots, diaby) to find his form back, most importantly his peak physical condition back. It can happen in 2-3 weeks if we are to be lucky or it may take 2-3 months if we are to b arsenal.

    All we can do is pray and keep our fingers crossed. His return could be a pivotal moment in our season….and u read it first, right here, on untold… 😀

  • RedGooner

    Diabi the fans chant at the end worth a watch for any Arsenal fan that hasnt seen it before 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8oGGm13qWo

  • WingedGooner

    If Diaby is played as AM, he would be devastating with his height and shooting. he has a very good shot technique and has great technical skills to move through defenses. his passing and distribution are poor and so Le boss shouldnt screw him up by playing him in place of song.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Nico
    January 29th, 2011 at 9:52 am
    Diaby is underrated by most gunners

    This.

  • Gidster

    For me a fit and firing Diaby is the best midfielder at the club. None of other midfielders offer the same combination of skill, physical dominance, passing ability, dribbling, and power. Cesc has more skill and reads the game better, as does Jack (ridiculous for a 19 year old), but they cant match Diaby for power and physicality. They cant do things he can do. Song is a big boy, but Diaby has more skill on the ball and moves faster. Diaby is a unique player in our squad.

    He makes the game look easy. Sometimes with him it looks like schoolboy football and he’s the kid who’s just miles ahead of everyone else, and thats no mean feat on a professional football field. I wont ever forget that Carling Cup final when, for an hour, a 19 year old Diaby took Essien, Lampard, Ballack and Makalele to the cleaners. Read those names again. 4 big mutha fuckah players. He nutmegged Lampard at least twice, and brushed off Makalele and Essien like the insects they were. Well, to him they were, and we know that they are anything but.

    I know someone who’s met him. Said he was one of the thickest blokes he’s ever shared half an hours company with, but clueless in a nice vacant way. Thats his problem I think. Winning games of football does not always appear to be the most important thing in his life. And lets be honest, when you get right down to the nuts and bolts of it all, its not really, is it? Just a game of footie, yeah? He doesn’t seem to have that “win-or-die-trying” attitude that other players have, and I cant blame him for that. Its the way he’s made. But that attitude can make up for a lot of technical deficiencies in lesser players.

    Also vitally important: he’s been on the receiving end of the worst series of career threatening injuries I’ve ever seen one player take. None of them were accidents. All of them were brutal, pre-meditated assaults. That must get into a guys head.

  • Samuel

    With Diaby available again and hopefully able to stay free of injuries until seson,s end Wilshere can take a break as he (Jack,s)head is becoming too big and reckons he,s a world class player,not even close,too much lateral passing and running and overexerting himself when short crisp passing Denilson style will suffice ,take a break Jack it,s good for you ?

  • CanadianGunner

    I rest my case. Diaby marking Lee for the corner, Lee jumps Diaby can’t be bothered, Lee scores.

  • Dark Prince

    As expected, diaby performed poorly. Definatly should not be started in epl.

  • Paul C.

    Dark Prince – yes, as expected. It was his first game back from injury. Did anyone think he would have a stormer and dominate? Sorry, not going to happen.

  • Dark Prince

    Paul C- maybe you’re forgetting that even Rosicky, after his injury, has never been able to recover his form. So what should i expect from Diaby??

  • I don’t think Diaby had a poorly game, did held the ball well sometimes and made a few good passes, for a man who has not played for ages, I think is not a bad performence

  • bruce

    wat a player h z u wl c wen h picks form after 3 or so games h wl help rotate our midfiel. that guy z blessd wth vision as u shal c and the way h holds the ball whilst attacking the opposition goal z jus fabulous

  • AnonymousGun

    ^ I need translation for this.. I tried google translator, but it fails

  • Dale

    Ok, It’s transfer deadline day and we won’t be signing anyone. We don’t need to sell our best and only goal scorer for £50m. We don’t need to spend £50m on a player that will, most likely, be injured for most of the season.

    We don’t need to spend £30m on Andy Carrol, surely Bendtner is a much better player, he cost us next to nothing. No, we’re just waiting for the tired and the injured to return and they are our new signings. I love transfer deadline day, it’s so exciting to watch all the headless chickens running around throwing numbers at any player that moves (or even doesn’t move in the case of Carrol at the moment).

    I love that we’re not part of this insane merry-go-round but this comment on BBC’s transfer deadline day stream did make me laugh.

    “Being an Arsenal fan on deadline day is like being in detention at school and watching other kids play outside!”

  • diba

    Dark Prince: Do you ever listen to yourself. Rosicky could not come back to form because of injuries and now you have already written off Diaby with that regards but Ramsey who perhaps have a worse injury you have already given a chance to come and be piked ahead of Diaby. Why? Because he is superhuman or because he is Briton?

  • Dark Prince

    Diba- simple season – Diaby is 25yrs old now. If he come back to form immediately, then he never will. Rosicky too got injured at a point where he was at his peak. That peak has passed and now he can never come back to his best. Ramsey on the other hand has enough time ahead of him to become better. He’s jus 19yrs old!!

  • Paul C.

    DP – 25 is still very young in football terms. Diaby is actually still just 24 years old. Pires was 27 when he got to Arsenal and his previous two years at Marseilles had been crap. We got him for only 6m. His best years were still ahead. At 26 Bergkamp was languishing at Inter to such an extent that the Italian media renamed their “Donkey of the Week” award the “Bergkamp of the Week” award. Steve Bould was plucked from obscurity at 26 years old. Manu Petit was 27 and unknown across Europe when Wenger signed him. Diaby’s best years should still be ahead of him. Maybe he will get a long run free of injuries, maybe he wont. Maybe he is just injury prone and brittle. But to make the assessment at 24 is premature. A players peak years are 26-32, maybe even 33 or 34 given modern sports medicine and the style of play (for instance Torres, a player built on explosive bursts of pace, may have already passed his peak, as Owen did).

    Diaby has loads of time. He should be nowhere near his peak. Rosicky was 27 when his injury problems started, so his peak was rudely interrupted. He was 29 before he got back from the injuries. Diaby wont be 25 until May.

  • diba

    Dark Prince: Diaby is no where near his peak he is as much a youngster as Ramsey he is more suited to heal faster and out grow the niggling ones unlike Rosicky who was much older. Diaby has a very brigther future as bright as that of Ramsey if RvP could out live with his and be a vital part of the team Diaby too can do same he is not a Cesc in any way and most importantly will not have Barca hovering. He deserve more time and credit.

  • Dark Prince

    Paul C- maybe we have our differences there. For me, a player’s peak is between 24-30. Yes there will be few exceptions where players out-perform that age, like in the cases you have pointed out or when we talk about goalkeepers. But generally, when a player reaches 30, his peak period has gone. Rosicky, Arshavin, Squillaci belong to that group. Diaby for me has entered his peak period where he needs to perform. And injuries at this stage will only bring him backwards. He has not improved as much was required. And i dont see him gettin any close to Arsenal’s 1st team, especially with the likes of Cesc, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey or Lansbury coming in. Maybe few substitute appearances and the usual fa cup, carling cup matches but not by a long shot in Arsenal’s 1st team unless someone gets injured.