Downtime retrospective: How good is Diaby?

By Cape Gooner, with some additional material by Tony

I was watching the Wolves game on Arsenal TV and was thinking how good a game Diaby was having before he went off.

Is he doing a Denilson? Taking his chance and playing really well, only for the “fans” to pick on every misplaced pass. His goal against AZ was wonderful. He won the ball deep in our half, good pass, long run and then good control and shot.

Then I saw this table at I cannot vouch for the accuracy, but if correct, the stats paint a picture of Diaby that is quite different from the one we normally hear.

Basically his ability at making a successful tackle is the highest out of all the players who are analysed and his number of tackles lost is the lowest.  In tackles won he is right up there near the top, and he has scored three goals.

You can study all the details (and there are lots of them) on that site, but it looks from this analysis that like Denilson before him he is being criticised by people who seem to have an overall vision of a game without taking in much of the detailed interplay that goes on as opposition moves are broken down and our moves are built up.

I know that many people say that you can prove anything with stats, and if that is your opinion then obviously this sort of article is not for you.

But if you are interested in way in which the Denilson was maligned and came good this could be a good guide to the future.

Of course it doesn’t resolve the problem of who plays when Denilson, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Ramsey and Cesc are all fit at once.  Of course Ramsey is not yet ready to run the show so we can can’t him down for the moment, but for the rest – how would we fit them all in?

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58 Replies to “Downtime retrospective: How good is Diaby?”

  1. Diaby is a very talented player, I really want him to do well. Part of me says he still needs experience and will become a great player, but he has had his chances and with Ramsay pushing for that position very strongly, it doesn’t look good for him. Still he could do a Song and become great over night (I’m hoping for that anyway)

  2. Diaby is far better than alot of players in that position in the EPL.. And the stats are paramount to judging the ability of a player, all scouts and managers would never buy a player without analysing the stats first. If the stats say Diaby is good, then surely the impression you gooners have about him being bad is purely due to your own biases.

  3. You may have a point footballers seem to be remembered for a few either fantastic or unfortunate moments and the work horses go unnoticed by and large. Diaby’s OG at MANU will taint the way people percive him until he does something that counteracts that or enough time passes. So every bad pass will probably be noted more than others and he probably makes more bad passes compared to those around him, hmm Cesc, Robin VP, Ashavin etc but who doesn’t, he does seem to do good work out there.

  4. most people i’ve seen seem to be saying (myself included) he was playing pretty poorly before he got injured and on his substitution our midfield improved massively and we went from a team on the back foot to a team which easily took control of the game. that alone is not proof of his ability, but i think overall a very poor start to the season is. he sometimes has amazing performances, but is usually average at best and often very poor. he has no consistency and isn’t *currently* good enough for arsenal. our midfield is weaker with him in than just about any other player in that position in my mind. for all his size he doesn’t offer a good aerial presence, isn’t exceptional in the tackle, often has poor decision making, slows the game down, is totally right footed and barely uses his left at any cost. even less obvious players like nasri and rosicky whilst less physically dominant *looking* have no less of a presence because they are quicker, have better work-rate, better ball retention and decision making and are better passers. there have been many bandwagon players taking too much blame at arsenal in recent years, so i feel it’s important to credit diaby with those great performances when he does put them in here and there. but overall he is absolutely not at arsenal class at this point in his career. i’m not denilson’s biggest fan but he is far less of a liability and far more consistent.

  5. You are so right Cape Gooner. When we have the luck over here that a game is shown on tv I always have it stored digital on some box that we get from our provider. And when you look back at a game without the tension that you have watching live, you learn far more than the one who see the game once and mostly have their biased opinion even before kickoff.

    I had my doubts about Diaby, but my main concern was can he stay fit for a long period. Because he used to have very promising games that my mouth was open wide looking in admiration and then during the week mostly the message came out: Diaby is out for X weeks.
    He seems fitter than ever now and he is very much improving.
    But for some reason when Cesc loses a ball (it really happens you know) we all say : bad luc. When Diaby loses the ball some say: not good enough.
    My prediction: I think we will see the best of Diaby towards the end of this season and next season he will be the big Abou.

  6. There you have it. Two different persons, two different views. 😉
    Just let him grow in the game like the others have grown.

  7. Very good point, Cape Gooner.
    I concluded a long time ago that quite a few Arsenal supporters have a myopic sense of support and hold a blindingly damaging bias against some of the players of the club they are meant to be supporting.

  8. But for some reason when Cesc loses a ball (it really happens you know) we all say :bad luc. When Diaby loses the ball some say: not good enough.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Walter. In the eyes of some fans, some players can’t do anything wrong and others can’t do anything right.

  9. Diaby never really got a chance to get going against wolves. They came out the blocks fast and attacked us. Its unfair to say diaby going off and song coming on changed the game, I dont think song would have prevented wolves attacking us the way they did. They pressurised our midfield extremely well. It was our 1st goal that demoralised them a bit and turned the tide in our favour.
    Diaby did have a fantastic game against AZ before that. I was impressed by his appetite and willingness to put in the challenges. That being said, he hasnt done that enough this season imo. I was hoping hed get a proper chance against wolves to build on the AZ performance.
    Attack-wise I think diaby is sometimes excellent, but more often just decent. I expect him to become more consistent in time, once he really gets used to his role in the side – He reminds me of baptista, a really talented player who just never seemed to understand his role in the team when he was here. Denilson looked a bit like that at times last season as well imo.
    Defensively he’s really good when he puts in the effort and a can be real asset to the team. When he doesnt out in a proper shift though he really isnt worth his place.
    My conclusion on him is that his destiny is in his hands. Hes got the talent and wenger has shown he is willing to take a chance on him, but he has to work hard otherwise he’ll end up being overtaken very soon by the equally talented, younger players coming through. (Ramsey might have done so already to be honest.)

  10. Davi, talk about damning a player with faint praise!

    I just do not get this over-hyping of Ramsey, he has barely played this season and like most young players, it’s easy to look good in an occasional game, but they are notoriously inconsistent. Until he has a run in the team and can reproduce the same level of performance consistently he has not proven anything yet.

  11. hating diaby is fashion and unfortunatley most arsenal fan are like a flock of sheep. If someone starts to moan about Diaby they all do. He must be a shit player then since all the “great arselan fan managers” says so. am i right? Surley you all know more than Wenger i mean. Surley you are all qualified footy managers with a proven track record, and surley you all recognize talent when you see it……

  12. mate to be honest diaby wasn’t having the best of games ramsey was playing better than him by far, im a fan of diaby and have faith in him becoming a world class player but he wasnt playing the best of his game.

  13. I have long observed that, depending on national and social origin, football fans, like people everywhere, see and interpret events from deeply held biases and prejudices, no matter how they claim to be open-minded. All things being equal, a football fan is even more opinionated, compared to the average person, because the game evokes so much passion and emotion. No wonder the poster Ryan, after reading that Diaby has a 92% Success to Tackle ratio, the highest among leading midfielders in the Prem, will say the player ” is usually average at best and often very poor.” As expressed by “don’t believe the hype” Davi takes the duplicitous route by admitting Diaby is good but “he has to work hard otherwise he’ll end up being overtaken very soon by the equally talented, younger players coming through” even though at 84% his Passing Accuracy is higher than Cesc. But then again Davi is intent on bigging up Ramsey.
    Reminds me how the slaughtering of Eboue coincided with the period when he frequently kept Walcott out of the 1st eleven.

    Fortunately for us Arsene Wenger operates very objectively and doesn’t care for passports in how he develops players and assessing their value to Arsenal FC.

  14. the problem with Diaby ,he can be excellent but he can be absolutely crap.he can pass 2 or 3 players and then pass the ball to nobody.

    Everyone, even the “haters” ,know he s got talent but he is so inconsistent.i really don’t like see him in the starting line up because you never known which Diaby will turn up, the good one our the bad one 🙁

  15. “But for some reason when Cesc loses a ball (it really happens you know) we all say :bad luc. When Diaby loses the ball some say: not good enough.” – walter

    “You’ve hit the nail on the head, Walter. In the eyes of some fans, some players can’t do anything wrong and others can’t do anything right.” – FunGunner

    Hear Hear.

    “My prediction: I think we will see the best of Diaby towards the end of this season and next season he will be the big Abou.” – walter

    Now this guy knows what he’s talking about.

  16. What on earth?? Sorry mate, but if the Captain lost the ball as much as Diaby does, I’m not blind, I’d call it and say he’s playing crap, but he doesn’t, he knows when to pull his sock up in a game and not fuck around, that’s why he’s class, and our poor old No.2 isn’t, and sadly won’t be, until he learns to do the same.

  17. Comparing reactions to Cesc’s failed passes to Diaby’s is ridiculous.Cesc is a player making a meteoric rise to legendary status after pushing Paddy out of the team, at the age of 17.Diab-ollical is mediocre at best,makes shocking mistakes and has occasional rare strokes of genius,besides we have Denilson,Ramsey,Nasri,Wilshere and Eastmond all up for it.If PSG offer 10 million,jump on it!

  18. I do think that he really needs a longer run in the team to prove something…the only problem from me is that he needs to be more consistent and learn more about the game….but players will do that as they get older…how idk is he again?

  19. That Diaby can be a great Arsenal player cannot be denied – he has the height ,skill ,ball control and strength second to none, but lacks the vision and the ability to release the ball at the right time to better placed teammates.How many times have you seen him hold the ball too long and being cornered by the opposing players when an early pass would have resulted in a chance for others.
    I would love to see him develop into an allaction ,wellrounded midfielder to complement Cesc.I have to agree with Slugboy that he suffers from loss of concentration and loses the ball too easily.
    As for calling those who have differing opinions from oneself rascist is totally unfounded.Biased -yes .Rascist NO !

  20. Last season Diaby started 16 games in the Pl and scored 3. Now this season he started already 10 games and scored 3 in the PL.If he can keep fit and keeps this level he can end with some 10 goals in the season and thats not a bad call for a midfielder.
    So lets just see how he does in what looks like his first injury free season at the end of it in may.
    Maybe in a year we have the same feeling about him like we now have with Song. Song Belongs in the team, you know

  21. shotta-gunna, don’t believe the hype – I have been eboue’s strongest defender over the past few months, and probably supported walcott the least because he is the most inconsistent player in the squad, and the way he just walked back into the 1st team after being out for so long (when players like merida and vela have done more with their opportunities imo), and received that huge contract despite not actually achieving anything really led me to question whether Arsene’s values of “operat(ing) very objectively and (not) car(ing) for passports in how he develops players” are actually true!
    And because I mention ramsey once at the end of my comment, following 2 very good performances from the lad where he really did show appetite and talent, doesn’t mean I *want* him to do better than diaby!
    You know I’ve been going round other blogs describing diaby’s talent as zidane-like, but you are the ones being biased if you dont accept that diaby is inconsistent, and often-times looks disinterested (which i actually put down to either not knowing his rle in the team, or feeling the pressure of the occasion). You can surely see the difference in attitude between diaby and players like song or denilson.
    And I said the AZ game was very impressive because it was the first time I can remember him playing and being switched on the whole time. He didn’t even do that much going forward, but really helped song to dominate the midfield – too often before he hasn’t done that. Hes just allowed teams like tottenham to have space and time on the ball.
    I dont doubt that his stats are very high, and there is merit in that, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. For me, he is very good at through passes and shooting, but occasionally takes the wrong decision.
    Im not trying to simply praise diaby, Im trying to give a balanced view on his abilities. Implying Im biased (or predjudiced) is way off base.

  22. Brickfields Gunner – you were the first person to use the R word, I wonder why?

  23. Lord gunner is quite right. I just feel Diaby holds on to the ball abit too much. After dribbling 3 players rather than keep the ball to yourself and attract opposition players, release the ball to a teammate! I remember people having the same view about Bendtner last season, but thank God he has been able to dispel those negative views so far.

  24. ryan my friend when you analyse the game please do it with keeping football in mind. when sub was made the positions were also changed as ramsey was moved to diabys place and song started in his own position as DM. it was ramseys poor positioning in the DM role that didnt help early on as he looked lively but couldnt understand his role in his first game in that particular position.
    also when we analyse the players we cant compare them with other players in the team because every one has different roles to play so you cant compare diaby with song or cesc as cesc is suppose to give away possetion a few times because he is there to create goal scoring chances. but if we compare our player with the members of other teams and stats say we are good then DAMN we are good whats the fuss?? why can we just be honest and stop the hate to come out and spread.
    keep the faith

  25. I will be brief and go back to the original question.How good is Diaby ?. At this moment in time, it is suggested by the man himself that he prefers to have an attacking midfield role, yet Mr.Wenger has stated on more than one occasion that he seems him more as a defensive player.There lies the conundrum.I still think he has a lot to offer the team,and only a decent run of games will show his best position to compliment the team.I will agree that last season being played out on the left didn’t suit his game, and he tends to try sometimes to beat the whole opposition on his own.Having said that he has a talent which hopefully will unfold sooner than later.

  26. @ Cape Gooner – Can you do a story about how the press is ignoring the flying kick by jonny evans on drogba, (for which he should receive a ban in the same way adebayor did), and instead are allowing them to spew their crap about how refs have been unkind to them this year (which is of course complete garbage!)? – Btw, that kick is 10 times worse than diving, it was a cowardly act that could/might have broken his rib!

    You know the way the press has handled these points is going to have positive implications for Utd in their next few games and give them an unfair advantage as usual becuase refs are going to be under pressure to give things in Utd’s favour or else be talked about in the media.

  27. What I meant with the Cesc-Diaby comparison was just that all players lose possesion at times. It’s part of the game.
    I’m not trying to compare Cesc and Diaby as they are 2 different players.
    And yes I agree Diaby has still a lot to learn. And yes he sometimes doesn’t see the possibility for a quick pass and sometimes takes on to many players.
    But I think we can agree he has potential and has shown it at occasion.
    So how can Wenger make him a better player ? By putting him on the bench and say: look how its done ?
    No he has to learn it on the field. I’m pretty sure that after a game Wenger has a chat with the players on the training ground and shows them where they could have done better. But to get better you have to play and thus Diaby is playing for the moment because I think that on the training ground he gives a solid and good impression.
    So yes, I have shouted sometimes at my TV at Diaby when he didn’t make the pass and lost the ball afterwards but I really think that he is a great player IN THE MAKING. Just like Song was last year, just like Denilson was last year.
    So lets support Diaby so that he can become the player that Wenger sees in him.

  28. I could have added Bendtner to the names of Song and Denilson. Look how many fans are calling for Bendtner now since the injury on RVP.

  29. Anybody else getting annoyed with all the calls from Barcelona for Cesc to join them? We’ve had Xavi, Pique, and now Puyol all trying to tempt Cesc back. It’s disgusting how they deliberately try to unsettle him! I’m surprised Wenger hasn’t done anything to nip this kind of innappropriate behaviour in the bud. I do find it a little strange though that Cesc himself knows he’ll be going back – very, very odd. We all know he’s Catalan and his heart is in Barcelona but he also acknowledges how indebted he es to Wenger, and that he wouldn’t be the player he is today without him. But staying at Arsenal, he’s really just delaying the inevitable, and that’s a bit unnerving. There isn’t ONE player in the world in a position that Fabregas is in (maybe Ronaldo for United last year) – that is, for the moment he plays for Team A, but EVERYONE knows that sooner or later he’ll be playing for Team B, it’s just a matter of time. I really don’t like it to be honest! I would almost rather him leave now (controversial, I know!), just so we could get it over and done with instead of drawing it out. Let him have a fantastic World Cup, push up the transfer price, and take the ¿50m I’m hoping for. I’m not being entirely serious, but it’s just something to think about. Fabregas wouldn’t even be guaranteed a spot in the starting XI at Barca, and he’s got everything at Arsenal – a free role on the pitch, the captaincy, and winning games with beautiful football! I reckon he’ll be on his way in either 2011 or 2012 (regardless of any trophies we’ve won – fingers crossed!) and hopefully Ramsey and co. will have developed enough to steady the ship. I’ve got big hopes for Ramsey, this kid will be INCREDIBLE, I can’t stress that enough! But for now, Cesc stays, and hopefully his purple patch will continue for a while to come! Cheers

  30. Davi – I maintain the controversy about Diaby has nothing to do with his overall contribution to the team but rather the inherent bias and prejuidices of the average fan. Despite the stats to the contrary, how else can you explain your damning description that he appears “disinterested.” Most managers would give their eye teeth for a player with success rates of over 90% in tackling and over 80% in pass attempts. By the way Davi, unlike many of our self-proclaimed super-supporter, you don’t go to the extremes of ASNLthruNthru who has the gall to say “Diab-ollical is mediocre at best.” Quite apart from the fact that Wenger would never put a mediocre player on the field, this is another of the so-called supporter who simply repeats the tabloid nonsense about our young players despite being proven wrong over and over again.

  31. Myles Palmer noted that Arsenal last season were guilty of too much possession. And Ronald Koeman agreed. We keep the ball too much.

    Diaby is Wenger’s counter-intuitive masterstroke.
    A player who gives the ball away, creating uncertainty
    in the opposition and breaking up our pattern of play.

    60 goals in 20 games can’t be wrong!!

    Joking aside……what’s wrong with Diaby?
    He looks like a utility player who Wenger is
    preparing for cover as Song.

    He goes past players – nice.

  32. Diaby for me is in a make or break season, bearing in mind the competition for midfield places.

    He has just had what must be his longest run in the team without injury. On top of that he has had some games in his more natural CM area. His best role would probably be what Cesc does.

    Overall I would say he has done ok to well. He had a mare of a middle part of the Spuds’ game but to be fair he did not hide & was looking to be involved when it just wasn’t going right for him. He followed that with being one of our best players against AZ.

    I was at Wolves & he was doing his bit to wear down the early energy that they couldn’t extend.

    He is still a combination of the sublime & the ridiculous but I think the best of him is still to come, provided he can stay off the treatment table.

    I can see him in the RVP role if we pick up any more injuries in that area.

    This is a bit of a doomers topic though.

  33. The reason many fans slate Diaby lies in the stats: 418 passes to Cesc’s 536 or Song’s 500. He passes less and slows down the play. However, in truth, we need someone who can do that because it adds a dimension to our play. Diaby has immense potential. However, with everyone fit, I’d rather have Denilson, simply because when we get so many dodgy decisions against us, we need somebody who does not have to make a tackle to get the ball back and Deni is the best interceptor in the league.

  34. To above, your not looking at minutes played. I think the complex a lot of gooners have is that were spoilt for choice with talent, even if someones a good player, theyre still not as good as the others apparently, diaby is greatplayer to have in the squad no doubt about it. The thing is we dont need to rely on anyone player any more. United rely on rooney (and an extra 6 minutes at the end of a game)Chelsea,Terry and Drogba, Liverpool torres and gerrard. I hope we can dispell both myths about relying on one player and not having strength in depth by carrying on consistently who ever is injured, with van persie out, this is perfect to prove yet even more critics, pundits, people who call themselves journalists but come up with more fiction than stephen king, wrong!… I really dont understand a lot of arsenal fans, either im disillusioned or more plausibly they are….

  35. I suppose it was predictable that we would get some contributors who would go against both The Lord Wenger’s choices and the statistics, but I am sorry that they monopolised the debate.

    At the start of the season I had Song and Denilson as my choice for DM, with my other midfielders being 1) Cesc, 2) Rosicky, 3) Nasri, 4) Diaby and 5) Ramsey. It seems that TLW has decided that Rosicky and Nasri are better utilised further forward.

    I have always thought of Diaby as a very offensive option, but the statistics tell a different story. I would like to suggest the following for the midfield. 1) We will play Song, Cesc and Denilson when we want a more defensive line up. 2) We will play Song or Denilson, Cesc and Rosicky or Nasri when we want to be at our most offensive. 3) We will play Song or Denilson, Cesc and Diaby for something in between.

    It will be interesting to see where Ramsey plays in the CC. If he successful behind Wilshere and Merida, then he will provide solid backup during the ACN.

  36. It was mentioned earlier that Diaby “looks like a utility player who Wenger is preparing for cover as Song.”

    Now whether or not he is being groomed for the holding midfield position during the ACN is not really the point. The point is that he’s a utility player. I don’t think you would find a single arsenal fan that would have him in the starting XI of a fully fit squad and not many would put him on the bench of 7. He does however provide a lot of flexibility in the same way Eboue does.

    I think there was a time 2/3 seasons ago when he looked like he could get games and push for a first choice slot but injuries have been harsh on him and other players have stepped up to the plate and look better options. I know he’s still quite young and he could still prove us all wrong but even if he doesn’t and he remains a squad player, what’s wrong with that? He does a job (a good one if the stats are to be believed) and could potentially play in any of the front 6 positions of our formation. That is fantastic for a utility player and surely he’ll be on pretty average wages.

    Compare him to someone like a Lucas at Liverpool, a Nani or a 35 year old Scoles and Man Utd or an Obi Mikel at Chelsea and he looks at least on-par as a player to turn to when some of the first XI are unavailable. I think some fans are far too harsh on the guy.

  37. Most of the stick Diaby gets is uninformed BS.

    Best example: After the Wolves game, Ramsey and Song got universal acclaim while Diaby was vilified. Most Arsenal bloggers, and commenters on their blogs said it’d been shown that Diaby can’t play the holding midfield role as he had been poor against Wolves. Only problem is that Diaby didn’t play holding midfield on that day, Ramsey did. yet, people said Ramsey was fantastic, while Diaby was rubbished for a role he didn’t perform.

    Second best example: The widely expressed opinion that Diaby contributes nothing to the team defensively, whereas I check the stats after every game, using Guardian chalkboards, and in every single game he won the ball more than any other midfielder playing with or against him.

    It’s madness!

    Moral of the story:

    1. People are sheep and like to get on bandwagons.
    2. People hate to challenge their own biases.

  38. t00farg0ne,

    Who cares what fans think. Wenger thankfully is intelligent to realise his true contributions and has retained him as a sure starter, a position he retains on merit.

  39. Some midfielders give the ball away more than others and in different areas of the pitch. Cesc, when he gives the ball away, tends to be in attacking areas of the pitch therefore gets the benefit of the doubt for “trying something” while Diaby tends to screw up in his own half more often, thereby incurring the absolute wrath of fans everywhere. And yet if Diaby simply wellied the ball out of his own congested half, then he’d be criticized for not being able to play within AW’s system.

    But you compare Diaby to midfielders like Cana and Palacios, who are truly atrocious passers of the ball, and you start getting a different picture of Diaby. We tend to compare Diaby to Vieira, which is unfortunate. It is like comparing any Argentinian player to Maradona. The comparison is always going to be uneven. Vieira was a giant. At his best he was one of the finest midfielders I have seen in my lifetime.

    Diaby has loads of faults but he is nowhere near the “poor” player some try to make him out to be. He is yet another of our young, improving, but hugely talented players that NEED GAMES in order that we can see if they are going to make the final step up or not. He may not make that step up. But we wont know on the basis of 5-10 games, or even 15-20 games. We will only know after a full season of playing regularly.

    Also, that comment above about Myles Palmer (who certainly spouts some real BS) saying we had TOO MUCH possesion and kept the ball too much last season. That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard in my lifetime. The biggest problem we had last season was that we COULDN’T keep the ball enough because our midfield was so young and inexperienced. Song was struggling, Denilson could only pass sideways, Cesc was missing for half the season, we just didnt have any midfield last year. Now with people fitter and with Song, Denilson, Diaby and Ramsey having improved naturally, we are starting to be able to control possession again, something we struggled mightily to do last year. I cannot see how anyone could say our problem last year was “too much possession”!!!

  40. Every player has faults. I love Cesc Fabregas and think he’s a midfield genius.

    People say Xavi Hernandez is the best in the world. I say Cesc is a better footballer than Xavi.

    But Cesc’s defending is slightly below average.

    But we rightly don’t get on his back for it.

    Otherwise it would be perfectly easy to moan everytime he fails to track back, doesn’t make a good defensive header, is out of position, fails to even make a challenge…etc

    It’s the same with Diaby.

    Diaby frustrates my cat. Kitty will be all happy on the settee watching the game. Diaby will dribble into a dead-end that it was obvious to all he couldn’t get past. I’d curse under my breath.

    But unlike some extremists, I see that what he does do right, which is 97% of what he does, is outstanding. When he is poor he looks like an idiot. And when he doesn’t turn up for a game-something he’s unfortunately prone to every say 30 games, he looks like a mug.

    But he’s in the team on merit. I think the only player who would keep him out of the team is Denilson. I even suspect Wenger will rotate Song and Denilson and keep Diaby in. That’s how highly Arsene rates him.

    Not hard to see why: 6 ft 3, endless stamina, pace, power, can tackle, can head, can shoot with both feet and can play 5 positions.

    You’d really be very spiteful of your face to bite offf your nose by keeping Diaby out.

    Something a lot of people don’t consider or maybe don’t know is that Diaby is getting his longest run in any team in his career right now. People think he’s been at Arsenal a long time, he’s had his chance. No he has not. He started, had the 8 months when he was knocked out, and then subsequently was injured every few games. It’s very hard to develop if you can’t get a string of games-even a string of reserve games.

    You can’t expect a player like that to just instantly get into the flow and dynamics of team play. It takes games. After 50 games as a starter, he’d be avoiding his brain-dead dribbles like second nature.

  41. End of the day, theres no point in criticizing him, it will only have a negative effect, i remember an interview this summer with diaby, and he said he was going to put the work in to become a more complete player, this year he has looked solid, the own goal against united could have come off ANYBODY, wrong place wrong time, you rarely get the rub of the green at old trafford anyway, no biggy. I can definitely see improvement from him this season, hes skilful, and the ball stickes to his feet against all odds sometimes, yes theres aspects of his game that arent great, but its the same with any player!! Everyone knows Beckham couldnt tackle or head, henry was known for being below par headering, but the point is they didnt need to, they developed thier game to thier strengths, if he can avoid injury, diaby will be a monster this season.

    As someone else pointed out on another blog, this season we are just replacing all criticisms of Song/Eboue with “diaby” its harsh, why support a club if you cant support the players!!

  42. @Shotta-gunna – I agree the majority of fans jump on the bandwagon when attacking players. It starts when they want to scape-goat players. Nobody thought diaby was playing too poorly this year until the Man Utd game – a game he actually played very well in – but once he scored the own goal, the criticism he has received has just snowballed. Himself and eboue were essentially blamed for our draw with west ham when eboue was probably our best player or one of our best, and diaby had a decent game
    I would be careful in saying the stats prove he doesnt *look* disinterested at times. As I said before, there is some merit in having stats like that, and I was aware before this article they are very high, but you have to believe what you see as well. There are times when he doesnt seem to want to pressure the opponent, and it is is frustrating – that to me, is the worst characteristic of his play, because when he does pressure the ball he is a top player

    In spite of having that high pass success %, he does mis-place some passes without any pressure being on him – I think that is where you have a point about fans getting on his back, because every player does it. Henry used to do it all the time, and arshavin does now too! The thing is, it is felt more when the less liked players like diaby and eboue misplace a pass unfortunately.

  43. “I don’t think you would find a single arsenal fan that would have him in the starting XI of a fully fit squad and not many would put him on the bench of 7.”

    Speak for yourself. Just because you cannot see the worth of a player it doesn’t mean others don’t.

  44. Arsenal fans seem to just need to have a boo boy, someone to blame for their favourite players failure to win a game, if we lose or draw, heaven forbid that Arshavin, Cesc, Van Persie, Nasri etc played poorly or missed chances or made a mistake that gave away a goal, so its easier to blame Diaby, Eboue, Bendtner, even Walcott no matter how they actually played.
    Bendtner is getting less stick this season not because he is playing any better than last season cos he played well last season most of the time, but this season the Adebadwhore fans of last season do not now he is gone feel the need to lambast Nik cos if NB is in the team this season its not at the expence of their favourite, so now this season Diaby is getting more stick cos someone has to get. This is not a new phenomanon at Arsenal, way back in the early 70’s a fine home grown player Jon Sammels was hounded out of the club cos boo boys decided he was keeping Charlie George or some other favourite out of the side, then in the early 80’s a young lee chapman was destroyed by Arsenal fans, don’t forget big Niall Quinn in the late 80’s and early 90’s, for some he could do no right, there have been many more too but these 3 went on to other clubs and have fine careers at clubs where the fans supported them. I fear that some will not be happy till they have done the same to Diaby

  45. eduardo – got to disagree on walcott.
    Hes one of the favourites. Rewarded with a 60K pw contract WAY before his time. Is able to simply walk back into the 1st team after injury despite never actually proving himself on a consistent basis, as though hes one of our big stars like cesc or van persie. He plays well probably one game in 6 or 7, and when he doesnt play well, hes really awful. His signing has also held back imo better young players like vela, bendtner & merida.

  46. @don’t believe the hype

    I think you misunderstood my point. I like Diaby and in certain games he’s definitely useful but would he really get into anyone’s first eleven given the choice of three from Cesc, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Rosicky. At the present time he would not but that’s not to say that he won’t someday, given the chances that particularly Song and Denilson had last season.

    My point was that at present he is just a squad player and given the current injuries he’s getting in a good run of games. Some fans do however seem to expect that he should jump straight into the team and perform just as well as Song or Denilson. I think he’s a great utility player with some fantastic attributes but needs much more of a run in the team to be considered for many fan’s first eleven. It is very unrealistic and unfair to expect this of him. If he was at the level that these fans seem to expect, he’d be starting every game.

  47. Dont belive the hype ;in response to your query ,I now realise I was the first to use the R word.In my defense ,when I was going thru the article
    [a very fine one at that],I felt some of the follow up comments posted were implying that people who critised Diaby were prejudiced and had blinkers on.If I have offended anyone -my sincere apologies.I love this club and its players and want only the entire squad to play to their undeniable potential and be world beaters.

  48. Diaby is a great player, he playes for the Arsenal with the blessing of our greatest ever manager NUFF SAID!!!!

  49. mannone,
    clichy, gallas, vermarlin, eboue
    arshavin,fabregas,nasri,song, diaby
    van persie

    allumina,gibbs,denilson,bentner,rosisky,vela,(silvester-by unfortunate defult)

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