Diaby returns along with Arteta, Wilshere and Debuchy

By Tony Attwood

The cynics have written him off time and time again.  Indeed the ever gloomy Daily Telegraph wrote on 22 January 2015: Abou Diaby looks to have played last game.

And it needed some faith to think he could return after so many injuries.  The Daily Mail had told us on 5 December he would get a new contract if fit, and on 15 March this year he returned to light training.  So we all hoped that we might finally see this prodigious talent play for Arsenal regularly.

And now, aged 28, here he is again playing in a match that ended Arsenal XI 4 Brentford 0, with goals from Wilshere (7), Crowley (19), Iwobi (21, 37)

It all happened on Tuesday 31 March 2015.  It is a date to add to the Anniversary files that we run every day on the home page.

Not only was it a return for Abou but it also meant the return for Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Debuchy.   The Arsenal January signing, just back from international duty, Krystian Bielik, also played.

As you might expect Arteta, Wilshere and Diaby all came off at half time.  Debuchy and Flamini lasted an hour.

It is also worth noting who played in the team alongside the old men for these are players who are clearly working their way up in the world.

Arsenal.com have kindly given us a report:

For the first goal…

Flamini latched on to Diaby’s lay-off and powered a deflected strike towards goal. Jack Bonham could only parry it as far as Wilshere who shifted the ball on to his left foot and curled into the top corner.

For the second goal…

Wilshere played a quick one-two on the edge of the box with Crowley and the teenager fired under Bonham to double the hosts’ advantage.

For the third and fourth….

Iwobi tricked his way into the box and found the far corner with a low strike, before racing on to Diaby’s clever pass to score again 16 minutes later.

Here is the Arsenal team…


Debuchy (Maitland-Niles, 60), Bielik (Sheaf, 66), O’Connor, Ormonde-Ottewill (Bola, 46),

Flamini (Eyoma, 66), Arteta (Zelalem, 46), Diaby (Willock, 46), Wilshere (Mavididi, 46),

Crowley (Dobson, 46), Iwobi (Lipman, 68)

Some names to consider, aside from the obvious:

Maitland-Niles: On 9 December 2014, made his professional début aged 17 years 102 days in the Champions League match against Galatasaray, replacing Aaron Ramsey at half time.  

Sheaf: Obviously has a brain screwed onto his shoulders.  Turned down a contract with West Ham and signed for Arsenal.

O’Connor joined from Palace, played in the Uefa Youth League and signed as a pro last year.  Made his début for Arsenal in the Galatasaray game replacing Mathieu Debuchy with 13 minutes to play.

Ormonde-Ottewill is an under 21 regular at left back who has trained with the first team.

Willock: first seen by many of us playing 45 minutes against Boreham Wood as a winger / attacking midfielder.

Crowley: captain of the under 18s, had the Daily Mail raving over him in January, there’s an article about him on the FA web site, and even Arsenal.com called his first season “stellar.”

Iwobi is a winger who managed to play for all three academy teams last season.  Also played for England at under 16, 17 and 18.

Of course we know they won’t all make it at Arsenal, but there’s a fair old chance some of them will.

But most of all, those long term injuries look to be coming to an end.  How on earth will we fit them all in?


Follow us on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

And another anniversary…

31 March 2001: David Rocastle died.  Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0, the first goal scored by Pires wearing, as always, number 7.

41 Replies to “Diaby returns along with Arteta, Wilshere and Debuchy”

  1. Yes come on Diaby get fit so we can get a better price for him. Use his wages to pay for a player that contributes something.

  2. I think we are protecting him to let his injuries heal properly. Hope he has strengthened up and raring to go. Players they will target him for sure, and Arsenal needs to make some noise, Untold surely will, when Diaby returns to get the level of protection from refs.

    I would like to see him play/available a full season.

  3. Fabulous news. I’d like to see Diaby stay and play for us and not leave. People tend to forget the Dutch skunk was mostly injured for 7 of the 8 seasons he was with us, then left after the one full season he managed with us to join our rivals. Rosicky went for nearly two seasons injured but look how he’s now rewarding the faith shown in him by the club.

  4. Finsbury,

    Before you make such nasty comments, just have a thought for the player and what he has gone through.
    I still believe a fully fit Abou Diaby is worth his shirt and the support of all true gooners.
    Welcome back Abou, your courage and persistance is to be admired. Please keep fit and prove the knockers wrong.

  5. @Tony,
    Thanks for the update great to see the players getting healthier, especially Diaby!

    @Finsbury Boy,
    That comment is wrong on multiple levels. People have too short a memory now a days. When healthy Diaby is a great asset to the club and has been a model professional that suffered due to horrible tackles. I think he’ll come back as a great squad player and can possibly even transition to a deeper position. Here’s a reminder of his skills:


  6. Ken & Jerry
    I think Finsbury is being sarcastic. I had a very long exchange with him a while back ( under another name ), and he was very supportive of Diaby.

  7. I’m watching the England v Italy game and our right back Clyne is very poor. Time for Jenkinson to step up.

  8. @Finsbury,
    I fully agree with you about Diaby, one of the bravest and most unfortunate players on Arsenal’s books.
    I only hope that his fully fitness can be maintained.
    Abou we have need of thee.

  9. @Tailgunner,
    I watched as well. I wouldn’t play Gibbs in any more games until he
    learnt that he has a right boot….and used it.

  10. @TailGunner, I usually agree with finsbury’s points, I wasn’t sure however about this post since it said Finsbury Boy, (capital F and added Boy compared to his usual finsbury in all lower cases)

  11. Nicky.

    The right boot thing really caught my eye today. A couple of times he was in situations where he could basically afford to play the ball right footed and mess it up – i.e no opposition anywhere near, teammate close, any mistake recoverable, no way you could get the simple pass so wrong as to create danger- but there is a total unwillingness to use the right foot.

    I can sympathise, in that I probably did the same thing hundreds and hundreds of times myself, and in pressure games/moments would be even more likely to do it, but I was an averagely-skilled amateur player and he’s a top professional. It’s hard to understand why he wouldn’t have worked on the right enough in training to allow him to play a quick-ish five or ten yard pass inside with no one around and no danger.

    Gotta think it’s too late now, but if I were a coach I’d work obsessively on competence with the wrong foot. Gibbs has a lot going for him as a player, but it looks downright awkward at times having to keep manipulating the ball exclusively for the left foot. Defending against him you can be 100 per cent certain it has to be the left and set yourself accordingly. Mind you, we don’t half have a tradition of very left-footed left backs. I’ll have to watch Monreal more intently to see how he compares.

  12. Jerry
    I agree with your earlier comments regarding Diaby at 8:52pm. You’re right, this isn’t the real Finsbury you thought it was, the one with Carzola on his avatar so no need to change your views there. This one called boy is an ‘imposter’, and don’t confuse the two. I can understand though why you thinking it’s the same person, after tailgunner leapt to this ‘imposter’s’ defence (isn’t it strange how tailgunner seems to be the only one who ‘knew’ that he was being sarcastic, and also how he knows it’s the same individual he had an argument with long ago under a different name? I may have had an argument on here with someone under a different name but how would I know it’s the same person if they changed their name to something else later on? If I changed my name to say something like Old Crow how would anyone else know it’s me tomorrow, unless I’m a site moderator who see the IP and email addresses?

    Talking about these individuals who feel the need to change their names, why do it? I’ve always been known as Al on here and will never change my identity. It’s who I feel I am, and it’d certainly feel weird talking to the same bloggers here under a different name. Just to demonstrate the importance of maintaining one’s identity, myself and a few other people here have been affected by a WordPress bug which for some reason starts rejecting all comments posted under our original emails. But instead of changing our names we changed our email addresses and maintained the same names. It’s who we are, and changing my identity would make me feel like I’m a fraud, for me. I certainly wouldn’t feel right engaging the same people and the site moderators under a different name. Coincidentally, the individuals that keep changing their names all seem to have one thing in common; they all seem to want the manager out, or in other words belong to the AAA. Nothing wrong with holding that opinion/view, if that’s what they believe in, but then why come on here and post under multiple and different pseudonyms, if you really believe in what you’re saying? And you get certain individuals who seem keen on always defending these individuals. It makes one wonder….

  13. Glad to see that the walking wounded are on the mend and on their way back. Would be happy to see Diaby play some part at this tail end of the season.

  14. 100% certain that Finsbury Boy has nothing to do with the Finsbury who posts so positively here. He would never write like that about a player.

  15. Is it true that Diaby will need to undergo another surgery as follow up on the last and may miss up to 7months?

  16. I just hope the ‘Diaby back from injury’ story isn’t an April fool as well (as left footed ball and wider goalposts)

  17. Jerry
    You’re right. I didn’t notice it was a different Finsbury. Probably not a fake one though, just someone using a similar name. And yes, as such his comments were in poor taste.

  18. @Rich,
    If only Gibbs could be coached to use his right boot at times, he would become world-class.
    He has the real ability to cut inside at speed ie moving to his right, towards goal and then is forced to turn away, transferring the ball on to his left boot.
    The attacking move then breaks down.
    Monreal can use both feet.

  19. not hopefull of Diaby coming good.He has been trying to overcome the injury for so many years now and if he cant put it right for so long I doubt he can compete at the highest level.
    I don’t think we should offer a new contract to him.

  20. @Al, Liked your post about the name change. I only went with the old real, not-exactly-distinctive name myself because my mind was too blank to come up with anything else on my first post and ,after that, figured i may as well stick with it as, even after just a few posts, it’d feel weird posting under another name.

    Also, hope you don’t mind me enjoying you falling for the April Fools thing. You’re not alone -I got done twice yesterday.

    Like to think I’m not too easily fooled, but I may have to reconsider given that I believed Anthony Taylor was Graham Taylor’s nephew (and had made comments criticising Arsenal) and, later, that Arsenal had agreed along with Liverpool to grant access to the changing room for a televised two-minutes captain’s speech. Oops.

    Both times I was all set to post on here decrying the situation and only twigged at the very last.

  21. Nicky,

    Gibbs was unfortunate in the respect that if there’s a solitary Arsenal player in an international match my eyes tend to be glued to them. He actually played quite well, but his one-footedness stood out to a remarkable degree when watching him as closely as I did. You’re painfully spot on about the way he has to turn down opportunities he has created by wheeling back around after cutting inside

    On the plus side, it provides a good opportunity to think of the little marvel that is Cazorla, as well as the fact Bellerin was able to look pretty damn comfortable when stuck in at left back before he’d even reached 10 appearances.

    Gibbs is far from alone. Many a time I’ve zoomed in on Gerrard’s play in internationals and thought he looks so much less fluid than people who have reasonable trust in their weaker foot. I think it goes some way to explaining why England often look as though they lack some sort of oil in their hinges and joints in big internationals : very few are strong on weaker foot and, under the international spotlight, they are more reluctant than normal to even try, which slows them down in possession and makes them predictable.

    I’ve noticed Ozil- clever man he is- using his right a bit more often for very simple passes (keep doing that and maybe one day you can make some difficult passes with that foot, or at the very least you’ll become more adept at using it to shift it onto your good foot), but his main genius is that he constantly looks to shift himself into a position which enables him to have a wide range of options when delivering on his left.

    Great to watch, and I can only think others aren’t able to play like that because they don’t have the combination of perfect control and perfect understanding of where to maneuver (cheers, spellcheck) themselves to open up their options.

    Bloddy hell, can’t wait for Saturday’s game now.

  22. Rich 10:31
    Don’t mind at all, still laughing about it and I think it’s one of the best fools jokes I’ve seen in ages 🙂 🙂
    Appears Tribal football fell for it too, and the Independent, although the latter added a footnote at the bottom saying in case anyone hasn’t noticed today is April the 1st (seems it was added as an afterthought to me) 🙂

  23. I think what is going to happen and is indeed already happening, is that players need to step up to the growing Arsenal, those that do not, will lose their place and end up probably leaving their home and starting over elsewhere.

    I hope Theo is just trying to get the best deal and is not seriously considering going elsewhere. He has not been as sharp lately, but mind you he has not played much at all.

    My perfect day on Sat would be:
    “Arsenal and Theo agree” is announced on Sat.
    Theo plays a blinder and a hat trick convincing us he is an Arsenal striker too.
    We beat pool 8-1.


  24. Thanks Tim/FH

    It’s true. like most people except for our expert troll above I find it hard to expose any dark tetrad tendencies when being critical of those who had more talent (at sports) then me.

    But on the football I think most who’ve seen him play know what a talent Diaby had. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that he covered a large chunk of his wages with the tricks and technique that Song and others learnt off him.

    As everyone knows the AAA have a proven record that exposes their, um, of the Fooball (How many years did they bang on about Melo!)

  25. When players from the lower leagues say “I got to play alongside Diaby!” who cares about the gibberish of trolls?

  26. Ha
    Surely has to be an april fools joke .Not just stating diabys back but people on here wanting him to get a new contract..80k a week whose having a laugh!!

  27. Statistics about Football

    The telegraph has an article with a bunch of statistics, I am just looking at one section of this.


    Player Shots
    Agüero 88
    Pellè 81

    Austin 65
    Lukaku 62
    Kane 61

    I have drawn a line in that list (it is not in article), as it may be of interest.

    What is this list of names and numbers? It is the number of shots on target in about 3/4 of a season. While somebody gets an award for most goals scored, there is no award for most shots on target. Hence, the first order of business is to see if there is any statistical difference between these numbers. Which is partly why I drew the line.

    How is the number of shots on target by Arsenal on Chelsea related to the number of shots on target by Arsenal on Crystal Palace? Arsenal is the constant here. Chelsea and Crystal Palace are quite different. I am going to suggested that aggregating data by 3/4 of a season is improper, and what is better is average shots per game.

    If we do this, we find Kane is at 2.03 shots per game, and Agüero is at 2.93 shots per game. Most of us are probably comfortable with the idea that it is likely that these numbers are all statistically the same.

    If the author of the article would have included 6 names, would you expect it reasonable for #6 to have 60 shots in 3/4 season? So what we really have, is a distribution of shots on net which runs into the mid 60’s. And we are expecting that getting 81 or 88 shots is unusual (an outlier).

    We are counting things, start with a Poisson distribution. We are drawing lots of 30 (that is how many games have been played) from a Poisson shot generator, which has an average of 2.07 shots per game (62 per 3/4 season).

    I did this for 100 players several times, and I get a nice smooth histogram. On one occasion I seen a maximum of 89.

    The biggest difference between my experiments and the article, is that the table from the newspaper is all 1 player at some number of shots, whereas my histogram is tending to be bell shaped with a maximum around 62. It seems likely the Poisson has too large a variance.

    The binomial distribution has a variance smaller than the Poisson. As I increase the number of trials and decrease the probability so as to keep an average of 2.07 shots per game, I see the histogram counts per channel drop, except for a narrow region less than 61.

    It still seems likely that there is no statistical difference between the number of shots on target for the 5 players.

  28. Saint – come back and tell us how you know Diaby, if offered a new contract, would be on £80,000 a week as opposed to a very basic salary plus a larger amount per game.

  29. It’s also a fallacy that he is costing us as a club as the insurance covers the wages, as he was a professional on our books when he got injured so would be covered.

    Hope he comes back from this, it’s a measure of the man that he has fought so hard and so long to even get back on the pitch yesterday, and what we need is that strength as a club to help us move on and up.

  30. Since being seriously injured Diaby has worked tirelessly to get back to fitness. He has so often been on the cusp of a return only to have it cruelly snatched away, time and time again.

    During this difficult time, Arsenal FC, and Wenger in particular, have steadfastly stood by there man.

    Personally I admire the sheer will and determination Diaby he has shown in his efforts to get back.

    But more than that, I am so proud of Arsenal and Wenger in particular, for the way they have stood by Diaby.

    In this cynical cash ruled World I think we have something to be very proud of.

    If the likes of Finsbury boy and Saint cant see it that way that’s there loss.

  31. @Jambug,
    Your comment about Diaby’s determination to fully recover and Arsenal’s loyalty in standing by him is to your great credit.
    It emphasises the reputation Arsenal FC has garnered throughout the world.

  32. Thanks nicky

    It’s just one of the reasons I love My Club and Wenger so much.

    I think anyone who questions the rights and wrongs of standing by injured players, and providing them with every possible means of support, are being very short sighted.

    To see just what can happen when a Club, and the football community as a whole, fall short in there ‘duty of care’ can I suggest reading ‘Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen’

    A very revealing and ultimately disturbing insight into just where catastrophic injury can lead.

    A sad sad story.

    I think Arsenals treatment of Diaby is proof that they have learnt lessons from this tragic story.

Comments are closed.