Diaby’s Importance

Diaby

On forums and blogs I have constantly read fans criticising Diaby’s performances this season as inconsistent, lazy and lightweight. However, in my eyes, people have taken Diaby’s role in the side for granted and on Saturday I believe we actually missed his presence in midfield.

Diaby has made 16 appearances this season and only William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen have made more. For Diaby this is quite an achievement and for those fans who demanded that he get a run of games under his belt and that seems to have gone unnoticed. Over the summer break it was reported that while others were away sunning themselves, Diaby went to France to undertake physical training to prepare himself for this season. Injuries are mostly through no fault of the player and it annoys me when fans condemn players for this. Diaby decided he had enough and made that extra effort to try and put a halt to these injuries. Many players would never give up their summer holiday to do this, so hats off to Abou.

Not many have benefited more from Wenger’s new 4-3-3 formation than Diaby. With Fabregas a certain pick, it was always going to be tough for Diaby to force his way into the side in a 4-4-2. He is not the defensive player needed to protect the defence and he does not carry the potency of Cesc to oust him from the side. However, Diaby is currently proving that he can provide something different to the side alongside both Fabregas and Song. Diaby has settled into the central position well and despite some weak performances, has scored 4 goals from midfield and added a lot to the side; things that seemingly were not obvious until Saturday.

In the Premier League it is crucial to dominate central midfield. Although Song is doing an awesome job in front of the centre backs, Diaby is able to cover ground quickly and hassle opponents higher up the pitch, thereby allowing Cesc to do his thing in more dangerous positions. He is also able to carry the ball forward at a good pace and with directness only a few of our players have. For a big guy his control is fantastic and he is often able to glide past players with ease. Sometimes it takes someone to take the risk of trying to force the play high up the pitch. On Saturday, most people will have noticed Song and Vermaelen trying to drive out of the back with the ball. Diaby has often done this from midfield and we missed this side to our game.

There is no doubt that Fabregas is the biggest threat in our side when he has the ball. Often though, teams are able to close him down quickly in numbers and stifle some of his threat. When Diaby is playing, his ability to cause problems in the final third often causes teams to be more cautious in their pressing. Cesc only needs half a yard to make the crucial pass but on Saturday he was not granted one iota. This was mainly due to the fact that there was no one alongside him who was prepared to try and force the issue.

Ramsey was on top of our skipper on too many occasions and this was probably the reason why Ramsey was withdrawn very early compared to Wenger’s normal policy on subs. Diaby provides Fabregas with an option that he does not get from any other of the midfield options. He is able to hold the ball and draw defenders and midfielders to him. Sometimes it is easy to just praise Fabregas for his assists but Diaby has played a part. Too often on Saturday, Cana and Henderson were able to double up on Fabregas because they believed there was no threat running from midfield. However good Cesc might be, if teams know that if he can get the ball to a team mate who has the ability to run at pace at the defence, they will not all make attempts to stifle Cesc.

Another aspect of Diaby’s game that I reckon is more obvious to the fans is his influence on counter attacks. This season two of his goals have come from blistering counter attacks. Often Diaby breaks from deeper than the other players involved and he breaks with great pace. He is able to take one stride to most people’s two and this enables him to explode away from chasing defenders. We did not take the few opportunities we had on Saturday to counter quickly and I fear this was because too few players showed the desire to take advantage in the same way Diaby has.

Much of the criticism directed towards Diaby has been his inability to perform consistently week in week out. We must remember that he had not had a run of games in the first team for the last couple of years and suddenly producing on a regular basis can take time to get used to. Diaby has a real presence in this side and in the English game that is now so important. Having athletes that can provide a physical strength is crucial and as the current Arsenal squad is quite lightweight and small, Wenger acknowledges the role Diaby has to play. This season I have seen Diaby show the ability to bully opposition midfielders which we have not seen for a long time.

Many fans were not expecting Diaby to be the man to play alongside Cesc and Song this season. Some thought Nasri would be the choice, or even Denilson but Diaby has come in after their injuries and offered something the others do not. If he can continue where he left off once he returns from his brief injury, I think he can continue to add the things that many will not have seen this season.

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  • james

    great article glad to know some fans still have faith in Diaby as he will prove allot of his critics wrong.I do agree Cesc is a better player when Diaby’s in the side.

  • dafab

    diaby is vulnerable for grand errors that would make you big price when playing with the likes of chealse as he did last season on fa cup clash. denilson is far better in such a tight game as we have seen him list year when we defeat MU and CHEALSE even at the draw against liverpool at emerates he has plyed like 2 man in the middle after fabrigas wasinjured and adebayor was sent off. so the least i expect from sunday game is a draw because of RVP’s absence and if we loose that would be because of aluminia.

  • Remi

    LOL So Diaby is good because he’s a distraction? Thats the feeling i got from you’re article Josh

  • brdgunner

    Interesting article. I do like him more this year. I think Denilson is the main man for the third role in midifield. However, Having Diaby for games like Sunderland is pivitol to winning titles. We have grown into a very good squad.

    THhnk you Arsene Wenger.

  • Derek Burke

    Ya , great article. i totally agree with this. Diaby is a fantastic player. its like all the talk about makalele when he was at madrid. no one really paid any real attention to him . but without him in the side madrid were only decent. diaby is similar but with more off a threst. we will definetely miss him this weekend and we have missed him the last few games as well. You can see it in the performances the last few games. cesc didnt play great on tuesday . song has been star man all year in the team. diaby plays and cesc playa and scores. I hope diaby gets back soon. he is a big big loss.

  • baljit

    you are right

  • Goonerbeall

    Come on remi, you are not helping the debate by being like that. I have been a critic of Diaby but he is actually more than useful for our performance. More often than not he is a cornerstone for how we play. Like Denilson, he seems to give a lot more tothe makeup of our team and performance. I would love him upfront this weekend coz we may struggle.

  • Jere

    When Diaby is good, he is one of the best and he usually plays well for the whole game. It will be good if we can play him at the start. If he don’t perform, we can just swap him with Denilson in the second half… easy…

  • musher

    hmm.. Have you seen Diaby trying to dribble out of our own penalty box and lost possession? Have you seen him head the ball out of play when he was under no challenge? Have you seen how he lost his marker when we are defending dead ball situation? Have you seen how he scored own goals and missed a few times hitting our own poles? He, Diaby, can only perform well when we are leading and play counter attack football. Don’t ever trust him to defend or mark opponent. He is as fuck as could cost us a trophy this season with his stupid and brainless decision.

  • BIG DAN

    We have been waiting a long time for diaby to come good almost 4 years in fact.
    Arsenal should not be waiting 4 years for any one, He has had enough playing time to prove himself. Every time he gets his chance he comes up short…time to move on. Every one can see he’s got talent but you have to take your chance when it comes along. Sell him and bring in some one else.

  • alvares

    Very encouraging article.Diaby steps up when we least expect more so in tough games.The problem is when he is down he makes mistakes that costs the team.What we need from diaby is consistency like eg song,cesc,denilson.Otherwise as an arsenal player we love you man. keep up the fight
    FROM ALVARES BABU,KENYA

  • looneygooner

    You must be joking he has been at fault many a times this season with his failure to track back, give away free-kicks, he isn’t good enough and the reason we lost to Sunderland was because Wenger put the wrong team out, Arshavin should have started, it was the same error he did against Chelsea last season in the cup.Diaby is not the answer to our problem in midfield, hassling opponents up the field, never seen it, seen Diaby keep the ball too long, seen Diaby get beaten in the air too much, seen Diaby scored an own goal, the list is too long, he had a good run in the team but didn’t prove himself. as for the extra training in the summer, why does he still get knocked off the ball too much.

  • james mc daid

    pathetic,we are ARSENAL,he is and never will be good enough too play for us,this is just thickness on wengers part,move him on,a good championship player,thats all.

  • Hitman

    Diaby has many faults. BUT the shape of the team is better with him in midfield. Difficult to belive but Diaby gives us balance!
    We lost against Sunderland because we lacked height and bulk. Our only regular outfield players over 6 foot were missing -RVP & Diaby. Cheslki would much rather play against lightweights like Ramsey Rosicky & Denilson than a bid ump like Diaby. Until we buy anyone better Diaby should play.

  • voodoo priest

    too many of you goons have been too quick to gang up on their own too quick over the years..
    typical examples are eboue and song, i bet none of us will be happy to see song now if he was putting in these perfomances for some french or spanish team..patience people cos diaby with time will turn up with the consistency

  • Bellerophon86

    Diaby is a great player and has lots of potential, but thats not the point. All the players are good and have potential. There’s no way I’ll pick Diaby ahead of Denilson. What is his position in the team? Is he holding/attacking midfielder? He’s more effective further up the pitch but he’s forced to play deeper, which obviously will not highlight his strengths but rather hos weaknesses ie. constantly losing the ball by either a giving a loose pass or trying to dribble past 2/3 players. Diaby in full flight is amazing but in tight games Denilson is the safer bet

  • FCdeMatthew

    while it is nice to defend our players, he is one player i think not worth keeping. i have seen enough of him.

  • Durham Gooner

    Diaby’s talents are negated by his lack of intelligence. 😐 At times his decision making lets him down meaning he puts himself under pressure. Due to his lack of positional sense he puts the team in difficulty.
    He IS talented though and still is deserves games!! He’s just dreadfully inconsistent. 🙄

  • TJ14

    Diaby certainly seems to split fans right down the middle. As a footballer, physically and technically, he has it all.

    It is between the ears that he is lacking at the moment. Awareness of what is around him, when to clear the ball, when to dribble, when to shoot.

    We need to persevere with him, as Wenger will be able to teach him this and game awareness usually comes by playing games. And he is a top, top player when it all comes together.

    Theo is in the same boat.

  • Phil

    Love the support for our players lads. I would like to see another 20 year old to suffer a dirty leg break and various other injuries and be able to perform to a high standard every week. Without a doubt diaby has weaknessess however if he is given time he has the skill to be a top player. Remember for at least 1 season he was a part time left winger. If you don’t have anythin positive to say don’t say anythin!

  • gazzap

    surely you mean Diaby’s impotence

  • Remi

    Sorry mate but thats what i got from reading the article.

  • herdee string

    Diaby is as meaningful as this blog. Enough said.

  • Bobsta

    I like the article. Diaby is an amazing talent. Supporters mustn’t forget the journey Diaby has gone through, with nearly a year of rehabilitation are a career threatening leg break. He was one of the players responsible for getting us into that Champions League final. He has struggled with confidence and fitness. There is also the question of whether he truly fits into the 4-3-3 formation. I’m on the fence, if he can get together he’ll be one of the world’s best otherwise he be out within year

  • Night Fung

    Spot on! Agree.

  • b

    YES we have seen him, and we base our analyzes on what happends ON the field. Maybe you need to go back to uni and learn how to analyze things properly. Its clear from my point of wiew you got no clue….

  • Lazzinho

    Great article! I really think people underestimate diaby. Within three years he will be a complete midfielder. He would propably had been that earlier if it wasnt for all his injuries in the past.

  • musher

    I really don’t understand why some of you guys can label Diaby as amazing talent, a great player. 1 of you can even suggested to give him 3 years to improve, excellent lol.

  • Abbey

    I’ll play Diaby ahead of Denilson any day.
    I don’t need any player that cannot be creative and always like to pass sideways. It’s easy to read Denilson’s pass. And please don’t tell me he’s got skills as I cannot see any for a Brazilian.
    At least Diaby always tries to dribble his way out of trouble. Surely He posses more threat than Denilson.

    If Nasri cannot play alongside Fab and Song, then it’s gotta be Diaby if he is fit.

    Ahead of the crunch game against Chelsea, our worries should be on Alumnia. He shouldn’t be our number 1. He has always disappointed in big matches. Too slow in distributing the ball. His thinking…uhmm. I can’t help feel he goes to sleep at times during matches

  • BIG DAN

    How much time do you give a player 4 years is to long for us to wait. Should we wait another 3 years dont make me laugh. Yeah as good as he is on his day and they dont happen to often we need to win something NOW.

  • Charles

    To me Diaby is not that bad considering the fact that he actually went on holiday training. the Work load is on song and we need someone else that can battle against chelsea maybe Denilson. at times Diaby makes some clumsy mistakes and it really cost us. Against ManU. Own goal so disappointing. Against ManCity. He was struggling with rosicky instead of dropping back to defend the counter attacks. Against Sunderland….
    Now Denilson back, we were less pressured in the defence cuz of song and Denilson’s combination in their interplay.

  • georgiosss

    8) abou is a great player, give him his chance like clichy, song, sagna,alminia,etc
    one day we will compare it like t.henry but we will be so sorry to see him go to real madrid/barcelone

  • ArsenalFan

    All of you that have something against Diaby are retards!!! You saw what happened to us against Sunderland!! And it would’ve happen more often if it weren’t for Diaby

  • Durham Gooner

    Nonsense Phil, we have to be able to voice an opinion as long as it’s constructive and measured.

  • WillyG

    Thank God Diaby did not play against Sunderland, or else they would have scored more goals against us. Diaby is lazy and has no football intelligence. Diaby’s supporters are retards.

  • dude

    Great Article. Diaby is young, talented, and promising, and will certainly only get better. To the people in this blog that use last years performances to claim he cant handle the pressure…haha..what a stupid argument. Imagine if we were all the same as we were in grade school. People change..skills are honed-this takes time and experience-“we shouldnt play fabregas bc of he didnt control the midfield very well 4 seasons ago”…o wait…hes gotten a lot better.
    And Regardless of a players ability, if fans overly admonish players for everything they do, this destroys confidence and cripples performances-so if anything youre only adding on to weak spots players are already aware of and trying to improve upon. This isnt to say u cant or shouldnt express concerns or constructive criticisms, but there is a line that if crossed moves into negative and destructive criticism.

    Lets go Arsenal
    Lets go Diaby.

  • barry the gooner

    agree 100% with musher his mistakes cost us big time

  • Eddie Yak

    Diaby is technically a very sound player BUT unless he take hold of his abilities he will always be on the fringes of football greats. His concentration and committment is way off his technical prowess. He is a man with the right weapon but unable to shoot straight. It is all in his mind and unless he rid himself of the monkey on his back he will never be as good as his talent. Take a look at your teammate, Song, then you will understand !

  • SubwaySteve

    Rubbish. Diaby is a technically excellent player, but his intelligence is severely lacking. The number of times I throw my hands up when, after using fantastic skill to go past a man, all he’s done is manage to turn 1 defender into 2 or 3, and the move breaks down. Then we’re left scrambling to get back and cover. In terms of a central, attacking midfield role, Rosicky and Nasri both look far superior in creating and providing, and thus far more dangerous. And they both work better off Cesc. Diaby does not strengthen the team when he plays, and I disagree that he offers something different that is an improvement on any other options. Cesc-Song and any of Denilson, Nasri or Rosicky is better than having him on the park.

    After more than 100 games, to still be debating his value, surely that should be the answer? He’d be a vastly important player for a mid-table team pushing to improve, or perhaps in a league where technical players are allowed more time on the ball, and he should go to one of them. He’s an Arsenal liability.

  • Frudicus

    Mornin all

    I must say I i get why you wrote this article.

    I used to back Diaby and always defend him, but i think enough is enough. Denilson is by far the more consistent of the two, and i think he is a much more intelligent player. There is a lack of balance i feel when Diaby plays, but when Denilson plays he offers good defensive awareness and generally makes the right decisions.

    I always thought that after a run of games Diaby would start being more consistent but it just hasn’t happened.

    So for me i think Denilson should get the nod. He and Song have proved that they not only have potential but they have consistency and intelligence. Diaby has the potential but lacks consistency and intelligance. Don’t get me wrong I would love to see him succeed at Arsenal but im really starting to doubt that its going to happen.

  • Franny

    120 odd appearances with 5 brilliant games and 115 utter tripe.

    There are times when someone just doesn’t cut the mustard and 120 appearances is more than enough opportunities. We are The Arsenal. Not a club that should be constantly developing. If this is to be our season; we need players that are ready NOW not players who need 8 games in a row to finally produce something.

    That game against the spuds was the worst performance I have seen from a midfielder in a long long time.

    It’s time to just let him go and move on with players who are developing quicker such as Ramsey and even Denilson. Oh how I slated you Denilson and how I regret it now that I realise you’re twice the player Diaby is.

  • ryan

    i like diaby but how any of you can say he should go in ahead of denilson is ridiculous, i can only assume that because he’s only just back from injury, you have forgetten how good denilson is. For the best part of last season, denilson was slagged off but he stood in for fabregas for almost 4 months and was exceptional, few people know that denilson was fifth best midfielder in the premiership behind lampard, gerrard, ballack and ronaldo according to carling opta. Diaby has potential yes, he has talent, yes. but surely the fact we’re still undecided says something? He makes silly mistakes all the time and quite often will be pretty ordinary throughout a home game until the end where he’ll do somethig and we all forget about the last 80minutes. I like diaby but better than denilson? no chance.

  • Gavin

    We were better at the start of the season with triumvirate of Denilson, Cesc and Song. You will see against chelsea. Missed Diaby at sunderland pfff

  • Ginger gooner

    Bobsta you cock (not personal) Diaby did nothing to get us to the Champions League Final his greatest half game for Arsenal was the Carling Cup Final.He should probably moved as Wenger likes to say he’s killing Wilshire Ramsey, Eastmand & Emmanuel -Thomas who are all better than him but not French

  • Raj

    To me, he’ll always deserve a place just for knocking John Terry’s head in! 😀

  • Tony.C

    What a load of tripe! Diaby is the most brain dead footballer I have ever seen. Technically gifted, but guaranteed to make serious errors in 80% of games. A complete liability, he should be nowhere near the Arsenal first team.

  • deeecee

    At last someone that understands the impact a team and not just individuals!!! I agree that Diaby does make mistakes, but tell me a play that doesn’t. But his contribution to the team and the way he plays makes us more of a team. Fact! Denilson is not as good as Diaby in attack and not as good as Song in breaking up play. Diaby fits perfectly between Song and Cesc. This balance and team and not individuals and you will see. It is no coincidence that we have played awsome with him in the team because it means the team is more balanced and Cesc and Arsharvin can focus on attack. Having played football are semi pro level, I see the fit perfectly. How many doubter actually play the game at a decent level???

  • joe

    Diaby is very occassionally good for fleating moments, the rest of the time he’s pure shit. He’s a player that wenger is too stubborn to admit is crap and has been waisting his time on.