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Friday, December 26, 2008

Probably make or break time for the problematic Diaby

The suffering of the long term injury to Fabregas has fully exposed the risky nature of Arsene Wenger's decision not to bring in reinforcements to the central midfield area after the departures of Gilberto and Flamini.

For me the thought of Cesc sustaining a big injury was the 'thinkable unthinkable' - something to be aware of but only contemplate properly if it occured. Now that it has there is at least the consolation that it comes on the dawn of the opening of the transfer window and that it reinforces what is almost the uniform opinion - aside seemingly from Wenger who continues to speak with amazing optimism in press conferences - that we must buy at the earliest opportunity to strengthen out thin and young midfield area.

On Sunday it was Abou Diaby who came onto replace Cesc. Diaby came to Arsenal at the same time as Adebayor but due to injury and inconsistency of performance has not come close to replicating the impact of the Togolese striker. And although I really hesitate to do down an Arsenal player I struggle with deciding what Diaby sustainably brings to the Arsenal team.

He was bought as a CM but Wenger predominantly plays him on the wide left of midfield or rarely as a deep lying striker. These positions don't look to come naturally to Diaby - and I can't recall ever seeing a gangly player the size of Diaby be a success as a wide left midfielder, let alone one who can't produce left footed crosses.

My concerns about Diaby were reinforced significantly by an interview given by Arsene to the Arsenal website earlier this month - the transcript of which I read on the Gunnerblog site. I don't think he intended to effectively call Diaby a player lacking in footballing intelligence but unless you can persuade me otherwise it is hard not to escape that conclusion from this analysis:

Yes. He has all the ingredients; physical, technical - but at the moment, not tactical. I believe in his mind he is more an offensive player, not a defensive player. And that technical defensive awareness is more in Denilson, say, or Song at the moment. Diaby is more interested in going forward and making a difference going forward… but we try to develop that in him and he has the ingredients to become a central midfielder.

How do you develop that in him?

By working on it, he’s conscious of that… but I believe also you have to choose a position for a player where he feels completely comfortable and is suited to his psychological profile… and if you place somebody against his deep desire, he can never be completely himself.

Actually, reading these words again it appears that Wenger is losing patience with a player who is unable to adapt to his planned role despite being at the club now for three years.

Diaby has shown great strength in coming back from a broken, dislocated ankle and has the talent to be a good player. But I have long considered that he has a problem with consistency of performance and it looks from these recent words from Wenger that it stems from a lack of effort to apply himself to the significant defensive aspect of being a good all-round central midfielder.

I find this issue concerning and Wenger's words belies his statement earlier this week that he is content with the 'internal solutions' he has to replacing Cesc over the next four months. For if Diaby is unuited to a CM role at present because of tactical deficiencies that are proving difficult to iron out than surely Wenger is not envisaging Song and Denilson play every league and cup game for the rest of the season. This simply is not a good or even reasonable soultion.

For me this is make or break time for Diaby - and I think Wenger is probably viewing this particular situation in the same way. If he can't raise his game and apply himself tactically and performance-wise at a time when we are bereft of other options than I believe he never will at Arsenal.

I hope the young Frenchman makes it - but I need to see some consistent and quality performances in the next couple of months to overcome my concerns about his ability to achieve the needed Arsenal level.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's useless. Pathetic player. The only player worse in midfield than Eboue!

12/26/2008 12:29 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Arsenal over the seasons has experienced serious injuries in Eduardo and Diaby, Walcott and now of a less serious but equally inconvenient one to Fabregas. Not too long ago there was the contemplation of who would be captain in the wake of Gallasgate, where the eventual award went to the Spaniard. Now it appears to be heading towards another in Almunia.

It's a difficult time, I imagine, right now being a Gooner fan. Eduardo, Rosicky, Fabregas, Walcott out and seemingly fighting to get back into the top 4 places, much less punching for the title. There are four months ahead for them to make way so there is still some fuel in the tank to go. Liverpool, Man Utd, Fulham have drawn at Villa Park thus far to my knowledge. Could be the kind of game to bring Diaby out into when the boss needs him the most. Mentally.


12/26/2008 12:47 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

watch the carling cup final against chelsea again and then say that diaby has nothing to offer.

he dominated a full strength chelsea midfield that day.

he's got special performances in him.

denilson has never ever shown match-dominating talent.

12/26/2008 12:48 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the last guy. Wow he put in a good performance almost 2 years ago and since then against Fenerbache when everybody played well.

Otherwise every other performance has been complete shit. 2 out of 40 chances taken show how crap he is.

Get rid of this useless chump.

12/26/2008 1:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diaby, song and the only player from brazil who cant pass. they all shit!!!!!
Worst midfield in wengers time. He should wake up and sort it out.

12/26/2008 1:30 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only player from Brazil who can't pass? He obviously started supporting Arsenal as a hobby 3 months ago. Denilson has a better pass success rate than Cesc and more assists. Is that good enough passing for you? Also, anyone who has seen Julio Baptista play will know that HE is truly the one who can't pass even though he is Brazilian.

Denilson has been asked to fulfil probably the most important position on the pitch - the holding midfielder. He is only 20 years old but has performed adequately to admirably.

Diaby reminds me of Joe Cole - dribbles past 3 players before giving it away. Beating 3 men before lashing over the bar. What we tend to forget is that Diaby is only 22 - he still has lots of time on his side.

I really don't understand fans who moan and bitch about Arsenal's youth policy. Can they not see that Arsene is playing a long term game? Fergie wants to retire in a couple years so he fought tooth and nail to keep Ronaldo, bought Berbatov and has a really expensive squad. He doesnt give a shit what happens to United once he is gone, he is only interested in his achievements. Arsene on the other hand built the club from bottom up - compared to 10 years ago the youth system, the training ground, the playing style and the stadium are unrecognisable. Whenever Arsene decides to leave, he will leave us in a very healthy state.

12/26/2008 3:18 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bolloxs we're sick of hearing how young the team is. It's boring!

12/26/2008 5:16 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Anonymous 12/26/2008 3:18 PM, These people (plastic, 14 year old fans) who constantly slate wenger should go support manure or chel$ki. Wenger has done more for arsenal than any other manager has done for probably any club in the world. We have an amazing stadium and a training complex envyed across the world. If you slate wenger you clearly have only been watching football for about 4 years at most. As for Diaby he DOES have the talent, but as forementioned he just needs to find that consistancy which can only come with a run of games. So while i wouldnt say this is make or break for him, i would rather say this is his chance. And as i watch this he just scored a wonderfull goal!!! (with help from eboue)

12/26/2008 6:25 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

diaby is a great player, don´t you remember the ucl game against liverpool, don´t put that bulshit in the blog, eboue is also a great player, so you all are wrong assholes

12/27/2008 3:36 am

Blogger T said...

Some good comments - thanks for that.

Great goal by Diaby yesterday - and a very committed all-round performance. He showed the best of his game - and he looks way better when moving down the centre rather than being confined to the left hand side.

With Adebayor due to return it will be interesting to see where Wenger will play Diaby against Portsmouth?

With Song out will Wenger attempt playing Diaby in a central midfield two? I would do this - and test Diaby while his confidence is up to play in what should be his principal position.

I disagree with criticism of Denilson - for me he is our player of the season so far. He brings energy, character and good commitment and the exposure he is getting to first team play this season will hold him and Arsenal in good stead over the the coming years. Three goals from CM, a good number of assists plus adapting well to the defensive side of the game represents a good effort for the young Brazilian in what has been a difficult time for the club.

But of course he needs support to be bought in- it is not reasonable for Denilson to now go on to shoulder the CM burden in his FIRST season of regular first team play.

One more match against Portsmouth than 2009 will finally have arrived with its transfer window - and I feel there will be pandemonium among the fans if Wenger doesn't act at this time.

12/27/2008 10:22 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, well us plastic fans go to the games mate and haev to put up with a team playing lame who should be whopping teams like villa all over the shop. Yeah, Diaby scored then we gave it away, thats not Arsenal, that's awful-nal. Wenger goes in and gets who in Jan???? Kaka? Senna? Ibrahimovic? No, wait, they're million pound players, let's get Jourino, Moskeuu, or someone else from the other side of thew planet who we dont know and will struggle to gel as quick as Cesc and then we fall further doen the blooming table. Fucks sake. Whats going on? Bollocks. 0-2 lead, should have come at them, Villa were ready for the slaughter mate then Gallas goes fucked up and gives a pen away, Merry fucking xmas. All we had to do was hold out for seconds and we were there but no, they had to defend stupid and one ball later we've bloody drawn. Wenger cant do anything in January to fix us up he's waiting on players to get fit, wants the 'spirit' to get up again when the bloody spirit's in the treatment room!! he's lost it.

12/27/2008 1:35 pm


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