Abou Diaby’s comeback from injury gives us the chance to finally see the Frenchman playing in the position we have been waiting some time for.
When Diaby was signed he was signaled as the ‘New Patrick Vieira’ but injuries have mainly limited his chances as has competition in his position but with Flamini’s and Gilberto’s exit, a gap has opened up for someone to claim the position as their own.
Against Fenerbahce, Diaby played as a support striker adding to his armoury of the positions he can play having been deployed as a left winger last season. He showed great composure, dribbling, vision and strength to name a few in only his first start this season. After two months out, the Frenchman hadn’t played more than 10 minutes beforehand but gave a performance attacking wise as if he hadn’been out for more than 10 minutes.
For the first goal, Diaby tackled the ball off the Fenerbahce man in possession, beating two men before passing the ball to Fabregas who set up Adebayor. This showed a glimpse of both sides of his game but because of a lack of fitness it would have been hard to judge him defensively. The talent is certainly there; his strength and presence are his obvious qualities but has he got the tactical awareness (i.e. marking and positioning) and discipline to play as the second central midfielder? Is he ready to give up his attacking instincts at times to allow Arsenal to play? (We say second central midfielder as whoever plays doesn’t necessarily have to be a defensive midfielder who stays back at all times).
Is he suited to the 4-4-2 or is a 4-5-1 a better formation for the Frenchman?
Denilson currently occupies that role as the partner to Fabregas but defensively work still needs to be done.We at Arsenal Column have been his harshest critic we must say, but the man is only 20 and the improvements he has so far made have been superb. He has identified what areas he needs to work on while Arsene Wenger has pinpointed marking as an area on which to concentrate. Such an important position may be a bit too early for Denilson but if he keeps on getting better then there is not doubt he can become better than Flamini.
Here’s the picture of Gallas with an unlit cigarette at the wheel of his car. Say what you say about it.