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Arsenal’s NEW German signing could help Arsene Wenger FINALLY bring the best out of Abou Diaby

Borehamwood v Arsenal: Pre-Season Friendly

If I were to compare Abou Diaby to a food, it would be a Finnish crisp bread. Despite being French and not Finnish, Abou is just as delicate, fragile and ultimately precarious as a crisp bread. Just like overloading a crisp bread with toppings, if you rely on him too much in an attempt to stuff your face with his delectability, there’s a good chance Abou will shatter.

When Diaby is actually fit, he is a wonderful footballer to watch; one that combines power and grace very effectively indeed. Diaby doesn’t run, but rather glides along the pitch and his long limbs don’t prevent him from caressing the ball delicately as he turns opposition players using his very visible physical strength. His elegant aesthetic, coupled with the fact he plays very rarely, is such that Diaby almost appears an ethereal apparition that falls under the “I once saw…” category.

Although adding to his mystery, Diaby’s injuries are a serious and detrimental thing. Having been plagued by injuries for years, rather than treasuring every moment of the player, for Arsenal fans, it seems to be more a case of praying he makes it through the next five minutes. I can only guess that Arsène Wenger is probably partial to a Finnish crisp bread, but I know that he’s a huge fan of Abou Diaby (rightly so!) and places a lot of belief in the French midfielder.

However, even Arsène has admitted that Diaby’s fitness is still an issue and the manager appears to watch the player with the same muted anticipation as the fans: “you wish that [Diaby] just gets through the game”. It’s not exactly the vote of confidence you want to hear from your manager as a player.

Abou Diaby injury

However, as aforementioned, the fact is that Wenger still sees Diaby as potentially being “a huge asset” IF he can stay fit. This is almost undeniably true, but this positive boost for Arsenal’s squad is solely reliant on a relatively unreliable factor and they’ve got it wrong before. Injuries are ‘unlucky’ only to a certain extent and once a player has become as seemingly frangible as Diaby has, the responsibility falls upon the management and coaching staff to assess the situation and prepare or rectify accordingly.

It’s no secret that many Arsenal fans have become increasingly disgruntled with the way Diaby has been managed and ultimately over-relied upon throughout his fractured Arsenal career. The question is: will Arsenal get it right this time around?

Diaby is looking to complete a full pre-season this summer which will hopefully put him in good stead for the new campaign. Despite this, it still feels like this is the last chance for both the player and the club to show that through careful, attentive management there can be an extended period of fitness long enough for Diaby to be the asset Wenger hopes he can be.

Germany - 2014 FIFA World Cup Training Camp in Italy - Day 3

One thing that will most likely make a difference this time around is Arsenal’s changes in the medical department, especially regarding strength and conditioning. Shad Forsythe, the German national team fitness coach is expected to be a big addition to Arsenal’s back-room staff.

With both Forsythe’s help and continued work with data analytics, Arsenal hope to be able to improve pre-emptive injury prevention. It’s currently unclear how effective these changes will be, but Arsène Wenger and Abou Diaby will be hoping that it spells the end for the latter’s injury woes.

Over-reliance was something touched on earlier and it is something that must and probably will be avoided by Wenger this time around. The manager has plenty of midfielders to choose from this season and it is thought that Arsenal will look to bring in a more defensive midfielder before the window shuts.

Diaby has never really been a defensive player, but more of a box-to-box player who can carry the ball through midfield and join attacks. With this in mind, it can be argued that Diaby is effectively second choice to Aaron Ramsey and shouldn’t be expected to be any more relied upon than good quality back-up. With players like Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky also capable of playing the role, it should be easier for the manager to pick and choose when he uses Diaby rather than being forced into using him.

Borehamwood v Arsenal: Pre-Season Friendly

In spite of this, if Diaby both stays fit and performs exceptionally, it will be very hard for Wenger to deny the player a place in the first team and he could effectively play himself into being relied upon. Another situation that could occur is other midfielders injuring themselves and thus leaving a delicate Diaby to hold the fort. Not ideal. Although entirely hypothetical, these prospects must be considered and are an example of the complexities that surround the subject of a fit Abou Diaby.

Finally, I agree with Wenger in as much that a fit Diaby is an asset and a useful one at that, but the player is one more serious injury away from possibly all but ending his career which would be incredibly tragic for someone so talented. For Arsenal this season, I feel as though Diaby is a bonus who can make a huge difference when deployed, but I’d happily see him as a less frequent contributor if it means preserving and elongating his career at the top of the game. I really do hope the 28-year-old, who is now Arsenal’s longest serving player in the current squad, stays fit and shows the world that he can still be a key contributor to a top club.

Billy Dunmore


8 Responses to Arsenal’s NEW German signing could help Arsene Wenger FINALLY bring the best out of Abou Diaby

  1. paul35mm July 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    Abou Diaby has always had potential, the question is, will he stay healthy enough to fulfill it. Already, you’d have to say no, he won’t. Diaby’s best years have been spent in the trainer’s room and at 28, he is probably getting his last shot for a top club. Another major injury and it would be hard to imagine Arsene Wenger, as loyal as he is to his players, justifying further investment in Diaby.

    The sad thing is, Arsenal could really use a player with his attributes; a big, physical midfielder who is useful both defending and attacking. Paired with Ramsey, he could add the steel Arsenal’s midfield has been missing. His fitness could allow Wenger to mix and match his midfield to frustrate and overcome almost any other team on the planet, but it’s just too big a risk.

    A best-case scenario for Arsenal and Diaby is a decent, injury free season as a substitute and Cup player followed by a transfer to a mid-table PL club that needs to take risks to advance their rank. Southampton, Hull, Newcastle, perhaps even Everton could get maximum use from a cut-price acquisition for a player of Diaby’s undoubted quality. If he stays fit, Diaby could make the difference for Newcastle between finishing mid-table and the Europa League. Ditto for Hull, Everton, and Southampton.

  2. mick July 28, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    Well said. It’s difficult not to be excited about Diaby but as you say he should be treated as a bonus. I’d be scared for Arsenal if a good DM doesn’t come in.

  3. triple000zero July 28, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    never say never look at Van Persie

  4. Tai, Lagos July 28, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Great article! I agree 100% with every word. If only Wenger could read…I rate a fit Diaby our first choice box-to-box ahead of Ramsey and Wilshere. I’d start him only in UCL games…then sub him here and there in EPL matches. Never FA Cup, never Carling Cup!

  5. paul joba July 28, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I agree wit tai lagos I tink dat is exactly wot wenger should do wit diabi in other to keep him long for the club he diabi should only be used in CL why he should be substitute in EPL and left out of Caroline Cup and Default Cup. GUNNERS FOR LIFE

  6. clockendjim July 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    When Diaby came on for the second half in New York, he looked a different quality to most of those around him. As you say here, he just seemed to glide around the pitch and rarely wasted the ball. He even got in some quite hard tackles which was encouraging and frightening at the same time. If he stays fit at last, he could be one of the missing links in our squad – fingers crossed
    I know it was only a pre-season friendly, but there were lots of disappointing displays out there. Rosicky looks to be fading, Monreal was a fish out of water in central defence, Wilshere carried on his poor form from the end of last season, what a worry he is, and most of the youngsters who were given their opportunity to shine failed do so.
    Let’s just hope that with all our stars back, that they get it together

  7. MUHAMMAD July 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    Abou Diaby really you already classified the player is good to go at all time but the setback he have the injury break him down for a years plus the way he is now i hopefully he will back physically fit with the all indication he will perform well this season because of the pre season he look so free but know nobody know tomorrow i wish him the best and free injury.

  8. KathieMathy December 3, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    It’s wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our argument made at this place.

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