Abou Diaby – A symbol of Arsenal’s failings?

Amidst what amounted to no more than a free for all by journalists worldwide against Arsene Wenger on the Robin Van Persie saga, Arsenal’s opening press conference of their tour of the Far East contained a significant bit of transfer news. Yann M’Villa, the young French defensive midfielder from Rennes who throughout May and June the Gunners were supposedly on the brink of signing, was officially no longer on Wenger’s radar. The 20 year old, who so impressed at the base of France’s midfield at Wembley in Les Bleu’s victory over England in November 2011, was now being dismissed. Apart from his suspect attitude, brought to light by his role as a perceived trouble maker and dissenter as France’s Euro 2012 campaign descended into anarchy, Wenger highlighted that Arsenal still had one Abou Diaby to return, offering that “when fit, Diaby is number one on the France teamsheet”. Yes, Abou Diaby, he of only four appearances in the whole of last season, three of which he entered as a substitute only to not even last the duration of the 90 mins.

Sound familiar? At a press conference in the beginning of January, Arsene Wenger when questioned on the possibility of signing the prodigiously talented frenchman Yoann Gourcuff, replied ‘We have choices in midfield. We have Abou Diaby coming back from injury”. Fast forward a month, when mulling over Jack Wilshere’s latest injury setback, Wenger spoke of Diaby “needing three more weeks of training. Late February at the earliest”. Let’s go back further: January 2008, with Arsenal top of the league; following Tomas Rosicky’s injury, Wenger asserted a replacement from the transfer market was inconceivable; “I believe that we have the needed quality because Diaby develops very well”. Diaby then predictably picked up an injury “making a simple pass” and missed the rest of the season as the Gunners finished 3rd.

This is not an attack on the 25 year old Frenchman, who for all the world clearly has the talent to become the authoritative midfield figure Arsenal and France have lacked since the talismanic Patrick Vieira. Indeed, on the rare occasions Diaby does take the field for the Gunners he appears to offer a directness with the ball, as well as unpredictable trickery capable of unlocking the mass defences Arsenal encounter week after week. His most injury free season, 2009/10, highlighted Diaby’s qualities as he notched 7 goals from midfield before going on to become France’s standout failure in their disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa. However, Diaby is clearly suffering the effects of a horror tackle from Sunderland’s Dan Smith during the dying moments of a game in 2006. The undoubted trauma of that tackle, which left Diaby’s leg and ankle in tatters, has marked his career and injuries to the extent that the Arsenal website often does not even mention him in articles noting returning injured players. Indeed, last season when Diaby would be substituted injured only a matter of minutes after he had made his return to the team via the bench, the sorry sight was greeted with laughter from Arsenal fans, rather than sorrow. It has become evident to them that Diaby is a symbol at the crux of what has gone wrong at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger since 2005.

Diaby, as talented though he may be, simply cannot be relied upon. Wenger appears to be blind to his inability to string a stretch of games together and thus the dominant midfield presence Arsenal so clearly need is left vacant due to the continual wait for Diaby to “come back”. Diaby is not an isolated example. Of course, Robin Van Persie’s form has been sensational since the beginning of 2011, but it must not be forgotten how his previous lengthy lay offs, rather than spurring purchases of top quality attackers, have left Wenger shopping for bargain basement back ups – the likes of Chamakh (2 goals in the last 12 months) and Park (5 minutes of Premiership football to date), spring to mind, as Wenger continually spoke of the Dutchman’s eventual return. Kieran Gibbs provides another example whilst sadly, Jack Wilshere is the latest Arsenal crock who’s return Wenger continues to speak of, rather than go out and buy a replacement. These injury-prone players, such as Diaby bloat Arsenal’s wage budget to the extent that Wenger speaks of “Nobody (coming in) above the highest level we have here”. Herein lies the hypocrisy of what Wenger has done at Arsenal. Yes, Diaby’s potential is vast and must be nurtured but the old adage is that no player is bigger than the club. If the reliance on him is due to the fact that Wenger’s hands are tied financially, then more transparency is needed at board level. Otherwise, Wenger’s already diminishing reputation will only continue to dwindle under this apparent confusion.

Adam Mazrani

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19 Responses to Abou Diaby – A symbol of Arsenal’s failings?

  1. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Shit article as usual from a typical usmanov fan.

  2. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Rubbish article. We held out for van persie and rosicky; and both were imense last season.
    Support the players in your team and give them a chance before you criticise them.

    Previous comment said perfectly

  3. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Another AAA, anti-Wenger monologue intended to dismiss all his great achievements and point the finger at him for his percieved ¨failures¨ according to Adam Mazrani! You're writing on the wrong website Adam…you shoul;d be at LeGrove with the rest of the AAA whiners and Wenger-haters.

    You haven't made any valid points about Wenger but instead regurgitate the usual offal that is excreted on the web by the ITK crowd who love to shit all over AW and the Club regularly.

    We have had the lion's share of EPL injuries since 2005 but that is not Wenger's fault. You conveniently focus on guys like Diaby, Wilshere and RVP while ignoring what Aw has done with very limited resources and while AFC built a new stadium and successfully remained in the CL and in the top 4 over that time. No other EPL Club faced that challenge and most top 4 had sugar-daddy limitless resources (which by the way are starting to be limited) and fans who stood behind them, never whining about 7 trophy-less years etc.,etc.

    Wenger is LOYAL, something you AAA types can't even spell never mind understand. He sticks by his players and despite some of their disloyalty and mercenary greed, he holds true to his philosophy of mixing youth and experience….and it is now starting to pay off. Once Wilshere returns, and diaby proves he can stay fit, and the RVP sage is settled….there will be little reason for you whiners to cry. But I am sure you'll find something else to moan about…its your nature!

  4. ecologist craig August 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    As an Arsenal fan, what I hate most are other Arsenal fans who write such shit. We must have the worst fans in the world. Please stop supporting Arsenal, desert now and take your negative ideas with you.

  5. Slicbilly August 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Good job it doesn't take a lot of brains to be critical and negative otherwise you'd have nothing to say. Idiot!

  6. Dan August 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Shut up

  7. Dan August 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I am tired of all these “true arsenal fans” that are always moaning n bad mouthing the club and manager. You need to wake up and see what is really happening instead of writing a useless article that incourages negative thoughts towards our managers and players that want to give their all for Arsenal. Again I will repeat myself Shut Up

  8. Slicbilly August 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    You should call yourself gunners down as you're no arsenal fan. That for sure!

  9. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Adam Mazrani. Another brave keyboard warrior. No balls, no brains, plenty bullsh*t!!

  10. FinnGun August 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Crap article, great comments.

  11. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    The future is Arsenal, Wenger IS a genius, and OUR SQUAD LOOKS THE BIZ, and we ain't bankrupt. Diaby is a wicked player. Gervinho will score goals. Wilshire will be back… he's got 12 years minimum left in his career. Santi Carzorla is the tits. Our defense is the tits. Podolski has a wicked strike on him. Giroud is a goal raider. Chezzer is a don. Santos CAN tackle and is a proper entertainer. Strength in depth is here, and weak comments are starting to look REAL STOOPID. My advice would be to abandon your sinking moan ship before you get drowned by some real gooners… coz we're laughing at you already.

  12. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Arsene Wenger is a French cunt.

    A wanker who after seven years of failure, still gives it the big “I am”.

    The cunting paedophile should be maimed from the neck down.

    Utter cunt of a bloke.

  13. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    @Robin banks

    hey, try to do some searches in some others GREAT premierleague history and you ll find out that is Arsenal and their 7 years that comes last in terms of not winning trophies.

    So instead of spitting your fucking sperm out of your fucking mouth, you should just shut the fuck up and play yourself on Fergie's team.

    About the article, this is just BS, hello mate, Diaby is just about to come back from injurie that Deschamps asked Wenger if he was available for the friendlies next week, that proves all. idiots.

    Gunner Till I die, In Wenger I trust, For Arsenal I live.

  14. burhan August 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Bullshit….worst article ever….thats what guys like you said about rvp a season ago….yes he has been injured probably evrytime he made a comeback…but hey lets give the lad another chance coz he is very talented…if he stay fit fo the whole season then therez nobody stoppin us frm winnin titles….mark my words!!
    And i believe the faith in diaby is gonna come gud this year….

  15. WillyG August 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Abou Diaby is one of the worst signing that Arsene Wenger ever made. He's more valuable to Arsenal injured rather than fit. When fit, Arsene will play him even though he is lazy and couldn't pass the ball properly. He belongs in the Championship, except that no Championship team wants him.

    I see a lot of hypocrites in here. They will put down Squillaci and Almunia and Silvestre but when people make comments about Diaby who is about the same quality as these low-skilled players but less fit, they will talk about supporting our own players.

  16. [email protected] August 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    robin….let me correct your composition as follows:

    Robin Banks is a total cunt.

    A wanker who after being born as a total failure, still gives it the big “I love the word cunt”.

    The cunting Banks is maimed from the neck up.

    Utter cunt of a bloke.

    Now that's more like reality!

  17. Stephen August 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I'm never going to look at this site again, there was no information in this, which I don't mind if it's funny or interesting, but it was just negitive crap. Yes Wenger has made mistakes in the past seven years, but I'm guessing you haven't so why don't you apply for the manager's job and then we'll see Arsenal winning again. However you might find running one of the biggest clubs in the world a little different from a playstation game.

  18. chris August 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Corrections and Additions to the Post : –

    Arsene's hands have NOT been tied for the last 2 to 3 years // We owe more loyalty to Diaby (and Ramsay) than to some others – given that horrific injury // But one reason why Diaby gets injured so much now is he does not push himself fully in training – then goes 100 % in matches and breaks down // Why some fans lose their tempers when they are reminded of all Arsene has got wrong (and what should have been done) since the 2nd great team broke up … makes them seem unable to face the truth. Why hide behind a barrage of insults with no logical argument at all ?

  19. Adam August 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    I see to have caused a stir here with this article. To address just a select few of the comments: I am in no way “anti-Arsenal” and just churning out anti-Arsenal articles. If you look back another one of my articles is why the Cazorla signing has made our summer a great one.

    Frankly, to those who describe me as a “keyboard warrior” before going on to write an expletive-filled comment…well…..pot kettle.

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