Abou seperates ‘man’ from boys

https://i0.wp.com/u.goal.com/54300/54339.jpg?resize=293%2C200“Arsenal and their kids!”.

You hear it said relentlessly, you rightly disagree, but when you look at Samir Nasri, you know you think of a hairless adolescent more than a 23-year-old.

When you stare at Tomas Rosicky, your sister’s instead of your brother’s friend springs to mind and when you look at Theo Walcott, you wonder – like Jack Wilshere – how he is still not in the backseat of his class.

You could also carry Andrey Arshavin on your back and while in the scenario of having to pick a fight with either the pair of Pires & Edu or Fabregas & Denilson, you would jump on the latter.

None of these players are actually ‘boys’ on the pitch (not by their ability on the ball at least) and as a matter of fact, they are improving their physicality year by year, but while the likes of Nasri and Rosicky are not entirely ‘push-overs’ for defenders, their boyish stature is why our line-ups hardly appear as a group of ‘men’ to critics.

Arsenal’s beautiful football and discouragement of dirty tactics on the pitch has seen them become the ‘gentlemen’ of football these days. That is no crime – a virtue in fact – but being too gentle sees aggression utilized against you and it becomes a necessity to alter styles a bit when the going gets tough.

Arsene Wenger’s obsession with skill over grit in recent years has seen him lure the likes of players who are more accustomed to dribbling past opponents than shoving them over to retain possession. That is an encouraging philosophy. After all, the game is about who is best at flair and not feistiness.

Even so, those attributes have to be balanced to make a capable team, and flair has quite outweighed grit in Wenger’s sides of today to the extent that a clash with Stoke City or Blackburn has become as much of a trial as any confrontation with rivals Chelsea or United.

Blessed with a pool of artistic but lightweight options of attacking midfielders, the sight of the imposing Abou Diaby is ever so refreshing in Arsenal’s line-ups. For once a player without the habit of being forced to the ground when in possession and a man who can actually bully and not be bullied.

Yes, Diaby’s first touch can sometimes be as heavy as a mistaken pass while he is no Vieira-like defensive midfielder to lessen Alex Song’s toil but when the team attacks, he does prove as formidable as his legendary countryman.

Whether it is through shrugging off his opponents with authority or dribbling with no fear, Diaby’s opponents hardly ever steal the ball back when the Frenchman is in the mood – like he has been more often than not ever since Wenger stopped deploying him uncomfortably on the left wing and handed him start after start last term.

During the campaign that just passed, Abou’s muscle in the side was vital in games like Liverpool away, Stoke away, West Ham at home and even Birmigham away (despite the result). Likewise, his physical force was well missed in games like Chelsea at home and United at home where our title rivals proved that having Thomas Vermaelen and Alex Song as the only ones close to ‘men’ in a side might see you pass, dribble and dribble but make no substantial threat.

And I recall when Diaby returned for the game at Stamford Bridge, which ended in a less humiliating 2-0 loss, Arsenal’s midfield showed far more guts (remember us dominating the second-half?) and that should have taught many the fact that Obi Mikel and company looked like a breed of ‘Hulks’ only because most of our team appeared as ‘oompa loompas’.

So Diaby agreeably possesses Arsenal’s much-needed power in midfield, but Abou (when he does get himself into the box) also appears to be rich of that ruthlessness the side begs for in front of goal. Take another look at most of his goals in recent seasons and Diaby seems to be quite a ferocious and accurate striker of the ball as well as a sharp finisher too.

Most of Arsenal’s trickery midfielders are criticized for their habit of over-passing the ball when goalscoring chances are at the offing, but on most occasions that Diaby enters the 18-yard box, he shows the swagger of Lampard. Hitting the target truly is one of Diaby’s qualities considering how he tested Shay Given with the match’s first shot on target in April’s 0-0 draw with Man. City – an effort which derailed Given’s shoulder and perhaps his reign as No. 1 at Eastlands.

Robin van Persie (and perhaps Arshavin), another true dead-eye finisher, is the only one I could imagine attempting something as audacious as Diaby’s half-volley against Blackpool recently. He has time and time again delivered the killer touch of a classic attacking midfielder when he finds sight at goal and with his physical presence a scarcity in Arsenal’s midfield, Diaby is more important to this team than you may assume.

If Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky, Wilshere and Arshavin all shared Abou Diaby’s mixture of vigor and skill, the Frenchman would not have started all games this season.

Pick on him for his defensive unawareness, pick on him for those misplaced passes here and there, pick on him for that own-goal at Old Trafford but while you are at it,  please pick out who else does this…


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30 thoughts on “Abou seperates ‘man’ from boys

    1. Likewise, you’re too intelligent to spell ‘too’ right. So how can I even trust what you think of Diaby as being accurate?

    2. Cleless and pathetic.

      Diaby has been solid for ages, yet gets the usual scape goating hate from blinkered “fans” who like nothing more than to find negatives all the time. But over look the mistakes, bad passes and short comings of their favourites.

  1. his finishing is good because he was initially a striker.
    his inconsistency though is a big turn-off

  2. That is a great highlight reel!!! The man is class, sheer and utter class. Many don{t rate him, but I always have. He has that deadly mix of skill and strength. Add to that the man ain{t no slouch when it cames to a good old sprint.

    Yes he does sometimes ease off the gas, but his performance gainst the ‘Burn was awesome. The combination of Song and Diaby is Fantastic.

    That really got my knickers wet for Bolton. CANNOT WAIT FOR THE INTERLULL TO END!!!

  3. I agree with you 100% and more he has become very important to the side and i still think he has a long way to go

    He is gradually becoming a hard man and his dribbling and shooting at goal is also good , some thing we hardly see from arsenal.
    If he get a constant run in that position he will be one of our main men at the end of the season

  4. While I agree that diaby is an underrated member of arsenals starting 11 I do think that he offers us more than just being an attacking threat. Perhaps his work rate off the ball doesn’t make him an ideal candidate for the defensive midfield spot but I think he performed better than expected in that position in the games against Blackpool and Liverpool. I deally he’s more of a box to box player with good athleticism and power who is as comfortable tracking back and making his presence felt alongside Song (even though he is rather inconsistent at this) as he is turning the defence into attack by winning the midfield battle (in a viera esque manner I might add)

  5. He really did look good in the defensive role Vs Liverpool. If he played beside song and cesc more often he will be an incredible player if he keeps his work rate up, hes born to be a box to box player.

    1. Diaby and Nasri bossed the midfield vs Liverpool and his game with Song vs Blackburn was also impressive. A more disciplined, defensive minded game, which is not natural for him, but he is adapting to it really well.

      He may have been inconsistent previously , but that was due to injuries as mush as anything else.

      I am tired of constsntly having to trawl through so called Gooners doing nothing but slating and hating on our team, players and manager.

  6. Haha johnny blunt but true – pepperami man has a bit of a mental problem. Maybe he’s scared or maybe he’s arrogant, but for whatever reason he’s not much of a team player. ‘Vigour’ is the last word i’d think to use when describing him, though if he could add that he’d be unstoppable.

  7. i think people miss things about abou. when he has a great game he attacks and he defends. when he is average as people say, he just defends. whats wrong with that? id love to see week in week out the box to box diaby we all love, dribling past opponents but we know that he cant do that in this arsenal team. see him in the world cup and he was class defending. he is a lump of a man and a bully as is evident by the video of his trying to kill be arfa ( which will be funny. anyone want a 5iver on him buckeling him ) i love the fella. but i want him let loose.

  8. Diaby is crucial to Arsenal, he adds that physicality side which we sometimes lack in our team…but Randy I don’t agree with you when you say Arshavin is not physical. He may be short but he has that strenght…Also bcoz the guy is Rusian.

  9. Diaby is good n is important to our team but he has not stepped up enough for me to say he is VITAL for the team… maybe more starts will prove me wrong but sometimes he just goes missing. But true he adds strength to the midfield. i remember his 1 goal in the cl a few seasons ago where he lashed it top corner. Ironically Ngog did it for liverpool this season. Both very similar goals…

  10. Diaby is a rare combination. remember he was victim to one of those horrific injuries that take years to completely disappear. He has subsequently been off and on the pitch. But i tell you, we dont have many with such height,size,skill,pace and eye for goal like Diaby around the league.
    his only just begun. but for now, I think he will not manage more than 65mins of play. He should be withdrawn at this time because this is when he starts making those silly mistakes. With time, Diaby will be (quote me) our ‘top three most precious players’. But his still learning……

  11. If you watched any of france’s games over the world cup you would have notci ed that although the team performed badly, diaby stood out as bing head and shoulders above the rest of them. I remember watching the morrocon game with m nephew, and he didn’t lose the ball a angle time throughout the first half. It was like watching zinadine diaby!!

  12. i believe diaby and song have become much better players and will only improve. we have all seen what they are capable of, hopefully they will become more consistant now. still dont rate denilson and cant understand why wenger persists with him. if frimpong wasnt injured id have diaby, song and frimpong all above denilson in the DM pecking order

  13. love diaby,,he just get start it,remember last year he was difrent(better) then the year before,this year u wil c much better diaby if he plays more often.the incrediple diaby, fab4 & song,cant picture that MIDFIELD. gunner 4life.

  14. Well Diaby can be absolutely unbelieveable on his day, scoring for fun, dribbling like the ball is attached to his shoes, setting up excellent opportunities. Then other games he’s horrendous. But Theo has shown that a bit of consistency and you’re first to be picked for the side.

    I don’t however though picture Nasri or Theo as my sister’s friends. Chiefly because my sisters are 6 years and 10 years older than me. But I don’t see them as kids like you do. Perhaps that’s some kind of unusual tendancy you have and should be addressed immediately with electric shock therapy. Anyway Nasri is way more consistent even if he doesn’t meet his potential as often as he should. And Theo is kicking arse this year so shut it you slag!

  15. You should have put the eboue-diaby goal in the vid a good 3times at least that’s just pure brilliance, in one of the wc games diaby dominated the game a pushed the whole France team on his own, and had some good runs, the next game he was shocking! Another underated players eboue; work ethic and athletism, rosicky; just a class player at his best

  16. Totally agree. Just see how French national team managers pick Diaby. He is sort of a automatic 1st choice now. Are Wenger, Domenech and Blanc all wrong?

  17. Agree with most of the above however would sugget he dribbles a bit less and shoots a bit more – he has a wonder shot when he lets it go. He can be the physical powerhouse we need but SHOOT HE MUST

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