Diaby return bigger than Gallas, Sagna and Bendtner losses

Today is a good day my friends.

Apart from being Friday, the best day in the week, it is also the day that Abou Diaby has been announced as being fit enough to return to the Arsenal squad. According to the manager Diaby – who I see as the long-term partner for Cesc Fabregas in the centre of the park since Mathieu Flamini’s disappointing exit at the end of last season – will be part of the squad to face Everton on the weekend. Observe:

“Abou Diaby is back in the squad again. Even though he has not played games he will be used, at the least in the squad, because we have lost those three players.”

Those three players he is talking about; William Gallas, Bacary Sagna and Nicklas Bendtner, were each injured on international duty and will miss the weekend Premiership game as well as next week’s Champions League game against Fenerbache. However, call me crazy if you will, but I see the return of Diaby to the squad as more than making up for those three losses.

I’ve spoken a lot about the fact that the midfield this season has been less than fantastic but the return of Diaby could make a huge impact going forward. He might have spent the last couple of seasons being used primarily on the left but the hints that have come out of the club suggest that he is the player that Wenger sees as Fabregas’ ideal partner. And while he’s likely to start on the bench tomorrow his return is definitely something worth getting excited about.

On the flipside, I’m not too concerned about the injuries to Gallas, Sagna and Bendtner. The knock to Gallas will see him get as timely a rest as you’re ever likely to see, with Kolo Toure set to take over the captaincy and my man Johan Djourou ready to slot in alongside him. Emmanuel Eboue would be the natural choice to replace Sagna – we all know what he can do there – while the loss of Bendtner has no impact whatsoever on the starting side. So on that note things could be much, much worse.

The question marks for tomorrow, Djourou (concussion), Fabregas (broken nose) and Robin van Persie (hamstring) are all expected to be passed fit and even if the latter and former aren’t available, Mikael Silvestre and Carlos Vela will be ready and raring to go. If called upon, their fresh legs could be just what the doctor ordered.

It goes without saying that I’m very much looking forward to the Everton game after two loooooong weeks of no Arsenal. David Moyes’ side are usually a decent test but their relatively poor start to the season means this is a match that Arsenal should get maximum points from. However, I said that before Hull and I said that before Fulham so you can never quite be sure what you’re going to get.

It will be interesting to see how defence performs in the absence of Gallas, my prediction is that things will go quite well. Not directly because of Gallas’ withdrawal but because of the breaking up of the Gallas-Toure partnership that just has not worked this season. I’m hoping that whoever it is that replaces the captain gets in and does a great job to really give Wenger something to think about.

Just before I go I want to remind everyone again about the Arsenal shirt competition that’s going on at the moment. All the details are in yesterday’s post, so if you missed it be sure to check it out to be in with a chance to win an official Arsenal home shirt.

Cheers – and gooooooooooooo Arsenal.

Have your say on Everton, injuries or the return of Diaby by leaving a comment



  1. I for one will also be very interested to see how JD and Toure do at the back especially against Yakubu who is the physical and talented type of forward that generally gives Gallas problems. I hope the lads come out fighting mad after the results the last few weeks.

  2. great post, but I can’t see eboue playing RB, I don’t think wenger trusts him defensivly, especially with wallcott playing RW. So I would put the team as follows. Almunia, Toure, JD, Sylvestre, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, V Persie and Adebayor. I’d rather Diaby than Denilson but I can’t see him starting. What do u think?

  3. I think a fully fit Diaby is much better than Denilson and Song combined technically and in terms of aggresiveness, both of which we’ve missed alot this season. Can’t wait to watch him tomorrow. Griffith

  4. Diaby is back finally. He is better than Denilson and Song but Song is better than Denilson. Diaby can score goals too, and some pretty spectacualr ones at that! But most importantly he will bring out the best in our little spaniard. Fabregas will play his best football playing alongside a defensive Diaby. Denilson had his chance now its Diabys turn.

  5. I don’t think its such a big deal he is back. I don’t think hes ever been anything that special playing for Arsenal. He gets silly red cards he shouldn’t get or commits very dumb fouls which this year, any foul close to goal will probably end up as a goal since Arsenal cannot defend set pieces. Diaby is another player that instead of shooting he’ll look to pass, esp if he isn’t confident. So I’m not really too excited about Diaby being back. He may be better then Denilson but that’s not saying much. Song i think preformed very well against Sunderland besides his defending on the goal and give away, which was a loss of concentration. Otherwise he looked strong and good on the ball. So I’d rather see Song start over Diaby.

  6. I am not really excited about Diaby being back although we will have one more squad player. Diaby has never given any top performances for Arsenal in 3 years. Carling cup final and Milan away were some decent performances. In my view Denilson, Song and Diaby all are in same category. None of the are capable of bringing energy in the middle park and do dirty stuffs to cover Cesc. Song is the best option although he is too slow. Diaby is a very very bad tackler and is more attack minded than defensive. If we play 4-4-2 formation we need player like Flamini or Diarra who can react fast, win the ball, tackle and pass ball to the attacking players in best position. Defensive players should strictly stay in front of backline and cover Cesc. Do you guys realise why Cesc scored so many goals in the early part of the season prior to the injury? Just because of Flamini’s guard. I saw Cesc moving around the opponents area freely and providing assists after assists including spectacular goals. This season he cannot have that freedom. Diaby or Song or Denilson will never be his best partners. Arsene must sign a DM in janaury.

    Today’s game I will play:

    Eboue Djourou Toure(c) Clichy
    Denilson Cesc Nasri
    RVP Adebadgerrrr

    Arsene should ask Song to protect Cesc in the middle by staying in front of backline. We do not want to see Cesc defending and tacking to win ball. Yes he can do sometimes but we don’t want to see Song staying upfront of Cesc. Cesc will destroy any teams when he dicates the play from the middle.

    p.s. love to see Cesc score twice in 2 games.

    Anything short of convincing victory against a sh** Everton team will end our hopes…. Come on Arsenal.

  7. Don’t you guys think many Arsenal fans over-rate Adebadger and Diaby? For me Diaby is nothing special. Wenger comapring him with Viera is like Spuds fan comapring Bent with Henry. But I am not sad he is back in the team. Adebayor is also a decent player with lots of potential. Still his egoism, attitude and first touches make me laugh. What a freak?

  8. It looks like Johan Djourour will miss out tonight as well… Which means Mikael Silvestre will start. Good luck to him… Let’s hope all goes well, and Diaby plays well. 3 points.

  9. @ Panda Bear – Looks like you’re right. Good luck to Silvestre, it seems he will be starting at centre-back. I hope he puts in a good performance.

  10. @ Ramugunner – I don’t think Adebayor is overrated at all. He definitely divides opinion but at the end of the day he’s doing a good job. As for Diaby, I think he’s always done well in an Arsenal shirt and I believe he is the long-term partner for Cesc.

  11. Spanishfry mate. We will find out how good player Ade is after few years, he is still young and I always accept he is a player with lots of potential. His attitude have been shocking from his days at Metz, Monaco and now Arsenal. He definitely wanted to move out of Arsenal last summer. He could not make it because Arsene put a high price tag for him which Barca/Milan thought he is not worth. On the other side, Ade thinks he is a world beater which is a bad attitude. He is a decent striker who scores against shit defense or who needs five chances to score a goal. In my view, he can never get to the standard of Villa, Eto, Henry, Torres etc who are technically superb and great finishers. Only thing I rate about him is his physicality. If he stay in the box instead of drifting leftwards he can score lots of headers. His workrate was good last season but this season nothing. Still long way to go in this season. I will be surprised if he can score 30 again this season. But I love to be proved wrong.

    Diaby, for me, if can stay fit, is a decent CAM. This team do not need an attacking midfielder. The team is begging for a defensive central midfielder to hold the middle park. Especially Wenger is hurting Cesc this season. Other positions in midfield are pretty good. Diaby is a very bad tackler, no doubt. He is not the answer to our midfield because he is too injury-prone, bad tackler, attack minded player with less energy. He has to change his playing style to play central midfield which is always tough. Take example of Denilson as DM. Why Denilson/Cesc midfield partnership failed against Hull/Sunderland? Just because there is no proper combination: both being attack minded. It will be the same story with Diaby. I am not being pessimistic but it is reality. We suffered for a long time because Wenger never accepted realities.

    P.S. I have very high hopes for Ramsey. I saw him dominating midfield in both legs agianst Englan. If anything happens to Cesc, I will replace with Ramsey. Wilshere also sounds good but I haven’t watch him play a lot.

    Come on Arsenal!

  12. OMG this is so painfull to watch 1 nil down and we got nothing WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. I cant see us doing anything this season come on boys prove me WRONG

  13. 1-0 down AGAIN, what is going on!!! Emirates stadium a fortress? It was, but Hull beat us and Everton are leading against us. I really don’t know what is going on but we cant do it on the pitch, Walcott, Ramsey, Diaby and Vela. AW take your pick, they can all change the game, but pick one!

  14. hate to say this, but we really miss flamini. ramugummer is right about denilson n cesc, both being too attack minded. the first everton goal clearly showed denilson should be held responsible. silvestre was defending the dude in the middle, so u wud expect a decent DM to mark the player waiting to pounce on the edge of the penalty area.

    denilson is not a DM, and he’s not a flamini, so we really can not expect him to do a flamini.

  15. Alex song should be playing defensive mid, Eboue right back… Densilon is forcing Fabregas to play deep.. Gaaah Arséne what are you doing?

    Good to see Silvestre winning some headers.

  16. THANK U BOYS 3-1 im smiling now YES and teah panda u might be his nose lets just hope it is, but well done boys fought back well awesome second half THEO changed the match for us. But nasri might be injured.

  17. THEO WALCOTT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO US. He changed the game at half time. Glad to see him grab a goal. Great comeback led by Mr.Walcott. GO GUNNERS

  18. Well at least there is one soild defender in Silvestre. He knows when to just get the ball out of danger. I like a partnership with him and Toure over Gallas and Toure.

    Overall the team is just bad. Having that been Chelsea, who will win the title this year, Arsenal would have been down by 2 maybe 3. You can lie to yourself and think we are better then we are, but Arsenal is just not that good. There is no desire out there. Ade is a clown and sorry to break your heart kiddies but RVP isnt that good. We have two clowns up front and this team really needs a pure goal scorer. I wait the day Eduardo comes back. I am happy with Theo. He actually took the shot instead of trying to set others up. Yes its a win, but another very… mellow, half ass preformance that against better teams Arsenal will be punished.

  19. @ Demetrio – I agree with you so much, except that van persie is a clown. He is a great striker and am happy to have him upfront for us. I cant wait for Eduardo to come back either, the fox-in-the-box. Ade is a risk this season, not performing and I suggest AW to look at Amir Zaki. V.Persie and Zaki hmmm. Walcott is king at the moment.

  20. I think ADE is doin fine. but I do think RVP is startin to loose his touch and placement bit worryin.

  21. can my old p.e. teacher take rvp aside and tell him what he drummed into us “if you hit it hard hit it low and if your good hit it hard and low in the corner” the ref needs a fucking flogging clichy got grabbed by the throat and it’s a yellow wtf…..
    Ade is still shit and i don’t care if he got 4 for togo as i don’t support them just bang them in for us you lanky git kanu was far better and even crouch is better. vela needs to play as that boy can score and now i know why arsne gave theo the no. 14 shirt as this boy is henry incarnated.

  22. Butterfingers is absolutely correct. If that incident happened in Italy, there would be no hesitation from a ref to send a player off. Grabbing someone by the throat should be considered a punch and a red card. The side judge was right there too, there was no excuse for not sending him off.

  23. Adebayor is just proving to me that he should have been sold last summer as I thought… His tock was high and we should have grabbed the money while we could and spent on other positions… Im so excited to see more of Vela its ridiculous. I think Im gonna buy his jersey soon. RVP is fine… some dumb decisions but he usually comes through…

  24. I think Ade should be on the bench and allow Vela to play. The kid is dynamite. His fast, skilful, can score! and have you seen his first touch. Play him against Fenerbahce AW please. I think Rvp is doing great, its Ade that is worrying me. Jus when people though Theo werent performing, he proved them all wrong, He has No.14 blood. And Under Wenger and Capello, he can’t go wrong.

  25. Ade is fine. I’d much rather have his work rate than a poacher any day of the week. Plus I personally feel that big Nik has upped his own work rate from last season due to being in competition with Ade.

    I still like RVP but he has lost his touch hasn’t he? If it isn’t point blank he puts it in row 467 section Z regardless of what foot it’s on. He’ll keep shooting until he get’s his fire back… and I do hope it comes back soon.

    I think everyone is hitting the nail on the head in the midfield though. I like Denni more than Diaby but both are of the attacking mindset. I really feel Cesc is taking one for the team this year and purposefully withdrawing himself a bit. He’s not the best at it but I don’t think anyone else was willing to step up and do it.

  26. It’s like xmas for me at the moment as I wake up every morning after a spud game and can’t wait to see the score and guess what santa has been again stoke beat them with 2 players being sent off and their goalie knocked out 1 of their players. 10 days and we can make them suffer for that 1 off 5-1 thrashing of our kids. Are we allowed to send out our under 14’s as they will put a handfull against them and we can rest the squad haha.

  27. @ butterfingers, thats the game I am looking forward to aswell. With Theo on form, Diaby back, Us finding goals again and spuds well injuring their own players, letting in cheap goals and well being bottom of the prem. Revenge is going to be oh so sweet 😀

  28. Really hoping we thrash the spuds…i have two spurs season ticket holding friends coming over to stay when thats on and im not sure if ill be able to stop gloating!!…We still made hard work of it this week but just looking at the Spuds result makes me warm all over!!!

  29. Spuds are a shit team, no doubt. I feel for their fans who were celebrating 5-1 win against our kids and Beer cup trophy last year. They also said they are going to challenge the title with best midfielder in the world named “Modric shit” and great manager “Ramos”. They deserve to be thrashed this time around, perfect time. I heard from Spuds sources that the game against Arsenal will be the final chance for Ramos to save his job. That means they will be under pressure. I will not take them for granted even they are the shittest team in league at the moment.

  30. So we win against Everton but I am still not happy about our performance. Its sad to confess that we are one step behind Chelsea and Manutd in terms of overall quality and winning mentality. Even Pools are looking like winners this season. Mourinho said early in the season that any team with best goalkeeper and striker always have chance to win league, Pools have it. That’s besides a great midfielder ala captain.

  31. We definitely need a goalkeeper. I cannot see Arsenal winning anything ever if we keep Almunia in goal. Hes not the Buffon, or Cech type keeper, that even if a player gets past the back four, they have to past a wall in goal. Almunia is good for what he is… but he isn’t one of those goal keepers that make strikers over think because they know how hard it is to beat him. As does Buffon and Cech. I think Wenger needs to invest this January in a solid top 5 in the world GK, a big tall central defender or defensive midfielder that can really guard the back four (maybe Yaya since hes not getting time at Barca), and another pure goal scorer striker, unless Eduardo is back before January. Still think Alonso would be a good fit in midfield behind Cesc, and it would keep Mr Fab happy. But Wenger has to buy in January if we are to compete at the business end of the season.

    And i agree with ramugunner, i really hope the boys punish the spuds for that thrashing of our young guns.

  32. it’s all crap as cesc hasn’t been given a new contract as we have him for another 4 years i think fucking journos get paid a bit for producing shite as usual. did appiah sign for anyone or is he still a free agent?

  33. @ Demetrio – I think Almunia is the least of our worries. We have far more important concerns than our goalkeeper. In all reality he is doing a fine job and I’ve said this in the past but since the start of last season, I can’t think of one time when a goal has come directly as a result of his mistakes.

  34. Thank the lord for that. I know everyone thought cesc was off his game on the weekend. But I love watching him play. Even on the weekend, his passing is just beautiful to watch. Poor bugger does have alot of responsbility though…he needs some quality support

  35. You guys still believe Arsenal website for contract news. I don’t trust at all after Flamini’s case. Flamini was brightest DM in the world and best partner for classy Cesc, still they didn’t think he was worth 10k more than what they offered. Arsene said Flamini was staying for sure but it didn’t happen. I know Cesc is not after money but he is after glories. With plenty of talents and passion for the game he loves winning. For years Arsenal board and Wenger have lost their commitment towards winning titles and its getting worse. Its not good enough for Arsenal and for Cesc cause he is a winner. I will not be surprised to see him make a move to more ambitious team next season. This will be a tough call for him though untill Arsene stays. But we never know. If he move out I will not blame him. I will blame Arsenal Board and Wenger. I think he has already proved he loves Arsenal and wants to stay here but at the same time he cannot play for a team who has no aim. Its been so serious now at Arsenal. Wenger has already failed his experiment to build a youthful title winning team. After losing players like Lehmann, Gilberto, Flamini and Hleb we lost experience and winning mentality. I agree with Spanishfry that Almunia is being alright but he cannot organize the defense line like Seamean and Lehmann used to do. Of course, CB and CDM are bigger worries. Whatever you guys talk about Adebayor, he is not even a decent striker, time will prove. One season with 30 goals including tap-ins and penalties cannot make a average striker a world beater. With Almunia in goal, Toure-Gallas backline and Adebayor upfront we will not win anything, ever.

    Arsene was on my side untill the last transfer season. But after he sticked in CDM with Denilson(Decent CAM), Song(Good but too slow for premier league), and Diaby(Crock & shit), I lost my respect towards this genius manager. Wenger’s knowledge, vision, youth policy and style are always appreciated but his transfer policies and team selections are shocking. Coming janaury is the last chance for him to amend his mistakes.

    Oh wait, Wenger never realises his mistakes and accept team weaknesses. Still in Wenger We Trust… We Arsenal fans!!!

  36. @ Ramugunner – They’re Cesc’s words. I didn’t say anything about trusting Arsenal news, its just that the comments appear there. I’m trusting Cesc, not Arsenal in this case.

  37. Afer watching a full arsenal game on the weekend…i found alot of weaknesses.

    DM, CB positions are very weak.

    I think Ade is alright and RVP is a very good player who is off his game at the moment. This arsenal team will compete for the title but i cant see them winning anything. Thats another season of no trophies for a big club.

    My arsenal team:

    Toure Silvest Gallas Clichy
    Theo Fab Denilson Vela

    That crowds the midfield allowing fab to do less defensive work. You get to use the speed and skill of vela and theo….Use ade big body to hold the ball up.

    what do u think ?

  38. on the bench you have RVP, Bedner, Eboue.

    with these 3 players you can change the formation to suit the style of the game.

    Every team needs to be able to change things during a game…they need to be able to play 3 or 4 different styles and formations.

    For example: i play in a football team…we have stuck to only one style and formation alll year…never changed it…come grandfinal when the pressure is on…we change our formation…good move but no one in the team has ever played in that formation for atleast 2 years.

  39. @ ramugunner I don’t think it was solely for the money unlike that cashley c*%t as he was pissed that cesc got given a extension till 2012 when he still had 2 years on his contract and flamster was coming into his last season and we didn’t seem to be hurried into keeping him. silva was a loyal servant to the club and arsne thought to let him leave for playing time and 1 big payday at a lower league. hleb was just a waste of space and went missing in the big games and nasri has proved already he will be more than capable of filling in his shoes.
    But only time will tell come the jan window and if chelski are too far ahead he will just say wait until the summer.

  40. I disagree. Its like Almunia has no reflexes. I’m not sayin he has to always stop it, but when a goal is scored most the time he is caught flat footed. If he would at least dive the way the ball is going, maybe he could stop it. I’ve seen a few goals this season i would have liked to seen him not be caught flat footed.

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