Diaby stars for France as international break ends (includes stunning photos)

A number of Arsenal players were in action last night as the international break officially came to a close.

Abou Diaby and Gael Clichy started for France in their 2-0 win over Luxembourg, with the former in particular impressing in his country’s win. Diaby had a number of efforts saved by the Luxembourg goalkeeper and set the game alight with some fabulous dribbling and excellent passing. A good friend of mine, photographer Ryu Voelkel was at the game and captured fantastic image of Diaby during the game, which I have included below.

Abou Diaby v Luxembourg (Ryu Voelkel)

Samir Nasri, who was widely judged to have been France’s best player against Romania just a few days ago, was dropped to the bench to accommodate Yohann Gourcuff, but the Marseille man came on with a half-hour remaining to help France to victory. Ryu also snapped a beautiful shot of him stepping out onto the pitch at half-time.

Samir Nasri v Luxembourg (Ryu Voelkel)

The game featured another ugly “I got the ball so I can do anything I want after that” tackle by Rene Peters, Luxembourg’s captain, that could have badly injured Gourcuff. Peters was sent off by the brave referee and it was another indication that the tide may be turning against players that tackle recklessly and claim going for the ball as an excuse. I think we can be lucky it was Gourcuff and not Diaby or Nasri who was on the receiving end of the tackle or we might be counting them out for a couple of weeks.

In other games around Europe Andrei Arshavin captained Russia for 81 minutes in a 1-0 win over Macedonia that featured some superb goalkeeping late on by Igor Akinfeev. The Russian stopper was at his best to block a couple of point-blank headers and produced a spectacular penalty save to ensure Russia came away the victors.

Tomas Rosicky played 90 minutes for the Czech Republic in their 2-0 win over Liechtenstein while Jack Wilshere could count himself a little bit unfortunate not to get a substitute appearance for an England side that lacked inspiration in their 0-0 stalemate with Montenegro. Arsenal fans may be happy he didn’t get on though: it means the youngster will be fresh as a daisy for the Birmingham game this weekend.

With the international break done and dusted it appears as though Bacary Sagna was the only casualty, out for three weeks with a thigh problem. We will know more when the Arsenal medical staff get their hands on the players but all looks well for Birmingham, particularly with Cesc Fabregas back in contention and Thomas Vermaelen, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott set for returns just around the corner.

There is sure to be more Arsenal-related news popping up over the remainder of the week and I’m looking to sink my teeth into it.


Have your say on the international break or Ryu’s superb photos by leaving a comment.



  1. Superb photos?

    One of Diaby apparently wiping his nose on his sleeve and a dodgy picture of the centre-back’s a**e.

    Still, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. Ya where are the photos??? btw are you sure diaby starred or are you just being biased since he is an arsenal player, because all over i read Gourcuff was the star of this win, so more on this please

  3. Diaby pic is wicked I thought, dunno what John’s on about! Could fetch quite a lot of money for that I bet.

  4. @ John – You’re entitled your opinion but these are quality photos. It depends what you want: most sports photography is the same but Ryu’s work looks at things from a different angle. Perhaps a look through his Flickr stream might give these photos some context.

    Or check out these galleries of Arsenal games:


  5. @ Aman – Diaby had a strong game and was constantly looking to trouble the opposition goalkeeper. Gourcuff was good too but there’s not much point saying that on an Arsenal blog!

    @ Dom – Glad you like them.

  6. Not surprised about Diaby, he has so much talent. He has just been horribly inconsistent in the last 2 years.
    I hate how a lot of arsenal fans just spout off that diaby, denilson and song aren’t good enough when we lose any game and thats why we we’re not winning trophies. I read it in so many comments after chelsea game. Now unless i was watching another game i would say diaby had a very good game against chelsea.
    Also as far as i can remember Denilson wasn’t even on the pitch.
    Now i know Song has had a bad start this season but he was immense last season. If Wenger can remind what his responsibilities are on the pitch;protecting the back 4 and anchoring midfield, then he can be immense again.
    I’m looking to Diaby to carry confidence from this into saturdays game and put on a performance.

  7. Andrew,

    Thank you for granting me the entitlement to my own opinion, which remains unchanged by the context in which the photographs are published.

  8. Thanks for clarifying that John.

    The dedicated Arsenal fans who religiously come to read Andrew’s valued thoughts are delighted to have gained the bonus of such a detailed glimpse into your artistic mind.

  9. Nice photographs, the softfocus/outfocus of Diaby’s background really give a sense of ‘moodiness’ to the composition.

  10. Diaby is probably trying to bury his face in his arm after another howling miss, right guys?!? God he’s so bad why can’t we just sell him and buy Kaka or Edgar Davids.

  11. Really wonderful pix – and in one of the hardest photographic genres to master. Access to the players generally speaking is always challenging, no-one stands still for long, the available light is patchy and difficult to work with and the photos all have a tendency, after a while, to look the same. So congrats to this photographer on getting not one but two great shots, razor sharp and 100% original. The one of Diaby is for me truly remarkable; had the shot been planned and posed I doubt very much you could better what we have here. Obviously this is just my opinion but I’ve been taking photos for more than 20 years and have never come close to this. Nice work.

  12. Dan…Edgar davids, are you just stupid, have you missed your special bus. I’m not saying Diaby is awesome and we can’t get better……but EDGAR DAVIDS

  13. Great blog you’ve here. A great number of websites similar to this cover subjects that arent located in magazines. I dont know the way we ended up on A ago with only print media.

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