I WILL BREAK YOU

The Short Unhappy Career of Abou Diaby

Vassiriki Abou Diaby. Few players in my time watching Arsenal have been such a lightning rod for criticism as Abou Diaby.

Two years ago, I was at the Liverpool away game which Arsenal won 2-1 and Diaby came on in the 53rd minute after Jordan Henderson shouldered Mikel Arteta and sent him to the hospital. The guy immediately behind me saw that Diaby was coming on and let loose a stream of invective at the player which was finally stopped when his friend told him to get a grip.

Diaby had a pretty good game that day, but having not played since November, he limped off injured in the 80th minute, replaced by Ox. Again, the guy behind me lost his biscuits and started screaming about how Diaby’s terrible and he should never play for Arsenal again. At the time I thought that between the injuries and the invective there was no way that Diaby would come back.

But really that’s the story of Diaby, he just keeps coming back.

He was initially injured by Dan Smith in a Sunderland match which Arsenal were romping to a 3-0 win. Diaby had the ball on the touch line in the 90th minute and Smith came in high and late breaking Diaby’s foot and dislocating his ankle. Referee Dermot Gallagher showed Smith a yellow card as Diaby was stretchered off to furious protests from the Arsenal players.

After the match Arsene criticized the player and the Sunderland set up saying that all they wanted to do was kick Arsenal. Caretaker manager Kevin Ball responded with “Let them say what they want to say, Dan Smith is not a dirty player. He’s gone for the ball. It wasn’t malicious.” It’s a refrain that Arsenal have heard ad nauseam now. Any time a player breaks an Arsenal player’s leg they are “not that kind of player” and any time we complain about it, we are “moaning like a drain”.

diabysmallPic via Arseblog

But Diaby came back. And each time he’s come back he’s been kicked off the pitch. He was kicked by Joey Barton, by Essien, by Paul Robinson, and by just about every “hard man” in the League. Each time he came up injured. Each time he mounted a comeback. Each time he got injured again.

You know that hurt

And he came back again this year and sure enough, I’m at another away game, this time Swansea, and there was a different guy in the stands yelling out that he hoped Diaby would break his leg and never play for Arsenal again. And yesterday Arsenal announced that Diaby tore an ACL in training and is out for 9 months. I guess that guy at Swansea away got his wish.

But much of the criticism for Diaby, directed at Diaby, is unwarranted. He’s never been injured doing something stupid like skateboarding drunk at the company Christmas party. He’s not the one who offered him the contract that he’s currently playing on. He didn’t sell Song and not replace him. All that Diaby has ever done is tried to play football and he’s been injured in the process.

From what Matt Law has said on twitter (he interviewed the player) Diaby hears all the criticism but he compartmentalizes it and just gets on with his life. This is a man who just wants to play football. He takes extra training, he eats right, he does everything that the club and doctors tell him to do. In short, he has done everything right and like Francis Macomber faces up to his fears, shows courage as the buffalo is charging, only to be shot at from the peanut gallery.

I don’t get why people are so angry at Diaby. If you want to be angry about something be angry at the players who have serially kicked Diaby. Be angry that the Premier League and the referees have allowed this player to be kicked off the pitch. Be angry that Jack Wilshere is now receiving the same treatment. Be very angry about that last thing because you know what? Jack will be next.

Diaby-7amkickoff

And sure, be angry at Arsene Wenger for giving Diaby the contract he’s on. Or for not being prescient enough to see that he would be injured time and again. Or for not selling him. Or for not replacing Song. Or for not buying enough cover. Or for whatever you want to be angry for.

But getting angry at Diaby is pointless. He’s not going to be sold now. He’s under contract until 2015. And so, I’m guessing he will be making yet another comeback. Sometime around January 2014. Probably when I’m over for another game.

Qq

48 thoughts on “The Short Unhappy Career of Abou Diaby

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    I’ve commented on this in a previous entry and there’s nothing more to add, really: it’s sad and so unlucky for all concerned. I am certain there is some as yet undiscovered going on with Diaby’s physiology.

    One thing again, this story again spotlights a truly unsavoury aspect of footy culture in the manic abuse of an unfortunately injury-prone player by supporters of his own club.

    I’ll never understand this kind of vicious and puerile acting out in public even if we don’t win anything for the next hundred years (a hundred knocks on wood).

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    If someone couldn’t find the heart to have sympathies for him, than they are out of order. From what I’ve seen, to feel a little like how Diaby feel right now, It’s like we were getting payed to play Fifa for a year and only get to play that more or less 11 times a YEAR. Even if we’re not getting payed, we still would love to play it and when not playing it, we’re getting frustrated. Its like that, we want to play,but we can’t because of the circumstances. For those who don’t play Fifa, change it to browse the internet. It’s like hell on earth and that is what Diaby more or less feel.

  3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1BWG

    Thanks for this article, Tim. Diaby seems to be the current scapegoat for fans’ frustrations and once that mantle has been bestowed, it’s bloody hard to shake off. Diaby’s performances during his latest “comeback” have been ineffective, but what can you expect from a player that gets so little game time? It takes MANY games to come back from from the kind of layoff(s) Diaby has had to endure. Rosicky’s return from his seemingly endless knee problems had me tearing my hair out (another sadly ineffective practice) as he constantly misplaced passes and failed to read teammates’ runs, yet he was arguably our best midfield player by the end of last season and had some storming games (can’t understand why he’s been played so sparingly this season… Cazorla maybe?). It may be too late for Diaby given that he can’t seem to stay healthy for long enough to re-acquire any kind of sharpness to his game, but you’re right, we aren’t going to sell him and slagging him off is clearly both unfair and counter-productive.

  4. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1caveat emptor

    Amen to that. Not only is getting angry at Diaby pointless, it is unwarranted. And downright mean.

    1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1alabamagooner

      “And downright mean”. That just gets to the heart of it. It’s one thing to be a bully behind the anonymity of the Internet, although I really don’t understand that behavior either. But to hurl abuse and obscenities at a player when you KNOW they can hear you? What kind of person are you? How do you get any joy at all out of life, much less out of watching football? People say players are paid well, they should just get over it. Well, paid well or not, they’re people, too. And no one deserves that kind of treatment. Not Diaby, not Gervinho, not Ramsey, nor whomever the next scapegoat will be.

  5. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Dick Swiveller

    ‘Be angry that Jack Wilshere is now receiving the same treatment. Be very fucking angry about that last thing because you know what? Jack will be next.’

    Wenger should mention this after every game where Wilshere is kicked and the refs ignore it, I can’t be angry about it any more, it’s just happened so often; we don’t get the breaks other teams do but get…erm…breaks instead.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

      It’s easy to feed into the Gooner paranoid fantasies about Wilshere being a target. Except it’s not. Paranoid or a fantasy. It’s very real. I have no choice but to believe that what goes around comes around and that our day will come.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1highburyterracesteve

    Thanks for this Tim…. There is no player I root for more than Abou Diaby and I’ll do it again when he makes his next comeback…. I hope it’s in an Arsenal shirt, but I wonder….

    Personally, I think there’s a racist element at work in blaming Diaby. Eduardo is dark but not as dark as Diaby, plus, of course, he’s a diver. He was saved from similar invective by being frozen out and sold.

    Ramsey is white (but Welsh, which does matter….) and fans certainly have gotten on him. Still, it was only after more than a full season of extreme ineffectiveness. In my opinion he’s suffered a lot from losing that year and a half from his career. I haven’t studied any videos or anything, but I think Aaron’s running style has changed from before the injury. To me he seems less effective at “cornering” (angulating on his legs and and making small changes of direction). Being a player with less than perfect technical ability it affects his game significantly…. Still, the relative patience of supporters for Ramsey has been far greater than for Diaby….

    Over this interlull I participated in a discussion (elsewhere) about the solidity of the Arsenal defense in the past two matches which compared them to the early season clean sheets. I noted that one commonality was that Wilshere didn’t participate while Diaby did. Now we’ve got neither and hopefully Ramsey and Arteta can do the job with Jack returning at full throttle sooner than later. It’s a critical period and 3 points is a whole lot easier if we don’t leak goals….
    Could it be time for the manager to try either TV5 or LK6 in a holding role or maybe Le Coq will get a run.

  7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    I’ve made my thoughts known on Arseblog News, but briefly: 1) I feel bad for Diaby. 2) I feel frustrated that we continue to pay a player who cannot contribute. I think the problem some Gooners have is the inability to see that those two opinions can held simultaneously without any demonizing of the player, and I was pleased that Arseblog essentially made that very point in today’s post.

    But here’s something else I’m curious about: Do you guys get mad when people say “we should never have awarded Diaby a new contract in 2010?” I’ve said that very comment face-to-face with several Gooners, and all of them have agreed. It was foolish of the club. However, I’ve noticed that on the internet, there’s this weird moral righteousness that rises where people claim I’m being insensitive, and seem to say, in effect, that we should award contracts out of sympathy rather than contribution.

    Would any one of you be sad if this July, Diaby was out of contract at Arsenal? If you say yes, I imagine it’s because you think Diaby will one day come good, in which case, I have to wonder if that’s a sensible expectation.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

      As I’ve said previously, Diaby through no fault is own is a huge liability for the club. From a purely self-serving standpoint we should have NEVER re-signed the poor guy. We did and we we’ve paid the price (over and over I might add).

    2. +8 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

      I actually don’t agree with you about the new contract in 2010. In the ’07-’08 season, he made 28 appearances. In the ’08-’09 season it was 36. The ’09-’10 season saw him appear 40 times (these are in all competitions, mind you). In 2010, he was 24 years old and his appearance trend was on the up. He’s tremendously gifted physically and in terms of skill. If you put yourself in 2010 and had seen this phenomenal talent, seen him wrecked by an incompetent idiot, but then saw him work hard and fight to make 40 appearances in a season, wouldn’t you say that his talent was worth the bet? The bet didn’t work out. That’s all. He’s made 39 appearances in the seasons since then. It just didn’t work out. Arsenal have been just as unlucky as Diaby. Well… not AS unlucky. The new contract was a totally rational bet that I’d make again and again. The decision was right. The outcome was skewed because of bad luck, basically.

      Now the decision to rely on Diaby in THIS season and not replace Song? No one will be able to convince me that that was a sane decision. That’s absolute craziness.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Dick Swiveller

        Aye, Diaby was looking like he was at least useful at that point.

        The crazy thing about not replacing Song, is that Ramsey is doing a great job there now, he should have been replaced but we’re pretty well off in that position now (with a Diaby replacement in the summer).

        I completely agree with Bunburyist too, I thought last summer was the time when he should have gone or at least been replaced, if I’m being honest but it doesn’t diminish the annoyance at missing what Diaby could have been.

      2. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

        Thanks for the article Tim, so many Arsenal folks have this bizarre version of the world where every good decision works out and every bad outcome is the result of a bad decision… that’s just not the case. There is always risk and uncertainty, and you can’t wish Nasri and RVP and all the others had more time on their contracts while being unhappy that Diaby has years left on his… Of course it was a good decision in 2010. He has special talent, he always did. He has always had a special blend of power, technique, and willingness to battle (which is why he gets kicked so much, opponents don’t like the way he pushes them around). He has struggled at times, but almost always it has been when he was coming back from injury, and once he has games he plays very, very well. Everyone, every single Arsenal fan wishes Van Persie had more time on his contract last summer. But doing that would have involved giving him an even longer contract during his injury prone years… just like we did with Diaby.

        I can’t understand Bunburyist’s logic on this one. It’s not about sensitivity, it’s about rewarding a special talent who is showing the dedication and professionalism to try to overcome the injuries… and as Gooner NC detailed, at the time it looked like he would succeed. Was it 2 or 3 years ago he spent the summer working with that track coach trying to rebuild his muscular balance? It hasn’t worked. That’s life. With Eduardo the club saw he had an issue with his ankle they thought he couldn’t overcome and they let him go. With RVP and Diaby they kept them (hell, even Clichy couldn’t stay healthy at first). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But they have shown they will pull the trigger when they think a guy is done, and keep them when they think they have the attitude and ability to make it… that’s the best I can ask for.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        I’m certainly not the first to point out that Arsenal went through a rather moribund period of awarding lucrative contracts to players who had yet to prove themselves. Diaby was among those in that period, as was Denilson, Bendtner, and several others whom we are having or had trouble getting rid of.

        For the most part (please note “most part”), this policy of rewarding young, relatively unproven players with contracts roughly equal to senior players at other clubs, has been a failure. Denilson was a “special talent” too. But can you think of another club with top four aspirations that would reward players in this way before they had ever meaningfully and consistently contributed on the pitch?

        I also think some of the comments above are magnifying Diaby’s contribution prior to his new contract. Even in December 2010, when he seemingly miraculously lasted a long stretch of games, Diaby polarized opinion. Some thought he was garbage, others thought he was special. I point this out only to say that it’s not abundantly clear that the club made a wise decision in January 2010, even in the midst of rewarding other half-baked gems.

        I won’t quibble about the hindsight issue (“that’s life”), but neither was I offering my hypothetical as anything other than such, and I did so in an effort to try to understand why some people express indignation at any negative comment made about Diaby’s contribution to our club.

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        (Would it make a difference if every time someone said “Diaby was never that good,” they added the caveat, “but of course it’s not his fault that he got crocked!”? Maybe this is all just a matter of difference of opinion about how good you thought Diaby was or was going to be. Personally, I thought Diaby was a one-trick pony who happened to have a trick that was eye-catching (that spin-around thing he did) and so made him popular with a certain set of fans whose eye was caught; that was it; otherwise, I saw surges and no end product, and a lot of lost possession. Personally, I think Ramsey is a better player. The really stupefying thing is that if you had said this very thing a week ago, no one would have batted an eyelid; in fact, they might have agreed; but now, because of this ACL thing, it’s off limits.)

      5. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

        Other top 4 clubs have the luxury to cast off players or take them on based on immediate form. They can do this because they have cash. We’re almost there now, but in 2010, this really wasn’t an option. We had to find inefficiencies to gain advantages. At that point, we attempted to exploit younger, unproven players and their cheaper contract demands and hope that we hit on some really special players (like Cesc). It didn’t work out. It’s not a bad strategy, though.

        Now, whether or not you ever thought Diaby was special is a different question entirely. That’s pretty much a subjective topic, unless you have data about his quality of play. I don’t. I just remember I really liking his game. I think he’s a guy who changes the axis of passing and make it all go vertical instead of sideways. Of course, he also had stuff that drove me crazy, like dwelling on the ball at times. So I never thought he was a perfect player, but he was so young, I certainly was a fan of keeping him around and developing him. Now? Not so much.

        And yeah, I like Ramsey more than I ever liked Diaby. So, of course, I think it’s a great decision to keep him. Remember when we were talking about Ramsey as Cesc’s replacement one day? Then that “good guy” “went for the ball” and “totally accidentally” snapped his leg. And OUR OWN FANS decided to chew him up and spit him out last season when he was played in crazy positions being asked to do things I’m not sure he was ever good at. I’ve always loved Ramsey. Probably too much, I admit. But I’m glad we placed that bet and gave him a contract extension. Let’s hope it works out better than Abou.

      6. Vote -1 Vote +1BayGooner

        Can I think of another club wth top 4 aspirations, et et etc? Yup. Almost all of them.

        How about players like Anderson, Nani, Jordon Henderson, and Andy Carroll, just to name four in a hurry. Chelsea is full of such people, and has been. As has Liverpool, and, apparently, City, if rumors of a clean-out are to be believed.

    3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Do you know that Diaby has played more games than Rosicky? Do you think Arsenal shouldn’t have awarded Rosicky a new contract in 2012? Was that sensible given his injury history? Did you know that Rosicky was out for four months with an achilles injury right after he signed his new deal?

      It’s weird to me how these two players have received such widely different criticism but yet they are very similar in terms of contribution, contract, injury history, etc. The main difference being that Wenger took a punt on a 24 year old coming good and a 31 year old staying good. I’m not a Diabyist or anything but there’s definitely something strange about the way people criticize him.

      Also, I’m not sure who all these people are you keep talking about that won’t let you criticize Diaby. From what I’ve seen, the majority are down on the kid and very vocal about it.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        I remember similar criticism of Rosicky. For a few years, he was known as “Rosicknote.”

        Anyway, for me, Rosicky’s a better player.

        As for the people who shout down criticism of Diaby, I was speaking generally of reactions in other threads.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    He will come back. Maybe a bit stronger by January 2014. Diaby keeps coming back. He will only be 27. There is the promise of 3 to 4 good years after that.
    Even that would be worth the length of his career as a Gooner. He is no Dutch skunk, and I hope he will stay healthy and be the backbone of the team for a few years.
    I wish Diaby a speedy recovery and hope he is channeling Adrian Peterson throughout

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    I have nothing but love for Abou. It would be so hard not to feel deeply bitter towards Dan Smith and whatever hex has been placed on him. I hope this is his last injury and he finds some games somewhere that people can enjoy his skill. He’s a fantastic player when he’s fit. IF he’s ever fit again.

  10. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    Great post, Tim. Diaby has been one of my very favourite players since he arrived at Arsenal, and while he has been frustrating, it’s really not his fault at all. To even still be playing at all at this level after the treatment he has received is an achievement in itself.

    Let’s not forget; the Dan Smith tackle was only given a yellow. The Paul Robinson tackle was not even called a foul. Essien’s tackle wasn’t called as a foul if I recall correctly. Barton’s tackle was roundly supported by English commentators as a good solid tackle.

    Expect this sort of thing to continue as long as the FA is completely incompetent at punishing brutal tackles retrospectively; witness McManaman’s tackle recently, or Balotelli’s tackle on Song last season.

  11. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Uncle Mike

    Tim, if I hadn’t read that you were at Anfield when you heard that guy let loose his invective, I would have been sure you were at the Blind Pig in New York when you heard it, because that could easily have been me. Once Denilson (emphasis on the NIL) was gone, and could no longer absorb some of my “What the hell is this bum still doing in the Premier League?” rants, it seemed to all fall on Diaby.

    I’m sorry he keeps getting hurt. I know he’s trying. He seems like a decent person and a good teammate. It would have been nice if he had ever been as good as his supporters think he was.

    But, as Yogi Berra would say if this was his sport, “Even when he CAN play, he can’t play.” Diaby has never grasped the concept of passing the ball to the players wearing the same color uniform as you. He doesn’t have the shooting rate or the scoring rate that a midfielder should have. Calling what he does “defense” would be like calling Barcelona hairdos “stylish.” And that own-goal header against Man United? If I’d been in Old Trafford that day, I’d be in a British prison today, because I would have killed Diaby. I wanted to beat him to death with my bare hands. (So it’s a good thing I was at Mulligan’s in Hoboken, New Jersey.)

    Good guy, bad luck, but also bad player, “The next Vieira”? Which Vieira would that be, Meredith? Put it this way: If Diaby had TRIED to knock Terry out, he would have missed; with Vieira, you’d have known damn well it was no accident.

  12. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    This is one of those posts that is so wrong normally I just -1 and move on… but I did want to point out the things that were easy to check. His pass % this season is 87.6%. Such an easy stat to check before you say he can’t pass to people in his color shirt. He only gets dribbled as often as Per and Verm. While I don’t have the easy to see stats to prove it, he used to have a cannon shot, but his confidence there is clearly shot (probably partially result of that amazing Arsenal “support”). I’m stopping. You can cite his bad moments, I can cite his good. But while you’re saying this stuff, ask yourself why. Why are you determined to tear down a guy who as you admit is a good guy and a good teammate, without even checking the easy things to check, that show that at least some of your statements are complete crap. If the first criticism you have is so completely wrong, maybe you should re-examine the rest.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      Does he really need to answer why? Isn’t it obvious? We all have different opinions about how good a given player is, and we come on sites like this because we like talking about our club and its players.

      I don’t understand your confusion at all. Maybe you should ask yourself why you think it’s not okay to criticize Diaby’s performance for the club. The pathos-laden comments about his injury troubles have nothing to do with commenting on how well or poorly he played even when he was fully fit for a spell.

      Beating a guy while he’s down? You act like we’re the ones yelling at him in the games to break a leg. We’re on an internet site debating the merits of a player.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1alabamagooner

        “The really stupefying thing is that if you had said this very thing a week ago, no one would have batted an eyelid” – from one of your earlier posts

        I think you may have hit on it right there. What makes me uncomfortable is the timing of the comments. If I find out a co-worker of mine has taken ill, and likely will not be able to continue in his job, that is not the time I say, “Well, he never really did any work anyway”, even if that’s what I think. Even if I never liked him, and felt like I always had to cover for him and his work was crap, and I wish he had been fired years ago, I don’t say so when something unfortunate has happened to him.

        I realize it’s silly, and many others don’t feel this way, but these players do in a sense feel like real people to me. Like people I know. And it does feel like kicking Diaby when he’s down, and it makes me uncomfortable. That’s me. It’s not on you to change what you say, you have every right to say what you think. But you asked why people are expressing indignation. That’s my reason. You clearly don’t agree, and that’s fine. But your thinking it’s silly doesn’t change how I feel about it.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1alabamagooner

        Sure. For what it’s worth, I never thought you were one who would ever say something as horrible as wishing Diaby would break his leg. That’s just over the top. Anyway, what is it they say about opinions? Like assholes, everybody’s got one. And I rarely disagree with yours, especially when it includes the words “I think Ramsey is a better player”. We all know where I stand on that subject. :)

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

        While I agree with you, Burn about the polarized opinion of Diaby performances on the pitch, I have to say for these replies, I don’t. If it’s about you criticizing Diaby because of his one trick pony (which I don’t agree with), that is still Ok. But Uncle Mike description is not about criticizing, it’s about the defense of him to SLATE Diaby. Slate him or any other player personally, you can get off with it, but publicly (in the internet or not), don’t expect that.

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

        No, I don’t think it’s obvious. That was my point. I didn’t reply because he doesn’t like Diaby, plenty of people don’t. I replied because the criticisms he leveled at Diaby were blatantly wrong… at least the ones I could easily check and show. That was why it was so confusing. A guy with an 87% pass rate can obviously pass just fine. A guy who only gets dribbled as much as the CBs yet plays as a defensive shield can probably play some defense. So when I look at the passionate dislike of him displayed above, coupled with what I think are completely fabricated criticisms, yeah, I wonder why… especially when he said Diaby seems like a good guy. Why would you make up reasons to not like an Arsenal player, a professional teammate, and seemingly a nice guy? I legitimately don’t get it.

        I replied to your question above about the contracts because I thought it was a fair question and I tried to lay out my defense of it convincingly. I liked your replies, except the part about the defense of him being because he was recently injured. That’s just not the case. I defended him on here just after the Swansea game when I thought people were slating him unfairly. Him being injured now has nothing to do with it. If he’s crap, he’s crap. His biggest problem is consistency,which I think is a result of being judged while he plays his way back, time after time. Sometimes he does look lazy, but again, I think that is usually a result of lack of match fitness. His problems this season with being afraid to pull the trigger and shoot are completely confidence based from being out so long. He never used to have that. But all those are legitimate issues he has. Pass percentage? Not a problem for him. Tackling? The stats I have seem to indicate he’s at least ok.

        I never said anything about beating a guy while he’s down. Maybe you’re getting me confused with some other people on here. I don’t know. But my point was that if you are going to slate a player the way some do (and did), shouldn’t you at least have a valid reason? It’s not an opinion to say he can’t pass to his own team… it’s a question of fact. That’s why I took such issue.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Jaymin

    Shame for Diaby, but he’ll be back. hopefully this grievously extensive period of reconstruction and rehabilitation will see the itinerant recurrent kinks washed away with finality, and he’ll return to the majestic displays he is capable of. i’ve always been a fan of his, his ability to get a counter going caught my eye (our first goal in the 2-2 away at Villa on Boxing Day ’09, man : ) and he’s been a fave of mine. wish he’d chosen to release Walcott in the Nou Camp rather than screw it all up by passing to Bendtner, but meh. Those who abuse our players on the pitch are just sah holes, no use appealing to them, and maybe pointless or dangerous trying to understand them.

  14. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

    Diaby is a supremely talented player. Refer to Serge Gnabry’s statement at the start of the season about who he felt was the most talented player. I think his talent and ability aren’t really something which was ever in doubt. But talent alone doesn’t make a player. Mentality is something else. And I guess that question mark always hung over him. It’s not like he’s had many opportunities to dispel that perception.

    But he was just 19 when his leg was broken. I myself suffered 2 ACL tears before i was 20. Although it was nothing as traumatic as having an ankle broken, it definitely affected me, not just on the field, but as a person. I suspect the first injury was easy enough to get back from, but as the injuries kept piling up, Diaby probably faced many self doubts, and these permeated onto the field even when his body allowed him to play. These led to some mistakes being made, which in turn led an ever impatient Arsenal support to pick on him as a bad player. Constantly being kicked out of the game didn’t help, and Barton’s ‘challenge’ on him in the 4-4 was disgusting. Diaby’s reaction was well justified, and quite tame actually. Amazingly, some Arsenal fans blame him for that result instead of Dowd. Diaby was having a fantastic game that day. And he’s had a few of those. But obviously if he keeps missing games, his form doesn’t pick up. Sadly, his body doesn’t seem to last long enough now.

    Selling him will be tough anyway. I think we should just regard him as a bonus player, but plan to get in other players as replacements. I am angered by the hatred towards Diaby. I am frustrated that the strategy for overpaying/paying on potential is villified (especially since it’s managed to achieve the minimum of top 4), and I am constantly disgusted by the football authorities’ attitude towards dangerous tackling. Is Wilshere next? Not if he moves clubs because as we’re told every day for so many years, Arsenal aren’t ‘ambitious enough’. Move to ManU, and he;ll never be kicked and have free rein to fly into players, with his only punishment being a snicker from the commentators. Gaah..

    At least we should win today against Reading. Although beware the new manager syndrome.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Need a 2nd and that goes without saying. Sp**s are scoring for fun but we can gain on Chelsea.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Great smile on Arteta’s face after a nice passing move by The Arsenal. We can all enjoy our football today.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    Happy day. For anyone else who refused to pay for Fox Soccer 2 Go, it’s going to be shown tonight at 730 eastern on Fox Soccer.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1alabamagooner

      5:30 eastern, I think craig? Or at least it’s showing here as being on at 4:30, and I’m on central time.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Hat trick today. Arsenal win, AC Milan win and NY Red Bulls get their first win of the season with Henry scoring a sublime goal for the winner. There are strikers but there will only ever be one Henry.

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