Arsenal - Diaby To Fill Song Shaped Hole?
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Diaby To Fill Song Shaped Hole?

In form Abou Diaby says he's happy to try and filled the void being left by Alex Song as he departs for the African cup of Nations.

Diaby's transformation from a slow thinking incompetent, to fleet footed man of the match has been nothing short of amazing, and whilst it's plainly obvious that he could revert back to his old self just as quickly as he came good, it's still very pleasing to see such a promising player fulfill some of his potential.

With his greatly improved performances comes a new sense of confidence, confidence that he can do anything he sets his mind to, and with the loss of Alex Song to the ACN, the leggy Frenchman is ready to shoulder the responsibility of the role of a fellow player who overcame the wrath of the fickle Goooners to become one of the first names on the team sheet.

'I will talk about that with the manager and if he wants me to play in that position, I am happy to do it,we will see what happens. Alex is a very important player in our team. Because he is going, we have to replace him and make sure we do the same job without him.' said Diaby.

If he believes he can do it then who am I to argue with him?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 4 2010

Time: 11:13AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
He would only have to do it if Denilson is still out injured. He would find it easier to play Denilson's role than Song's though neither come naturally to him. One way or another we're going to find out just how successfully he can play which role.
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04/01/2010 11:30:00

Whilst he might be able to play Denilson's role better than he can Song's role, wouldn't it be better have just one player playing out of "position" ... or do you reckon the difference would really be that great?
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04/01/2010 11:32:00

Imagine what Diaby would have been now had it not been for injuries
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04/01/2010 11:48:00

The difference might not be that great but I reckon that Denilsons defensive instincts will be better than Diaby's. Diaby would still have to rein in his attacking instincts but not to the same degree. It's less of a change of position for both players probably. That's my theory but who knows? - maybe Abou would be a dynamite holding player.
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04/01/2010 11:55:00

Diaby couldn't possibly be asked to play that role. It would be suicidal. he can only just play a slightly defensive role at the moment, way off having the defensive nous to play further back. Denilson will be fine and we will not miss Song.
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04/01/2010 11:56:00

If he can retain discipline I think he can do it. He can definately tackle, it's just being able to hold his position ..... I'm sure he could have the will power if he really tried. That said, I think Amos probably has it right.
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04/01/2010 12:01:00

I think even with the absence of Song, it's good that we still have competition in there owing to Ramsey's current good form, he too could play Denilson's role I think. But what is true is that, like Diaby, he would have to reign in some of his more prominent instincts. Due to his experience, Diaby would probably be better placed to do that at the moment. As Wenger says, we will have to find a different balance, but Denilson played Song's role for most of last season until it became apparent that Denilson and Song together is a very effective axis. Diaby is such a good presence going forward and yesterday, when he came on, Ramsey did sit a little deeper and allow Diaby to go forward. The option for variety is there and to switch during matches. That's been the biggest success of the 4-3-3 I think, the forward positions and midfield positions are easily switched during matches which might explain why it's more notable that our substitutions have been more effective. The formation does not need to be changed during matches, only the functions within it and I think that allows subs and players who've started the match to interact more instantaneously. For instance, in the Villa game, Diaby was the most attacking of the midfield three, once Fabregas came on he sat back and when Cesc had to come off he became the most prominent again. Having a constant formation that allows such fluidity is a huge advantage compared to last season when we were preparing for two semi finals with brand new formations because we still didn't know our best system.
Little Dutch
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04/01/2010 12:14:00

from a neutral point of view i dont think diaby has the defensive accumen of replacing song. however he is a good player and will be able to slot into the side and do well.
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04/01/2010 13:21:00

I hope Den gets fit as I wouldn't like to see Diaby in a holding role when he's creative play and piercing runs are having such a great impact right now.
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04/01/2010 13:48:00

I think it says a lot about both Diaby and Ramsey that the latter is asked to be a more defensive player when the two start together. That's not a swipe at Diaby because defending intelligently is just not one of his attributes yet.
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04/01/2010 14:14:00

I don't think Diaby will be playing that position for too long until Denilson comes back at least and against Bolton and Everton at home it shouldn't be a problem. But the three consecutive matches we play our big four rivals we will need a more disciplined player in that position.
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04/01/2010 14:37:00

I have to agree with Tom on this one. Diaby can tackle pretty well, but I don't think he's got the defensive mentality to know when to cover the fullback and when to got tight or stand off. He'd just get passed around with ease. I personally think his independent-mindedness is one of his best atributes, especially in the position he is now playing. When he wants to drive forward he can because he's got Song and Denilson/Ramsey to cover for him, and it's easier for him to track back, because he has the luxury of knowing that it's not his job to cover any area in particular, he just goes where he thinks he can win the ball back most easily.
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04/01/2010 14:50:00

Getting Song ready to play as quickly as possible after the ACN is of monumental importance, with the games we have early late Jan and early Feb. I just really hope Cameroon do badly - sorry Alex. Also, with only Kerrea Gilbert, who, in my opinion, isn't up to the job, to cover for Sagna, and with so many games coming up, I really hope Bacy doesn't run himself out before Eboue gets back.
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04/01/2010 14:54:00

A mid field of Denilson, Diaby and Ramsey is pretty good with Denilson playing Song's role, Ramsey playing Denilson's role and Diaby playing ahead. With Cesc and Rosicky back from injury, hopefully it gives us more options in mid field.
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04/01/2010 15:13:00

Could it be argued that Ramsey is playing better than Diaby and he should be first choice ahead of him when Cesc comes back? Its a thought worth considering.
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04/01/2010 15:37:00

Rocky, Diaby's tackles will draw fouls 80% of the times as against Denilson's, which usually are clean or well disguised. Amos is right; it is a no brainer who replaces Song, as Denilson is best suited for it and if he is injured, we may have to tinker with the team balance and consider a defender with the right skill set to cope with the holding role. In such a case, wenger will need to field two other midfielders with offensive disposition, to press the opposition and reduce the pressure on the defense. It may be tough starting out, but I feel the players have been preparing for Song's departure and should take little time adapting to the changed role plays.
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04/01/2010 16:02:00

Aren't almost all of us saying the same thing? lol Den can play the Song role as the most DM-skewed midfielder, Diaby the Den role (50/50 between attack and defence), Ramsey the Cesc role (more attacking)? Alternatively, Ramsey to sit slightly deeper (Den role) and Diaby to go forward more (Cesc role)? I agree with all of these points. :D
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04/01/2010 16:04:00

Tom14, Ramsey over Diaby (with Cesc back) is a thought, but is unlikely to happen this season. The kid is still growing into his own and does need to be allowed to do just that.
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04/01/2010 16:08:00

haha Lou! it certainly does look as though everyone is saying the same thing! For further proof... for those who can re-watch the Wolves match, we started the game with Song on the bench and a midfield of Cesc, Ramsey, and Diaby with Diaby playing the more defensive role. For the first 25 minutes of the match we were being overrun by Wolves in central midfield, then Diaby was injure and Song came and we completely dominated the rest of the match. The point here being that both Diaby and Ramsey are too similar, both were neglecting some defensive responsibility and so either could have been replaced by Song and our performance would have improved.
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04/01/2010 16:39:00

The basis principle of this argument - Denilson, get yo ass back on the pitch!
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04/01/2010 17:17:00

Pretty much, Tom. Plus Rosicky and Bendtner.
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04/01/2010 18:10:00

Looks like bendtner will be back in full training tomorrow and is looking to make his comeback at Bolton
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04/01/2010 20:46:00

Next Bolton Game, DBerg
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04/01/2010 21:20:00

I think the best person for Sogs role is Craig Eastmond can play Song's role very well, but he will have to be eased into the role.
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05/01/2010 06:53:00

You can't say Craig Eastmond can play Songs role very well when the kids never played a premier league game? I think our only decent 2 defensive midfielders are Song and Denilson and Diaby is very dodgy in that roll. We struggle without one of the 2, without either of them it's gonna be very hard.
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05/01/2010 10:29:00

Yep, Eastmond should play there based on his one appearance, rather than Denilson's 50+ games over the last two season's.
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05/01/2010 11:34:00

It seems Le Boss has decided Denilson is the man for the job:
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05/01/2010 23:06:00

Like I said, it is an easy enough decision; a no-brainer!
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06/01/2010 02:57:00

Ever since this boy first came to us I thought he would be special. I was gutted when that thug snapped his ankle in half! He was just starting to show glimpses of something special. Even with his very below par performances over the last season or so. I tipped him to come out of his shell last season (which he didn't!)....seems I was not far off though. Diaby is a confidence player who has to believe in his ability, which when he does he is devastating! I just hope he keeps this belief that he has, and grows from strength to strength. I REALLY believe this boy can be that viera type, marauding midfielder with power and strength that we have missed. Although he will get a lot more goals then Pat did. He just needs to keep believing he is as good as he is!
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06/01/2010 05:57:00


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