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Arsene Admits Diaby Gamble

Arsene Wenger has admitted that he took a risk on Abou Diaby's fitness when he decided not to replace Alex Song, who was sold to Barcelona this summer. Diaby, 26, has suffered a torrid time with injuries since a bad ankle break in 2006, but Wenger had rather hoped that Diaby's injury woes were behind him so that he could step into the void left by Song.

'Diaby's injury record is not good,' said Wenger after Diaby was replaced early in the first half of Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea.

'I was concerned about him, of course. It was a gamble but I was calculating as well that Jack Wilshere was coming back.

'Francis Coquelin is here but was sick and Emmanuel Frimpong is back, while Tomas Rosicky is coming back. We have many midfield players. We don't have many physical players.

'But Mikel Arteta has shown he can be a great defensive midfield player. We'll see overall if it was a good or bad decision at the end of the season.'




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday October 1 2012

Time: 9:40AM

Your Comments

Frimpong's a physical player - a little too physical at times - but I think Arteta has been far more effective using his brain to defend than Song ever was using brawn. The gamble isn't that we don't have players who can replace Song's (or Diaby's) physical prowess it is that we don't have midfielders who can replace Arteta's nous on the pitch when we don't have the ball.
Amos.
I think thats exactly it. For the talk of shared responsibility with RvP gone- and I agree its there in the attacking third- I think if Arteta gets injured for a significant period of time, a huge gap will appear in the squad. A lot depends on him staying fit.
Little Dutch
We'd be absolutely fecked, physicality is definitely important though, could've done with Diaby at the set pieces. Frimpong.... naaah not for me, i know some of the kids love him, I think he's a bit of a *****, and not actually that good
shewore
Arteta is definately the lynchpin of that midfield. We all but fell to pieces when he got injured towards the end of last season. He's our new invisible wall. That said, the sooner Jack is back the better, though I wouldn't like to see him rushed only to be out again.
Rocky7
Coquelin is our best hope if Arteta gets injured. He was our best player in the carling cup match last week. Frimpong has potential but lacks maturity. I think we have enough options in midfield and Diaby's injury should not keep him out for too long hopefully.
bowiecokemirror
Such a shame about Diaby; but I feel it is key that we should not fear playing him as long as he is fit so as to get more out of him and help him regain full fitness. I couldn't help seeing how disappointed he felt when he felt he couldn't continue and signaled the bench, yet he did carry on for a bit like nothing was wrong. He has desire and that is enough for me.

As for the team without Arteta, that's a difficult one to even conjecture. How we didn't go for him much earlier, I wouldn't know as he would have made the switch for regular CL football, had we made the call. You can't help but think he has the kind of grit needed to break the trophy jinx; probably our most composed player, whose every pass, run, tackle and positioning is almost always well thought out, whether taking advantage of an opponent out of position, calming an onslaught, covering up for an overlapping defender or buying time, when we need to. Fantastic addition. As a replacement. If he is injured, I will also go for Coquelin, in the absence of Diaby (with him, the formation will have to change to accommodate his occasional brain farts).
Naijagunner
Coquelin has the quality to play the same role as Arteta. Yennaris and Frimpong could also do the job but lack experience. Ramsey, Wilshere and Diaby I think are competing for the same position as a box to box midfielder with both defensive and attacking duties. Rosicky and Cazorla (along with Arshavin maybe) are going to be our playmakers with mostly creative responsibilities. I think we have enough options there to keep us covered for the season.
bowiecokemirror
Coquelin is a very good prospect. But if you're talking about winning the league for instance, is Coquelin (yet) a league winning defensive midfield player? Or Frimpong? Not so sure.
Little Dutch
You are always going to be weaker if you lose your first choice player and Arteta clearly is that in his position. I've been impressed with Coquelin and he isn't a bad second option.
bowiecokemirror
Of course. Coquelin is only suggested as a back up, should 1st choice Arteta be rested or injured. Nearly every side will go through such periods and you have to fancy your stand-ins to do the job too.
Naijagunner
Don't get me wrong, I think Coquelin is a superb prospect and I'm glad to have him. But if Arteta does a cruciate tomorrow and Coquelin has to play for the rest of the season, we'd be a lot weaker for it. Not least because Coquelin isn't really the same type of player as Arteta, we don't have another with his skillset.
Little Dutch
I agree, LD. Coq can't replace all of the qualities of Arteta and won't give one confidence if he has to play for a long stretch. Why? Even Carzola will be affected and, by extension. The whole team. However. We have to work with the premise it could happen and have a different shape when that time comes. For now, I wish Arteta an injury free next 2 seasons!
Naijagunner
It's not possible for any of our young players, whether Coquelin or whoever, to acquire the qualities that Arteta has playing for Arsenal. They'd need to spend a few seasons playing for a team like Everton or similar. Good teams that don't expect to dominate possession and whose players learn how to cope without the ball for the majority of the game.
Amos.
No, sure. What I was getting at. We don't have anything approaching a replacement for what Arteta brings.
Little Dutch
Jack?
Wyn Mills
Not defensively, not yet.
Little Dutch
Well I think this a good month to lose both Diaby and Arteta. We'll get the chance to play our back ups against 'weaker' teams and at home in the CL and maybe give them a run out against Reading to get them up to speed for Man U
No 10
From looking there are a lot of mid field options (in numbers) to being screwed if one of our 1st choice is injured. I think we're somewhere in the middle. Arteta and Cazorla are much better than other options in the squad and I think we can cope without one of them for a short period, but if one of them is out for a long period (more than 2 months), then we will be in trouble. The question mark remains with Diaby's fitness and whether we can take a gamble on him for longer.
prits
As I suggested in another thread it's my view that Chelsea didn't have options as good as Cazorla and Arteta either. I wouldn't have swopped them on last weekends performance for any two they put out. Rosicky can do a job in place of Cazorla even though on present form you'd want Santi in. It's Arteta we don't really have cover for but then we haven't had his skillset since Gilberto left. You can compensate with energy a la Flamini up to a point .
Amos.
Do we give Santi a rest tomorrow? so as to give (I assume) Ramsey or AOC the chance to gain experience operating there and give Santi a rest?
No 10
Amos does have a point, re compensating for Arteta's stability and midfield Nous with energy or some other formation. It is a scary thought, though, to be without him for long periods. The way the players are kitted in the training pictures sometimes gives away the possible line-ups (basically, the 1st team strike force take on the 1st team defense, or as in this case, the possibles). From what was on show, Wenger will ring the changes; AOC is a sure starter while it seems Giroud may come from the bench again. Coquelin will certainly play a role as well.
Naijagunner
A trip to the Boleyn ground will be tasking and some of the players could do with the rest. Fat Sam will be looking to revert to his old game plan with us with Carrol returning on cue. We need to surprise him.
Naijagunner
 

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