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Arsene Admits Diaby Gamble

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.'

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

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Monday October 1 2012
Time: 9:40AM


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.
01/10/2012 10:09:00
I think that’s exactly it. For the talk of shared responsibility with RvP gone- and I agree it’s 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
01/10/2012 10:15:00
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
01/10/2012 10:16:00
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.
01/10/2012 11:28:00
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.
01/10/2012 12:00:00
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).
01/10/2012 12:35:00
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.
01/10/2012 13:25:00
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
01/10/2012 13:57:00
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.
01/10/2012 14:04:00
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.
01/10/2012 14:20:00
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