Gunners reincarnated midfielder Abou Diaby believes he is not Alex Song’s replacement but is more of the Yaya Toure mould – a deep lying powerful playmaker.
The French international who has an injury record as long as his legs has finally regained full fitness and starred in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. He managed only four substitute appearances in the Premier League league last season due to consistent injuries but he is looking better than ever and will be keen to make his spot in the first XI permanent.
Much criticism has been laid on the 26-year-old however Wenger continually placed his faith in the injury prone midfielder, who suffered a horrendous ankle break in 2006 and struggled to string many games together.
Arsene Wenger stated Diaby and the returning Jack Wilshere are the replacements for Alex Song who departed last month, however Diaby see’s himself more than a defensive midfielder – someone who can power forward when given the chance but still fulfills the defensive duties.
He told reporters.
In our teams, Yaya Toure and me have very similar roles.
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I am not like Alex Song. We have many players who can take his place like Francis Coquelin or Mikel Arteta, who likes to play deep. I want to get forward – that’s me.
I have defensive duties as well so I need to have a good shape defensively and, as soon as we get the ball, go forward.
I have to thank the manager because I have had tremendous support and as a player it is really important to have that support.
Support from your team-mates as well – I have to say that during this period, they helped a lot.
I want to enjoy myself because I love football and to pay back the club, manager and team-mates as well.
Mentally it was a hard time but I love football. Football is my passion so it doesn’t matter what happened, I need to look forward and that is what I have done in this situation.
He really is like a new signing, the lanky Frenchman was exceptional and can actually gather some serious pace when given the space to gallop. Diaby was brilliant on the ball and was instrumental at breaking down Liverpool’s attacking play while also being the link from out of the Gunners penalty box to Cazorla.
Arteta too played a solid game, he used to be a defensive midfielder at Rangers so the role is not unfamiliar but paired with Diaby there are both essentially deep laying playmakers with the emphasis on defensive duties.
Alex Song started to become more like Yaya Toure last season, contributing a bucket load of valuable assists, this is something that Diaby will start to produce if he can keep up his blistering form from Anfield and getting on the scoresheet wouldn’t hurt either!
What are your thoughts? Are you happy to see Wenger’s faith paying off? Feel free to comment below or in allArsenal’s forum under Diaby’s thread – register and comment to go into the draw to win Arsenal’s away shirt.