Diaby, the final piece of the puzzle for Arsenal this season?
Did Wenger really play Cazorla in central midfield alongside Flamini against Galatasaray?
Well, for a man who has been in the business of making bold decisions for 18 years, you can hardly win an argument against his choice of personnel, given the limited options currently available to him. While we suffered no loss with the weird pair of sleek Santi and flaming Mattiue at home, Wenger would know better to not adopt the same at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. With the options in midfield really short, due to the absence of Ramsey and Arteta, and concerns over Wilshere, this may be the perfect game to unleash Abou Diaby again.
Diaby’s horrid times on the sidelines due to injuries has been well documented and having made his return in the League Cup defeat to Southampton, he’s now poised to play an integral role in our campaign this season. Wenger has suggested that he intends to use Diaby in the deep lying role, to take advantage of his attributes and modifying parts of his game to fill the gap many Gooners believe neither Arteta nor Flamini has been convincing enough to fill. In the face of the challenge to be posed by Chelsea, Sunday may not be a bad time to start him.
Against Southampton, Dibay was paired with Jack Wilshere in central midfield, with the English man playing just ahead of the 28 year old. He showed no tints on his excellent range of long passes, while his dribbling instincts were still very glaring. Koeman’s side played mostly from the wings and so there may not have been so much work for Diaby on the day. Chelsea, on the other hand, will present a different class of opposition.
Fabregas and Diego Costa are likely to be the threats from the middle positions for Chelsea and while the other three are likely to be deeper, Costa’s mobility, power and quick feet will require the keen attention of one who can quickly read his movement, matching him pound for pound in strength. Diaby may not be the last man behind the back four, but with Flamini for company, we will have two ‘bodies’ to give us some presence in midfield.
Nemanja Matic has been widely hailed due to the image of a stumbling block he poses for opponents, though he’s not necessarily the best marker of the ball. In like manner, Diaby even has a greater balance to his overall play, being capable of bringing as much in defence as he can do in attack. His long range passes were millimeters away from connecting with Alexis in that game, and with Welbeck considerably of greater height, he will have a more comfortable outlet for those hits.
One weakness may be in his tendency to give the ball away sometimes, which has cost us many times especially in big games. But with the responsibility of being the man to be relied on to keep possession, Diaby will likely adjust his game to suit the team. He has declared his readiness to adjust to that role, and a successful showing at Stamford Bridge may see us shelf the savings set apart for William Carvalho et al.
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