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Diaby has to be in the shadows, for now

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard or rather, read the interview that Arsene Wenger did on L’Equipe. Or if you can’t read French like I am as well, then thank god there’s Arseblognews who has come out with the translated interview without looking for a headline. It was an honest and yet very revealing interview. Whenever Wenger does one of these, it’s always certainly either with the Arsenal’s own interviewer or with the French press.

The answer to why he doesn’t be as open to the British media is simple. Just look at the way the interview was translated and the headlines that followed it. Some people just want to sensationalise the stories to grab attention. Capturing only quotes that makes sense to their headlines. Despite all the attention on their manager, it was good to see the team responded by disposing of Norwich with ease.

Wenger is the best judge of himself. A man of his knowledge and experience will know when’s the right time to step down. Until then, let’s just put our faith in him and let him get on with the job. Though weirdly that contradicts what I heard over at the Arsenalpodcast here, in the The Return of the Fynn episode.

There Alex Fynn talked about the time when David Dein was sacked and Wenger went to ask Dein if he should resign. That particular story reflects Wenger more as someone has is more dedicated to his friend than the club. I don’t know whether to belief this story or not. Make up your own mind on this.

Back on the pitch would be where Wenger would love to be, away from all those chatters and talks and just do what he loves to do. As a manager, Wenger’s work, especially at Arsenal has always been magical. A big part of that brilliance is down to his ability to find that gem of a player before anyone does.

That ability has saved the club a lot of transfer money and in some cases, earn us a lot of transfer money when we resell them. This ability also got us through the tough period during the transition from Highbury to the Grove. One of those player who fall under this particular category is Abou Diaby.

In today’s press conference, Wenger said that Diaby is back in the squad for the first time this season. Back in the squad meaning he will either be on the field or on the bench when the whistle is blown for the Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund. He will take the place of Tomas Rosicky who has a thigh strain.

With the departures in the summer and the arrivals at the end of August, Diaby has almost become like a forgotten man. Here was a player with all the potential in the world to be one of the best. A player with the physique and footballing capability to be rightly envied about. A modern day footballer who has the physicality to match the rugged side of football, and yet possesses a fantastic ability on the ball.

Things could’ve turned out very different for the still young-ish Diaby (who is 25 years old), had it not been for Dan Smith. Many of us don’t really recall names of players whose best period in professional football is 3 games for Sunderland. But we all remember this one because he’s the one who basically ruined Diaby’s career thus far with one idiotic tackle.

Since then, Diaby has never managed to get a consistent run of games in the Arsenal first team. Not because he lacked the capability to hold down a regular place but because the injuries kept coming. Some were due to other reasons but a majority of those was on the same ankle which suffered that horrific injury. It’s almost as if his body could not adapt back to the rigours of football.

But there’s still hope. Diaby would do well to take a long hard look at how Robin Van Persie is today. The club captain’s career at Arsenal has also been blighted by injuries but looks to have finally overcome the years of nightmares. The same could certainly happen to Diaby.

Diaby is often riled for choosing the wrong pass or making the wrong runs. However, I think the criticism on him has been very harsh. How much do you expect out a player who only plays the occasional games here and there? The only way to really judge (of course, this is still my personal opinion) is when a player gets 5 – 6 continuous first team starts.

Diaby is not exactly a defensive midfielder, therefore he is probably best suited to the other 2 midfield slots. At the moment though, on form, he should be behind the duo of Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey. Both has done remarkably well for a good part 3 months now and it would be unfair to just drop them for Diaby. However, Diaby does possess that extra bit of dribbling attributes which sees him glides effortlessly past opposition.

For now, the best thing for Diaby would be some time on the bench. He will have to be at least consistent in that part first. Provided he manages to do that, he will surely get the odd minutes here and there. We took the same approach for RvP and the management should look to repeat it with Diaby. Slowly but surely, his body will reach it’s peak and then we can start to talk about whether he deserves more than that spot on the bench.

Options. I do like a bit of that at Arsenal