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Arsenal Player Season Review: Abou Diaby

Oh, Abou
Oh, Abou

Abou Diaby may be the most injury prone midfielder in the Premier League, barring Owen Hargreaves. Last season another injury disrupted campaign had many looking less towards Diaby's potential and more to his injury and indiscipline problems. At age 25, next season may be the key one.

His season started off innocuously enough. After his 2009-10 season, where Arsene Wenger stated that it would be "Abou's year", many were looking at him to build off of his 40 appearances and 7 goals, and started in all 3 of France's disastrous World Cup games. With the absence of Alex Song, and then Laurent Koscielny, Diaby partnered Jack Wilshere as the holding midfielder in Arsenal's first two games, impressing against Liverpool and scoring a sweet volley against Blackpool. He further impressed the following week against Blackburn, using his size and physicality to help on set pieces. Then came the injuries. Against Bolton, Paul Robinson's scything potential leg-breaker of a challenge on Diaby's ankle went unpunished, but it would keep him out for 2 weeks. He returned, sluggishly in the 3-2 defeat against West Brom but was then impressive as the most attack minded midfielder against Chelsea, and impressed in this role against Birmingham too, though he perhaps should've scored. However, the ankle injury caused by Paul Robinson kept him out of the next couple of months, and upon his return away to Wigan, he hurt his calf and had to be taken off. He came back for the FA Cup run, and as Alex Song picked up an injury against Everton at home, Diaby played and impressed in his holding role. Then came the infamous 4-4 draw away to Newcastle, and Diaby stupidly got himself sent off, culminating in Arsenal blowing a 4 goal lead.

Diaby found himself in and out of the team for the rest of the year. He spelled Alex Song against Blackpool and impressed and scored, but was poor against Tottenham and Liverpool. He played well on the last day against Fulham, displaying his trademark long legged runs that break through tackles, and good passing range, as well as a hard hit shot. If Diaby were to cut out the injuries, he might become a very valuable player, if used correctly in the box to box role; he certainly isn't a very good holding midfielder, displaying poor positional instincts. Unfortunately for Diaby, his role was taken from him by Jack Wilshere, and right now it's hard to see anything other than a bit-part role for Diaby. That's not the worst thing in the world, and perhaps is best because of his injury history, but one may always wonder what he could've done if Dan Smith hadn't broken his leg.

Grade: C

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