Diaby & Cesc “The perfect partnership”

Following the departure of Flamini to Milan, could Abou Diaby now become the perfect partner for Cesc in the center of the Arsenal midfield? Diaby was signed from Auxerre in 2006 as a central midfield player but has been manly used as cover on the wings for the injured Tomas Rosicky. I have said for a long time that Diaby is wasted on the wings and we are never going to see the best of him until he is given a run of games in the middle of the park. I’m a huge fan of Diaby and I feel that next season he can step up and become a key player for Arsenal “IF” he is played in his best position. At 6ft 2 Diaby was said to be the new Vieira, but due to injury’s and playing out of position fans have not seen the talent that made Wenger fight off the interest of Chelsea and sign the French prospect. But now is the time for Diaby to step out of the shadows and show the fans what he can do. Next to Cesc this can become our perfect partnership, Both very talented. Young and full or running. Cesc maybe has more of an eye to pick out a pass but Diaby is maybe a better runner with the ball and can also shoot from long range. Speaking to alot of Arsenal fans on the forum and many feel that Diaby is not a defensive player and cant play in the same team as Cesc? My answer to that is how do you know it wont work until you try it, I cant remember a single game were Diaby and Cesc have started in the middle? For me it can work well,Playing Diaby in the middle will also add some height that has been lacking. A huge season for Diaby and I have full confidence that he can deliver.

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64 Responses to Diaby & Cesc “The perfect partnership”

  1. brdgunner says:

    I hope so. I like him as a central midfielder. Whatever happens Arsenal Football Club will be at the top, we have not been relegated since 1919, any player that wants to go can go.

  2. ln says:

    carling cup final 2007 against chelsea, they both ran the midfield for 70 minutes

  3. LB says:

    I agree with you. Think about Gilberto and how he played as a “defensive” midfielder. He is not exactly great in the tackle, and he is rather soft for a defensive midfielder. Diaby is certainly tougher than that. It’s his positional discipline (he enjoys attacking more than Gilberto) that needs work. But I figure Cesc and Diaby have so much energy that they can make up for their defensive frailties. I say he’s worth a punt.

  4. klon says:

    How do I know it wont work ? The same way I know shoving a cactus in my mouth is a bad idea, I thought about it, imagined it and came to a conclusion.

  5. TonyS says:

    As long as he stays injury free – he’s been a bit sick note since he was assaulted by Dan Smith a few seasons back.

  6. georgesydaust says:

    Good call. Been saying it for months. We’re an attacking team, can’t think of a better partnership, and if AW does try it (which I think he will) he’ll be hailed a genius when it works!

  7. gunneradt says:

    Wenger does not believe Diaby and Cesc can play together for the reason that neither is a holding midfielder.

  8. Milz says:

    Thats the only thing that makes sense to me as well no one could have imagined that Flamini could be as good as he was last season and I think if Diaby is given the same opportunities will be better that Flamini in the role and their partnership with Cesc will be a joy to watch

  9. no need says:


  10. Duckster says:

    I’ve been reading alot of comments about a big striker being a must to replace adabayor and a proper defensive central mid field player to replace flamini/gilberto.
    Was Carrick a defensive mid when utd bought him from spurs? And have utd used a player up front over 6 foot this season? (Apart from Ronaldo) who is a winger. Rooney, Teves, Shaha, Ronaldo
    Hargreaves was mostly used on the right full or right mid in Europe.

  11. Nick e says:

    darn right……he is the man to partner cesc. Forget about all the other names mentioned, thou i’m sure they can do a good job if asked, but for me Diaby is the main contender. He only has to change his game slightly, and i think they can form a formidble partnership, better than cesc and flamini if given time!
    We’re gunning for you Mancs!!!!

  12. thegoonerforum says:

    gunneradt, Do you think Diaby is a winger?

  13. Arsenal Grouch says:

    I agree with the idea that Diaby is too attacking to play CM with Cesc.

    I think that it could possibly leave the defence far too exposed, as neither of them are naturally defensively minded.

  14. Duckster says:

    IMO Diaby can be twice the player Carrick is. So why not?

  15. George Benjamin says:

    People keep forgetting we have Denilson too! He was unlucky with injuries last season but showed amazing potential with great passing and timing in the tackle, i hope we get to see more of him this year

  16. JohnnyJ says:

    Prior to the assault at Sunderland in 06 Diaby was playing very well in more of a central role. I feel our fortunes, particuarly in the CL final would have been very different had he not got injured

  17. Duckster says:

    `how many games a season do we really need a 5 man mid (defensive formation)? Away 3 times utd, chelsea, pool
    In europe 3/4. Less than 10 all year!

    V persie Fab Nasri Rosicky

  18. Duckster says:

    Utd 5 man mid is;

    Ronaldo Scholes Anderson Giggs

  19. DIABY! says:

    Flamini is fantastic player but I always thought when Diaby become top class player, he will be much much suitable and better player then flamini due to his fitness and physicalness with size.

  20. Arse&Nose says:

    Diaby is a liability in central midfield. Wenger often deployed him out wide because of his tendency to lose the ball, in CM losing the ball can quickly result in conceding goals.

  21. thegoonerforum says:

    Arse&Nose, Gilberto use to give the ball away more then any player. But that didnt stop him playing in the middle and winning the world cup.

  22. frank says:

    Diaby is a very good player and capable of playing well with Fabregas he is very strong and given the opportunity will score goals.

  23. Duckster says:

    That’s bollix Arse and Nose, he played left coz Rosicky was out for months.
    He has the potential to be much improved this season.
    Can he be as good as Carrick? If so he’s good enough.
    Think about it Carrick has 1 Champ league winners medal, 2 prem league, and at least 1 FA cup.
    Diaby is easily as good as that cunt

  24. Arse&Nose says:

    True Gilberto did do that more recently, but at his peak he was good at playing the short pass and keeping hold of the ball. I just feel Diaby needs to sharpen up and be a bit quicker, he is one of the most frustrating players to watch as he likes to dribble in slow motion through a body of defenders and lose the ball.

  25. DS says:

    As someone mentions above, against Chelsea in the Pepsi Challenge Fabregas and Diaby ran the midfield for 70 mins, with Diaby to the fore until he kicked John Terry’s head. That was with a 3 man centre mid including Denilson, which is what I think we will start the season with (maybe gilberto/song instead of denilson) to be extra solid in the middle and give confidence to the team.

  26. Arse&Nose says:

    I’m not saying Diaby wont play in CM, or wont go on to be a success.

    I am simply reminding people of the reason he hasn’t played so often in that position before.

    Wenger has said it him self.
    Diaby has a lot to improve on but has phenomenal potential, I just feel his weakness is more his lack of focus rather than technical ability.

  27. Duckster says:

    Narsi Fab Diaby Rosicky

    Eboue Song Denilson Vela

    Walcott Randall Ramsey Merida

  28. gunneradt says:

    @goonerforum – no I don’t think Diaby is a winger but I believe Wenger thinks it’s him or Cesc in midfield so at best he’s a sub – Song and Denilson are the natural replacements ie defensive midfielders. DFiaby has been severely hampered by the time he missed when injured two seasons ago – in that time Cesc has come to the fore – Diaby was actually getting picked ahead of Cesc in midfield before that injury.

  29. Arick says:

    me too am looking forward to cesc and diaby in midfield, could work out really great o/

  30. fowler says:

    no need to sign a new centre mid we have 2 of the hottest prospects in football in denilson and diaby.

  31. thegoonerforum says:

    @ fowler I agree. This is why i was baffed when we signed Diarra

  32. Laz says:

    The crap about “holding midlfielder” is way over ratted and basically translate holding for “no ability but can run arround for 90 minutes kicking people”. Would 2 Cescs work in the middle of Arsenal’s midfield. Of course. People were calling Senna a holding midfielder but he could play ball and pass better than most of the premierships creative midfielders. Let’s not get tied up with Flamini being replaced by a Claude Mackele type – give me Diaby any day!

  33. arranblonde says:

    We struggle when we don’t have DM, and I’m not sure Diaby is the right player for the position.

    I rate Denilson highly and think he can do an excellent job in there. AW seems to be turning Song into a center half, and if Gilberto is to be sold then I’m not sure who else there is to play along side Cesc.

  34. Josh says:

    If I remember correctly, Wenger did not buy Gilberto for his defensive abilities when he did. Goes to show how a player can develop. Diaby will fit the role, I feel, but he needs a bit of time. I was upset, however, that GIlberto is apparently leaving. The best solution would be GIlberto as starting regular and Diaby slowly getting some game time in his defensive position.

  35. simba says:

    You guys have no clue on the abilities of players , Diaby can only be used as cover for Fabregas .He is going to be introduced as a workaround to find people to rest Fabregas when the games starting flying in towards the run-in.Denilson is going to be Gilberto’s understudy as well as cover for Fabregas .The midfield duo is going to be gilberto and fabregas , and 5-man midfield for those tough awaay games is going to be eboue -gilberto-song -nasri
    walcott and rosicky are going to be played ahead of eboue mostly in home games and and those games when key players need to be rested.If Gilberto moves from Arsenal then that will signal the arrival of Raul Albiol.But I still think Wenger will sign Ruben De La Red or another holding midfielder for the future .As for Diaby he is suited to the atcking role in midfield and will never play as a holding midfielder.Trust my words.

  36. merse says:

    Diaby has the potential to be the best player in the world.. I honestly believe that and I’ve been watching the First team and the Reserves for 30+ years.. He is like Vieira but far more silky and has an incredible engine to boot. He is completely two footed and likes a shot aswell. How old is he?.. 20?..21?… Given time, Abou could be frighteningly good. Him and Al Song are the future. Believe.

  37. Pair two attacking midfielders in the centre of midfield and wait to see the disaster. Diaby’s the new Vieira not the new Petit!

  38. TonyS says:

    Ha ha LOL the person who wrote Gilberto was not defensive when we signed him…..his nickname before he joined us was “The invisible wall”

  39. Perry Groves says:

    Diaby tends to hold on to the ball to long and then get caught in posession. I would worry about this if he’s too close to our goal line.

  40. Baz says:

    merse…idont know what reserves and 1st team youre watching but i hardly see him use his left…he is very very right footed. ALways needs to come to right to shoot near the box…its very evident.

  41. Perry Groves says:

    Oh, and ‘two footed’? I think he used his left peg about three times in the whole of last season!

  42. dom says:


    completely two footed? haha, have you seen him play before? he’s the most 1 footed player on the park normally, his left foot may aswell be a stump…

    cracking right foot though 😀

    i say give him a run out with cesc at one of the tournaments this summer and see how it goes!

  43. Baz says:

    He is definitely not the answer in the middle unless his ball retention improves. Holding midfielders are key, Flamini is bigger loss than people imagine. Everyone deep down knows he was fanstastic last season and dont want to admit we are weaker without him. This needs to addressed far quicker than buying attacking midfielders….Song might be able to play in that role and do it well but i think AW has marked him as a CB for next season. The only other player is Denilson but not sure how ready he is. I wouldnt mind paying 20mil for Veloso for the Holding role, it will be money well spent. Just wish Diarra would have had some patience and stayed…he would have been perfect.

  44. cheeky-gooner says:

    diaby needs to sharpen up is a fair thing to say.but don’t forget alex song,everyone kept saying he’s the worst player to grace the arsenal shirt and look at the arguement that are coming out he should replace flamini.

    diaby is been kept at arsenal by wenger for a reason and we will see that this coming season.song is ready and so is denilson even djourou might be able to do a job there.

  45. rocka23 says:

    Diaby is a replacement or back-up for Cesc. They are both too offensively minded to play together centrally.

    Diaby is too lazy, and not a good enough tackler to play central midfield without a holding player next him.

  46. ArsenalfcLegend says:

    Yes but it seems your all forgetting that Viera had it all!
    He had skills, he had pace, he had power, he could shoot, he could pass, he could tackle, he could intercept, he could create and he could stop others creating.

    So if Diaby is anything like half the player VIera was in his prime then i think he could play anywhere in midfield, be it attacking, defensive, or on the wing. True he isnt a natural winger and i would prefer a proper winger like Walcott or Vela but he still does a job there and is vert effective at holding the ball up and bringing others into the game, maybe waiting for the fullback to overlap?

    And this about we NEED a defensive midfielder is complete nonsense, i think that our players are smart enough to see if one centre mid goes forward then someone will provide cover, ive seen Fabregas and Diaby both get stuck in and both have decent defensive qualities so this about they cant play together i just dont understand. I think Diaby needs the least polishing off of the three prospects, Diaby,Song and Denilson and i think he could even perhaps eclipse the likes of Viera!

    You can all disagree if you want i don’t mind we all have opinions and im just stating mine.

  47. gunner says:

    diaby does not hae the discipline tho i think he is a top player. would play denilson who is underated.

  48. Phatrick says:

    I just hope it isn’t a case of lampard & gerrard for england……

    I will say one thing in the defence of a Cesc-Diaby partnership, and that is Cesc’s own defensive game has come a long way. He now probably needs less support from a out and out defensive midfielder than was the case when he first started in the first team.

  49. baz says:

    I’m sure its been written but did cesc and diaby not pretty much dominate chelsea in the cc final and i’m pretty sure diaby played the holding role against everton last season?

    That and the fact that if Arsenal wanna play a definative holding midfielder then we can play song who has just signed a contract exstension iirc


  51. arranblonde says:

    I also think Song would be good as the defensive partner in midfield …. however, I think AW has him as a center half – why else would he play him there during the last few games of the season. He’s trying to repeat what he achieved with Kolo

  52. t.rets says:

    Djourou in central midfield?! Are you having a laugh? I tell you what, why don’t we play Eboue there, eh? or Senderos? You’re all talking out ya tocks. Diaby’s great and will have his day. Meanwhile, Gilberto’s going, Wenger’s talking about small players – remember Flamini’s 5ft something stature, and most of the potential signings seem to be in the same vertically challenged league, so it doesn’t look like Diaby will be first choice. But on the other hand, out of he and Song he is the preferred choice so if Wenger decides to add height to the team it looks like Diaby is the only option, and afer all he was bought to be the new Vieira, who himself was more of an attacking player when he first arrived. What appears to be clear is we will sign another central mid player to play a more holding role (I bet Diarra is absolutely kicking himself). As for Adebayor…sling it, son! Go away very quickly and feel very ashamed of yourself – all that crossing yourself stuff you do when you run on the pitch etc, don’t make me laugh you know nothing of being a Christian.

  53. joshuad says:

    Diaby is not the right answer. People say he’s the new Vieira; how? Vieira was the complete midfield player. He was truly World Class. He had absolutely no weaknesses to his game and could dominate anyone on any day. Someone mentioned earlier how complete Vieira was.

    Diaby has so many weaknesses. His primary weakness is his poor vision. It’s criminal for a proper CM player to have bad field awareness and vision. It’s why he get’s caught in possession so often. It’s why he makes bad passes so often. It’s why his off the ball movement is bad and he continually fails to make himself available for team mates like a proper CM player does. His close control and a half descent shot are the only positive components of his game.

    With his qualities, he should be a striker, but he’s definitely not better than any of our strikers. He’s only had one good game and that was against Chelsea. He’s not the right answer. I’d prefer Denilson or even Ramsey there before Diaby. At least they’ve got good vision and can complete a pass more than five meters.

  54. kolo t says:

    Too many managers, only arsene knows

  55. Kenny says:

    I agree Diaby is brillant and CM is where he should be he can and did get us vital goals

  56. Pablo says:

    I think that the general comment about Diaby not being the player since the awful “tackle” he experienced is well taken. He showed remarkable promise back then, both in his tackling, which was very Viera-like, sometimes clumsy, foul-like, other times crisp and sharp). And, yes, he used to like to storm forward and come in from the back, but was never tried enough to show how defensive he could be. Still that’s not the point. It’s become the flavour of the decade to talk about holding midfield players, with too much comment, but very little analysis. May I remind people that the name was not worth its name until Makelele went to the Chavs, and the role that he had with Real Madrid seemed to be undervalued when he left. Gilberto is not great tackler as one might expect a defender to be, but then nor is Makelele. It is not only about tackling but interception at the appropriate moment; moving players out of spaces that can be dangerous, or plugging holes left by defenders, and just passing through the opponents defence, and being able to take and pass the ball to shift the positional location back out of danger. Most of the time Gilberto did this brilliantly when he had the support. So what we need from Diaby, if he is going to fill that position is actually more disciple and concentration about what the job at hand is. He can be brilliant, and has great on ball skills; he’s quick, in that lazy, almost sauntering way that he has. We know about his powerful shot (we also know he can balloon the ball too), but the main thing is sticking to role he is assigned. In the games that I have seen him, he seems to come in and out of games, gets into cul-de-sacs. Much of this I think has had to do with where Wenger has placed him, which has often been as a makeshift winger, were he often stays, and finds it difficult to get back into the game. Give him a central role, both in terms of his position and, Like Cesc, his constant involvement in the game. Arsenal’s game is not only high energy, it is also physically very demanding and requires a lot of endurance, despite the fact that they make other teams do a lot of running around. To do that it means that players have to be constantly moving and rotating positions. It also demands a lot of concentration. Diaby needs that, and he needs the support of others who will also constantly rotate and move into position for him to receive the ball, play and feed of him, and to allow him to move forward at the right time. At other times, if he is to be the Viera we have missed, he will just (well, not just) do what Patrick did. No small thing, but if it works it will be amazing.

  57. jlp says:

    my guess is we have a better option in denilson than diaby but none the less i think we will see them rotating and diaby unlike what lots are saying diaby isnt shit he also isnt PV and as nice as it would be to fin another PV highly unlikely so lets forget the comparisons .mostly he lacks composure leads to being caught and some wayward passing but something that can be solved as for his tackling abilities again nothing that cant be sorted.his biggest problem for me is he is somewhat lazy at times and wrong position to be in if you just dont feel like running. saying that he is twice the skill flamini is isnt far from the truth but that engine needs some tuning up and a steady gear and hopefully we will see it this year but still i think denilson tbh is the better qualified player for this position

  58. Jack Staniforth says:

    I can only agree, I`m a Diaby fan. I`ve watched him run with the ball, change direction with ease and most of all strike from distance. He`s an exciting player and is Arsenal all over. Play him alonside Fabregas with van Persie, Eduardo, Walcott and, with luck ,Huntelaar or even Falcao up front and I truly feel the flood gates will open.

  59. David says:

    Arsenal should buy swedish striker henok goitom. he would fit perfecly into arsenal and he is cheap.

  60. matthew zarb says:

    diaby played dm on his debut as part of a five man midfield, idiots. is it not obvious that this is wengers plan, he is going to sign amaury bischoff but he needs time in the reserves so diaby will play the dm role next season.

  61. matthew zarb says:

    he was also man of the match on his debut.

  62. jrock says:

    I was talking with a friend recently about the same issue,and we both agreed that Diaby is the best replacement for the flamin…u all remember how we resented flamin the season b4 last.When ever he came on the pitch as a substitute we either conceded or he did something funny,but last season he proved himself and showed everyone that a good run of games can bring out the best of u…….As for diaby,i know and belive he can step up and show everyone what he can do in the middle…..You remember the carling cup final against chelsea,he was one of the stars of the show…..he ran the midfield alone till when he was substituted after the TERRY INCIDENT.but friends, cesc and diaby partinership in the midfield can be a revelation this coming season trust me!!

  63. Mojo says:

    class in central midfield. absolutely ghastly shite on the wings

  64. […] After watching Amuary Bischoff recently he is very much in the Cesc, Denilson bracket, A gifted player but by no means defensive. That now leaves Diaby and Song. I have always wanted to see a Diaby & Cesc partnership. Link […]

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