Diaby at Swansea: by the numbers

Diaby at Swansea: by the numbers

Here’s a funny thing that happened at the Swansea match this weekend, Diaby had what could be considered a pretty good match but only a few people really noticed it. Most people (except this guy! — find him @GeezyPeas on twitter) didn’t notice because they were too busy hurling invective, audibly, from the stands and on twitter.

For me, the moment that stands out came in about the 50th minute when Diaby received a pass in the box, turned, and dribbled straight at us away fans. The ball got away from him and skipped across the end line. At that moment, a man in front of me yelled “I wish you’d break your leg, Diaby, you useless ****”.

From where I sat, it seemed an outrageous remark. Diaby hadn’t done anything spectacularly good, nor spectacularly poor and certainly nothing that warranted our own fans wishing him ill. For me, Diaby seemed to have a straight-forward match: kept possession well, linked up with teammates ahead of him, played deeper to shield the back four, won an important header (clearance), and didn’t make any rash challenges.

The one thing I did notice is his “languid” style, which is what I think gets on people’s pecs. He’s not a Flamini type of player, the “all-action” midfielder whose legs never seem to stop moving. He does sort of look like he’s not doing anything at times. So, when I got back to civilization (Wales doesn’t have internet yet, they barely have cell phone service) the first thing I did was look at the numbers. I was prepared to see a disastrous match from him, but I didn’t. Here’s what the numbers said:

71 – Minutes played
77 – Touches (2nd most on the team)
53 – Passes completed (60 attempted – 2nd most on the team)
34 – Passes forward (of 40 attempted – 2nd most on the team)
12 – Passes backward (of 12)
7 – Passes square (of 8)
15 – Passes in the attacking 1/3 (of 20)
0 – Accurate long passes (of 2)
0 – Shots created for others

Of his 7 misplaced passes, 6 of them were forward (1 was square), 5 of them in the attacking third (2 long balls in, and the square ball), and only one was short, that one happened to be in a dangerous area, just at about the time Wenger took him off. This is what his passing chart looks like:

Diaby v. Swansea

As Michael Cox pointed out in his article on the official site, Diaby and Arteta looking forward were critical to the Arsenal attack: getting balls directly and efficiently in to the front players so that they could create chances. And as we know from the scoreline it worked as well. All totaled, Arsenal created 13 shots via a pass (Swansea just 8) despite being dominated by Swansea in terms of possession (57% to the Swans) and total passing numbers (545 completed for Swansea, 384 for Arsenal).

Moreover, Arsenal dominated the territory (Arsenal had 62% of the territory to Swans 38%) and passes in the final third. So much so that Arsenal had 132 passes in the final third compared to Swans 90 which means that 34% of Arsenal’s passes were in the Swans area, while just 17% of Swans’ passes were in ours. This shows that Arsenal were content sitting back and letting Swans dominate possession but when they did win the ball back, Arsenal were relentlessly efficient at getting into their area and getting shots from passes.

Sitting back as Arsenal did it put more onus on Diaby and Arteta to shield the back four and I have to say, despite my feeling that he should have tackled more, defensively, Diaby did the job as well.

3 – Tackles (of 3 attempted, led the team)
3 – Interceptions (led the team, next to Walcott of all people)
1 – Aerial duel, it was his only attempt, it was also a clearance, and it was a headed clearance. It was also an important clearance
1 – Foul committed
1 – Turnover
1 – Time dispossessed (I include these as “defensive” numbers since Arsenal normally use possession as defense)

So, there you have it. Diaby didn’t create any chances, didn’t have any spectacular moves, only took one shot himself, was an important defensive shield, and drove Arsenal’s attacking play from deep in midfield. Isn’t that exactly what people claim they want? The big guy who hardly puts a foot wrong, sits deep, shields the back four, looks forward (no “footballing crab”), doesn’t cough up possession needlessly, and makes an important clearance, in an important away game, against some top midfielders?

It’s what I’ve always wanted.

Oh and dribbles? He was 4/5 — only failing on that one dribble where someone told his to break his own leg. Ironic.

7am

 

108 COMMENTS

  1. *Fans* shouting stuff like that at our own players should be pleasantly be put into place by the fellow fans around.

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    • I find there’s some sick irony that fans are chanting for Diaby to get a serious injury, then see that one of our most important players Jack the Lad can’t keep away from them.

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    • When I was a kid, perhaps 12 or 13, I was at Highbury for Arsenal vs West Ham or Sunderland or something, and Boa Morte was put through on goal and dribbled the ball straight into the arms of the keeper who’d rushed out. The score was a draw at the time, and I was very angry and not convinced Boa Morte was good enough to play for us. Spoiled by our success at the time, I shouted, “YOU’RE CRAP, BOA MORTE!”

      From behind me, three lads, about my age, leapt to his defence. “He’s better than you, mate!” they said (a lucky guess), and I never shouted abuse at our own players ever again.

      I also grew up, which helps. Turns out he wasn’t good enough, but far from crap.

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    • I dont fucking understand how anyone could yell that or why it is so suprising that diaby had a decent game?
      He is an incredibly talented player. Just has had an extremely unfortunate series of injuries.

      He is the reason we started this season quite well?

      I dont understand where all this hate has come from directed at Diaby. Its not as if Rosicky/ Eduardo, copped the same abuse through their extended injury spells.

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    • I bet diaby does a van persie, at 28 hes guna be indispensable

      Then probably leave becoz we gave him so much shit

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  2. And people wonder why Gervinho looks like a frightened puppy on the pitch. Its because every little thing he does wrong on the pitch is highlighted by the fans just waiting for something bad to happen. Try supporting the players. What a novel concept.

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      • I think the point of this article is that, in fact, sometimes Diaby isn’t Diaby. Our preconceptions of a player’s weaknesses color our interpretations of their performances, which is unfortunate – Diaby, in this case, had a decent game, but many of us singled him out as underperforming.

        Good article.

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        • funny how even the author turns 180 degrees. this is what he wrote in his post match report:

          “We seem sluggish in midfield and Diaby, in particular, looked like he could use a swift kick up the ass. He was jogging back in defense and not putting in challenges where I thought he needed to. The away fans were keen to this and it got so bad that more than once, I heard a fellow fan say they wished he would break his own leg in a challenge and end his Arsenal career. It’s a horrible sentiment but it’s there and gleefully shouted from the terraces which, with the distance we are from him and the way that the stadium is designed to amplify sounds from the fans, I’m sure he could clearly hear.

          At one point (in the second half) Diaby turned his defender and dribbled straight at us away fans, his touch let him down and the ball went out of play. The away fans let him have it, his head dropped and when he jogged back to the center circle. I couldn’t help but feel we are witnessing the last few games of a broken man. Broken physically by a Dan Smith tackle and broken mentally by the demands of the Arsenal fans.”

          so what are we witnessing? the last few games of a broken man, or the midfield dynamo 7am has been longing for?

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    • Every now and then football fans settle on an erroneous opinion and it takes magical feats or a glaring fiasco to change their minds. Of course, Gervinho has been getting the stick almost since day one, and for mostly good reason too mind you. But every now and then he puts in a good shift that is ignored. Ramsey, another player whose performances don’t quite match fans’ opinions—a few months back he was denounced as a championship level player and now he can do no wrong. Diaby played so adroitly as a CM that his efforts went unnoticed, apart from his poor moments in front of goal, so observers latched unfairly on to these minor incidents.

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    • Spot on. I can understand fans frustration with some players, and granted Diaby is an easy target because of his injuries – fans feel that he gives very little return for the investment, and to some extent they’re justified. The thing that seems to not occur to them though, is neither his injuries or the fact that the manager has persisted with him and plays him at every given opportunity are his fault. If we feel frustrated and roll our eyes and mutter every time he picks up another injury – imagine for a minute how frustrated and fed-up he feels.

      The same can be said of any of our players that for whatever reason seem to be popular scapegoats with the fans – they’re playing because the manager picks them, no other reason. Ramsey was getting a dose of it last year, and others like Eboue, Chamakh, Gervinho & even Theo at times, they’ve all had a taste of being heckled and jeered by the crowd.

      Irritating as it might be to our fans though, people need to stop and think what they’re doing. Because every time a player misses an easy shot, gives the ball away or anything else – if the crowd get on their back then it takes even more confidence away, and makes it harder for them to play well. Very few people are likely to do their job well if they’re already a bit uncertain and they start getting criticism and insults from all directions – footballlers aren’t any different. They’re human beings, and if they are playing with the knowledge that as soon as they make a mistake it is going to get jumped on like that, they will be more nervous, and more likely to make that mistake.

      Save the booing and heckling for the forums if people feel they must run a player down, because every time it happens at matches it makes the job the team has to do that much more difficult.

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    • The guy gets way too much stick. Every mistake just gets etched into people’s heads and just confirms people’s own biases, where they simply don’t see, acknowledge, or remember the things he does well.

      Look at the player ratings article (in which Diaby got the lowest score on the team) that came out after Swansea, and some of the comments about the game passing Diaby by, his inability to hold onto the ball, how often he gets put, and you’d have to believe they were watching a different player.

      Thank you for putting out some numbers and facts that show how common perception has shifted from reality.

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  3. My problem with Diaby is that he lacks Thinkspeed. This is evidenced by the fact that he tends to hang on to the ball just a little bit (or a lot) too long.

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    • That’s to do with fitness and confidence, not an inherent lack of ‘Thinkspeed’. As Ramsey has simplified his game and grown in confidence we’ve seen him cut out that type of mistake, and we’ve seen what a dangerous prospect Diaby can be when he’s on form. When he has a few more solid games like this one and maybe gets a goal under his belt we can expect to see him really change up a few gears and relinquish the dreaded handbrake.

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      • Aye, Ramsey is a pretty obvious recent example of how things can look different when a player isn’t in the right mental state; trouble is, it’s difficult to gauge and even harder to fix. In Diaby’s case I doubt it ever will be, due to his inability to string games together, unfortunately he needs to be replaced.

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    • I think you mean “speed of thought”. I guess Diaby’s not the only one who lacks “Thinkspeed”. :)

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    • I agree to a point. But have you ever considered SOME times when he holds ball “too long” it’s because others are NOT making appropriate runs or even moving?????? His passes are much quicker when everyone is clicking

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    • Back in October ever other person on here was claiming Diaby as good as Toure, Yaya. They must not post here anymore because Arsenal fans could never be *that* fickle.

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  4. I thought he had a good game even when most people didn’t think so. He intercepted balls, made good forward passes (he is good at through balls) and he rarely lost possession. He’s getting there.

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      • Perhaps that is the one thing which, ironically makes fans think he had a shit game.

        I say this because of the run (as mentioned in the article) where he took it past 4 players easily and then dwindled on it, which saw it out for a goal kick. I can imagine most arsenal fans (i know i was) screaming SHOOOOT!!! and feeling frustrated when he didnt.

        Sometime one move sticks in people’s heads, and all the other good they did vanishes into thin air, unless they do something after.

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  5. Diaby has life left in him still:his touches are still okay though… It reminds us his great abilities on ball. Injuries had puntured his career too often.

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  6. well it was a decent performance…but still not as good as the liverpool away game…hopefully he gets better n better.

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    • Let’s face it, to have Diaby playing consistently like he did at Liverpool is a luxury and kinda unrealistic with his on and off fitness, and without regular football, I’m not sure he’ll ever become the confident player we want him to be. Still, there aren’t many midfielders in the PL apart from Yaya Toure* who are capable of that kind of driving play, so of course subsequent performances haven’t been on par; that Liverpool performance was pretty damn special.

      *Yaya Toure is a little less accomplished dribbler but more powerful and a better finisher to boot.

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  7. I didn’t really like Diaby lately, but these stats opens my eyes to some degree.

    And about that shouting, it’s really shameful.

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  8. Diaby has that rare ability to beat a man with a drop of his shoulder and turn defence quickly into attack. Always found him a very graceful player too. Notwithstanding any of that, even if he had the worst game any player has ever had in the history of the game, the guy who wished him a broken leg can go fuck himself with a rusty fencepost and darken White Hart Lane for evermore rather than pollute an Arsenal crowd with his disgraceful bullshit.

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  9. Although Diaby did not played well based on my own analysis, but chanting on him to get injury will not solve the problem.

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  10. Look, we all know, or should know, what Diaby is capable of.

    And if ever there was a lesson Arsenal fans can draw on, it was when R (Voldermort) P was our perennial injury magnet.

    So, as long as he’s with us there’s every chance it can work out. God knows, he deserves a better future than some of his detractors would wish. And with that better future so goes Arsenal’s future. I really don’t know why some people can’t see that.

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    • I think it’s the sheer frustration at Wenger not getting cover in for Diaby tbh. Whenever Diaby plays well, AW talks about all his attributes and how important it can be for the team yet fills a squad with players who can’t provide what he does so we suffer when he’s not available for the ‘right’ kind of games.

      So, it not being particularly rational to hate Diaby for what others cannot do, I doubt it’ll ever stop.

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  11. I actually re-watched the game, and not considering his stats which were good as you have shown, he was clearly are second most influential player (after Cazorla). Whenever he was on the ball he was positive and looking to make things happen. His first thought when on the ball was to penetrate either through a forward pass or his trademark driving run.
    I also noticed when he does embark on one of his runs are players are usually always static which limits his options, they just seem to watch him go by as the opposition does.

    Overall before the subs were made it seemed if we were going to get anything from this game it was going to come from either Diaby or Cazorla.
    The same applies to Gervinho who gets alot of stick, but he is always on the front foot trying to penetrate defences via dribbling or a smart run and he always seems to create chances either for himself or others.
    The Ox seemed great as he hit the bar but other than that he was not involved in the game and same applies for Walcott.

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    • I just can’t get my head around Wall-E’s wages. Isn’t he supposed to do something every now and then?
      Good thing it didn’t prove fatal. And perhaps he didn’t get into the game because it wasn’t really needed…?

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    • hooray. sanity is beginning to return to goonerdom! gervinho is a very good player whose confidence has been really low for quite a while. he can still be a big player for us and you have to give wenger credit for sticking with guys much longer than most of the fans would. if we can sneak into 4th spot this season and we have a good summer in the transfer market things are going to be looking very bright indeed in august!

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      • The problem is, we’ve seen as much of Gervinho being awful as we have Gervino being awesome, it’s difficult to know which is the true Gezza.

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        • Look at Gervinho playing for Ivory Coast, that is the real Gervinho, one that hasn’t got fans saying he should be sold, he’s surrounded by a nation that likes him, and he was arguably the best Elephants player at the last ACON.

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    • Hello,
      This isn’t strictly relevant but how does one re-watch a game? IS there a site you use or did you record it on Sky? I was just wondering because I often miss matches.
      Thanks!

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      • I forked over the approximate $65 USD to subscribe to the Arsenal Player on arsenal.com at start of the season. Well worth it but with only 9 games left wait

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      • there are many places on the internet where you can find such things, also for free

        I’m a member of a football forum where you can find downloads of almost every major match and also match of the day (a bbc program without which I would never have become interested in the PL), also other leagues. I think the forum is now closed to new members and it was subject of copyright stress in the past, so I’ll leave it unnamed

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  12. FINAL-Fu#@ing-Ly! Not every game is every player going to score 3 goals & notch 2 assists! Thank U 7am!!!!! Diaby has been out injured, but has had sum SOLID performances for us when he has played. What more can u ask of a guy, stats wise. In the context of r “new” “defensive minded” game he was excellent. Nothing flashy but he performed. And did his job WELL. Good work 7am it’s these aspects of the game that often go unnoticed and never come w/ accolades, but they win us matches.
    Good Shift Diaby.

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    • It’s all fine when we see stats. These stats show a big bunch of nothingness. All the sideways passing that lead to nothing are in there.
      I saw him in the first half dwelling on the ball for too long and losing possession, only to come back jogging casually. I was fuming when I saw that. That’s not good work rate. I’m not sure we can say he put in a good shift.
      A midfielder doesn’t do that. Guys like Arshavin get crucified and labelled as lazy, but Diaby gets away with it somehow. The ‘fan’ who wished him an injury is out of order. But Diaby does need to change his attitude.
      I hate it when he’s too casual on the ball and gets caught sleeping in possession or wastes possession inside the attacking penalty area without even trying a shot.
      But the boss likes it, I guess. He prefers possession just for the sake of it, instead of having a real go.
      That’s why I love it when Giroud tries his luck from outside, and when the camera shows Wenger cursing at him, I find myself hurling abuse at Wenger.
      I just want real incisive football and players who are confident about their own abilities. I don’t want to see a team of Gervinhos and Diabys trying to pass the ball into the net.

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        • Metaphorically yes. That and thrown to the ground as well.
          I relate to it.

          I respect the stats work from 7am but all I’m saying is stats don’t always paint the right picture. I remember Denilson frequently had a very high rate of completed passes. It would make you think he was quite good, but look where he is now…

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  13. He will get healthy, play really well for several months, then leave as so many clearly wish. He will then resurface at Man U, truly loved, and go on to be the best midfielder in the league. We will then absolutely hate him for his betrayal after we “supported” him through his injuries. This is the story of Arsenal, a set of supporters so quick to vilify, and never willing to accept blame.

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  14. Proper interesting read, this.
    Wonder if a guy like Ramsey could have statistics on his side?
    But then again, Ramsey almost never play the same position two games in a row, meaning he may seem a bit schizophrenic…

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  15. He’s definitely looking better and the stats bear that out, but I think they do him a little TOO much service, e.g. touches and passes: the big, mobile centre midfielder should be in contention for having the highest numbers in these categories every week, no? It’s not like the goalie’s going to be vying for top spot…

    Yes he’s starting to show a few promising rays of hope that his dribbling and distribution can come back and he can be the influential ‘first man on the team sheet’ that French pundits hinted at when we signed him… but what frustrates me so much (and maybe others?) is that he doesn’t do nearly enough work for his team-mates / in defence. If you watch him with a critical eye* you’ll see how he’ll lose the ball and not bother to chase as his man then attacks the defence, when Diaby so clearly has the speed (/legs) to make up the ground and help snuff attacking threats out.

    Criticism has been leveled at Sagna this season, I think unfairly, as Theo’s often drifting inside, ignoring defensive duties** to play striker, while Diaby’s happy to just watch his team-mates try to wriggle out of 3-on-1 situations when he could easily show for the ball and help out, leaving Sagna/Jenks to run the whole right-hand-side of the pitch themselves. Anyone else notice how we’re recently been passing the ball around loads on the right touchline rather than moving it across? Diaby (& Arteta) should be distributing it from there to other areas…

    So yeah, he’s got a lot of fans on his back, somewhat because of his unfortunate circumstances, the victim being blamed, but somewhat because his “languid style” seems a function of a languid mindset when we don’t have possession, leading to some lazy defending and not assisting his team-mates. When we have the ball he’s good and will hopefully get better and better – clearly he has the potential. But for God’s sake make a bit more defensive effort man!

    *yes this is confirmation bias, I know, what can you do?
    ** not against Swansea, to his credit.

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    • i think this is a myth. i can remember many times him chasing back and making good interceptions and blocks and can’t remember too many times if any getting annoyed at him not chasing back and i have watched him a lot and very closely. you also have to give a guy coming back from injury some leeway for the first few games back. he is probably out of breath most of the time until he gets back into the pace of the game in the first team.

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      • re: low fitness – good point, possibly true.
        But myth? I’ve not read this anywhere, this is just me watching and shouting at the telly when he slows to a jog after a few steps rather than trying to win the ball back. I only recall it happening once @ Swansea, and like I say, confirmation bias, I’m looking out for it, so maybe he’s getting better, and fitter, and it’s going away.

        But maybe not, also.

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        • “…shouting at the telly when he slows to a jog after a few steps rather than trying to win the ball back.”

          Unless you’re watching the match in 3D, you cannot tell how far away the opposing player is from him with any accuracy. What may look like a couple of yards and easy to make up with a bit of a burst to you may actually be 10 or 15 and completely out of reach in real, three-dimensional life.

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  16. “fans” like that are just sad and there always seems to be a couple of players that have to be hated for no good reason (currently we have three – diaby, gervinho and ramsey). diaby can be a midfield boss of the highest calibre. big question is can he stay fit and it doesn’t make much sense to me hating a guy because he keeps getting injured. surely we should feel some sympathy for him no?

    anyway. has anyone ever considered the idea of diaby as a centre forward? apparently he was a striker when he was a young fella and he has all the attributes of a top centre forward. might be easier on his body too if we tried him up there. i certainly wouldn’t fancy marking him!

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    • “hating” is wrong regardless, but surely there are reasons that fans can be justified for being less than enthusiastic about certain players, based on their performances? If they can be loved, lauded & rewarded by doing well, then surely by doing badly?
      Ramsey had a pretty awful run where he couldn’t put a foot right, while being played out of position. His vilification was over-the-top in the extreme, but not with NO justification;
      Diaby – IMO as mentioned above – it’s felt by fans that given his time out he “owes” us big performances, but doesn’t seem to be trying. His style/body language don’t help, given how British fans tend to equate effort to passion/desire, but he genuinely doesn’t track back enough or help out his team-mates…
      Gervinho has comfortably put int he worst performanceS i’ve ever seen in an Arsenal shirt (yes, including Jeffers). Green shoots at Swansea are hopefully the signs that he actually knows how to play football, but he’s got a long way to go. It’s all very well – and laudable – to feel for a guy when he can’t put a foot right, but it’s naive to pretend it’s anything other than a cut-throat business where thousands of kids would tear their arms off to play up front for Arsenal, and when you see someone taking home a weekly salary way in excess of your yearly salary, only to trip over their feet, scuff the ball out for a goal kick, and contribute to an Arsenal loss, it’s inevitably going to draw ire. Such is life.

      To a certain extent things are extra-tough for our players given how the patience of the fans in paper thin after trophyless seasons, selling of best players, etc., and subsequently there’s less humour in the stands and we’re crueler. But there’s a little bit of “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”*

      *and by which I absolutely do not condone ANY of the cruel, riduculously vile stuff which gets thrown their way. But “you’re shit”? Fine. Angry venting of spleens so long as it’s not beyond the standards of human decency? That’s football.

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  17. The problem is he is way too inconsistent, success in the league is not about spurts of good play it is about consistently good play.

    Sorry to say it but he should go and be replaced with someone better.

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  18. Actually I always thought he had a not too bad game but also not a very good game. He certainly was better than I have seen him, especially when it comes to careless misplaced passes or being caught on the ball.

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  19. The problem is that in the eyes of some fans, certain players have become scapegoats for overall poor team performances and as a result they cannot do right whatever they do.

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  20. That fan must be one of those unpolished rectums from LeGrove. Anyone knows what Pedro looks like?

    The internet has created a bunch of FIFA12 couch potato morons, we wish they would stay home and blog their useless lives away.

    I love my Arsenal, support my coach, and know that we are only three players away from absolute greatness.

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  21. Some people dont understand football although they enjoy watching it. Just look at the so called experts on the telly. If you cant see Diaby has a spectacular talent you are lost. I have lost count on how many injuries he has had and that has affected him. Without those injuries he would have been better than yaya toure. Give him some time to find his form. Diaby out of form is still better than ramsey in-form!

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    • AFCNOR you had me right up till you made a negative comment on Ramsey which surprised me. I take it you forgot how incredible Ramsey was before his horrific injury which only now is showing signs and flashes of his pre injury form. you can not buy a healthy and inform Diaby and Ramsey on the transfer market.

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  22. after watching the game again i thought diaby was decent not excellent but then again the whole team did well and naturally the guys who may have underperformed are singled out more ruthlessly. But diaby seemed intent on moving the ball up forward, tried long balls, made good runs (finishing similar to somebody who lacks match sharpness) but was also part of the quick passing and honestly i really didn’t think he deserved such a bashing. It was a decent performance not exceptional but not dismal.

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  23. It’s a sorry state that were in, I fully believe these “fans” are the cause of some of our woes, arshavin for example is capable of true class but is constantly beaten up by supporters, Ramsey constantly slagged off and most recently chesney and TV5 have come in for some! Our fans are a disgrace, support what you have or don’t go if you think it’s a waste of money! I sit in the north bank and every game there is abuse, of players the manager and anyone who speaks up to these idiots! Should never be like that!

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  24. My memories from him in the game were picking the ball up, holding off 2 or 3 players with ease, moving into space and moving the ball along. He looked like he wasn’t at his best, and didn’t play with great gusto at times, which I think is because he’s not fit enough yet, hence why Wenger chose to take him off, but he has presence in the middle and he seems to disrupt other teams. We’re generally much better with him in the team than we are without him. He seems to have had a far greater effect on the side than Wilshere did, for example.
    BTW the best game I ever saw him play was actually for France. I think people would have been amazed. He WAS something like Flamini in that he was just relentlessly winning the ball back and getting about the pitch. We’ve all seen him do some great things for Arsenal (this goal against Villa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOs2Gf0rhd8 has always stuck out for me), but never have I seen such a performance from him for 90 minutes. It shows what he’s capable of when he’s fully fit. Hopefully his injury problems are starting to slow down and that sort of form is going to come from him in the near future.

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    • The best game I’ve ever seen him play was the Carling Cup final against Chelsea in 2007 when he hurt his ankle by kicking John Terry in the head (and to be clear I am not saying it is the best *just becuase* he kicked JT in the head). This was when Chelsea had a very strong midfield – Makelele, Essien, Ballack and Lampard, all as the 2007 versions of themselves – and we had a bunch of kids. Diaby was unreal that day.

      I think it was also the match in which Theo scored his first Arsenal goal.

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  25. Diaby has ability and physique no one else brings to the team. I think he’d play better in front of a defensive midfielder because he’s good at dribbling and protecting the ball. But also he plays better when Wilshere isn’t playing because of this. I guess all players in our squad bring something unique to the team. If he stays free of injury for the rest of the season, then I’d keep him for next season.

    Then again we have too many midfielders. We have good talent. Its not fair on them. Wenger will have some tough decisions this summer. He’s a man with a big heart. He seems to connect with the players emotionally. Its what I like about him, but I digress.

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  26. I don’t understand why someone who shouts stuff like that would bother to go to a game. Hopefully they haven’t procreated. I like Diaby and (ahem…yes I know) would like to see what he could do with an injury free run (that’s him done for). AW may not always get it right but I think the whole ‘Wenger is over-sentimental to his injured players’ is too simplistic. He’ll stick by players he knows can add something different or special to the side (Van Pussy for example), Eduardo didn’t get quite the same.

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  27. Man, you lot need to stop with the casual racism. Criticising all other clubs that aren’t arsenal is what it’s all about. But why do you enjoy criticising Wales so much? The fact that there are people contributing to this website that hold unreasonable prejudice against whole nations makes me little bit sad, and less inclined to visit. I’m not patriotic at all, because it’s archaic and it’s the first step towards racial prejudice. I’ve only commented like twice before. I refrained from moaning about this on here when I’ve seen it in the past. Just think before you spout racist comments. I’m a lifelong gooner from cardiff. I’ve tried supporting my local team several times but my passion for arsenal is too great. I see games whenever i can. Cheers.

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  28. The one thing ive always wondered about Diaby is….why are his legs so skinny!?
    They’re like long toothpicks holding up the big man…luckily they have a lot of skills in them!

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  29. Lets not get carried away with stats….are there any stats showing how much we’ve paid him in wages whilst injured! In my opinion we should sell him and buy a more aggressive,fitter,stronger Dm! His best days are behind him,get him in the fire sale at the end of the season!

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  30. Lets hope his garlicky bellend International boss doesnt crock him again before he has time to get fit. The guy has massive potential, but needs time to recover from a few years of injury issues. Good luck Abou, the gooners with brains want you fit.

    The plums wishing ill upon their own players should get a song from the fans, Im sure the creative ones can think up something to shame the idiots, nothing like being made to look a mug on the telly. All the fans letting you know its not acceptable im sure it would stop.

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  31. Wont let the fact that I love diaby but pushing on.with crocked players has been one of the many reasons for our decline. We spend too much time worrying about who’s out instead of who we ought to be bringing in.

    We’re now left with “ifs”
    If we had a fully fit diaby playing week in week out blah blah won some of
    If we had a fully fit gibbs we would never have conceded so many left back aided goals.rosicky e.t.c

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  32. I thought Diaby played alright, but certainly no where near what I expect of him every time I see him walking out of the tunnel. He always seems to spend that extra 1-2 seconds on the ball than all the other players and sometimes against top class opposition that sort of delay on the ball can cause a counter attack down the other end (and we all know how our defence generally copes with those). And he also never seems to have the confidence to take a shot. Maybe these are his confidence issues but thats up to him to pick himself up after the injuries and get stronger mentally. I do think he is a great, if not fantastic player on his day but sadly those days dont seem to be too often, for every great performance there are 5,6,7 mediocre performances. Even so, telling him to go break his leg is just shameful. Fans like this scum should be nowhere near our football club.

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  33. I thought he looked a couple of steps faster than he has in recent games. It looked like he was getting more confident in his legs after all of the injury issues.

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  34. Hello Everyone!

    I feel that Diaby will soon be back at the level he was at the at the beginning of the season, especially that Liverpool Away game. I feel bad for Diaby because of his injury ravaged career, sometimes I feel like he is holding back and not playing fully because he is trying to prevent himself from being injured. Probably why he doesn’t tackle as much as he should.

    If Diaby get back to that Liverpool form, Ramsey continues to grow and improve and Rosicky gets to show the class and talent that he has like he did at the end of last season, it really is amazing to think how deep our midfield is with immensely talented footballers.

    We are a brand new Arsenal fan page just starting out! We are not negative; that is also to say that we are not ignorantly positive as well. We will criticize, but never blatantly scapegoat or hate. Arsenal fans since we were born. COME ON YOU GUNNERS

    http://www.facebook.com/WheresTheArsenalWeAllKnew

    Ali and Rashad

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  35. What about the distance he covered during the match? You get the feeling it is not as much as other DMs (though probably more than Arteta) and that it could be his actual weakness.

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  36. The last time I saw Diaby play in the flesh was when we beat Porto 4-0 in the CL a couple of years back. Everyone was talking about Fabregas and Arshavin that night but Diaby was a revelation – he stood out a mile as the most talented player on the pitch – completely dominating the Porto midfield and dragging their midfielders all over the place opening up space for others who were made to look better than they were. He is a different class to Ramsey, chamakh and Walcott. That’s why wenger sticks by him – kind of like what he did with van Persie when the skunk was always injured. It will be worth it if he can just get 20-30 games in a row.

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  37. I actually knew that Diaby was having his best game since coming back from injury while watching the match. And his teammates knew it as well because they kept feeding him the ball, they sensed his confidence. I know i’m gonna crucified for this but guys like Diaby, Gervinho and even Sagna get overlooked because of their race, or even perhaps because they aren’t britiish. I like Jenkinson, he’s a nice player, but the flashes he’s shown this season has been consistently displayed by Sagna since he’s been a gunner. Yet the moment that his form escaped him this season, he’s been labeled a failure. That is straight bullshit!! Gervinho is rubbish, lets face it. But howcome when people describe Ramsey, they say that he never hides. Which is stupid when you consider that a guy gets paid millions to play a game, especially since he is devoid of any real talent in the first place. For me Gervinho always tries, he fails most of the times, but he does try. Unlike our best paid player Walcott who has sucked since his big payday.

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  38. Have to agree.

    Diaby is still a little tentative but he provides better shielding than Ramsey does.

    It makes sense to play him next to Arteta and afford Santi 9or Jack or even Ramsey) better freedom of movement slightly forward.

    The real issue with Diaby is durability. Otherwise if back to normal, he has been a much improved player over the last two seasons.

    Not sure why all the moaning over his performances. He’s exactly what we need …if his fit.

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  39. The issue I had with Diaby is he looked like he was playing at half speed. Maybe that’s just his “languid” style of play as everyone calls it but I get the feeling that there’s more to it than that. Because he is so injury prone it appears as if he plays not to get injured. We’ve seen him pull up countless times for a making one awkward stretch or one shot from distance, and I think that is in the back of his mind. I don’t for a second doubt his talent and I truly believe that had he not had these injury problems and played 40 games a year he would be the most important player in our side. But we don’t live in a hypothetical world

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  40. 3 tackles and 3 interceptions in 70 mins is hardly your important defensive shield. He’s doing OK, but is OK the standard we should accept at Arsenal? It really depends what you’re measuring his performance against. Ironically the guy in the crowd probably thinks Diaby can do a better job than 7amkickoff

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  41. In my Swansea march review I say how he had a decent game and how the pub fans were slagging him off but it didn’t matter coz he could t hear them… Alas there was some prick in the front row hurling abuse :(

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