Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Who will partner Diaby in the centre?

Posted by James Dall on 24, January 2007

Afternoon, let’s get straight into the talking points for Wednesday then.

The following comments from Wenger really caught my attention-

I had a big doubt in my mind that he would come back. They told me first that the broken ankle was very serious and they needed advice from the surgeon. He was only optimistic after the surgery. That is when he said Abou should recover normally. It was the first relief for me. Even after the surgery you never know how his rehabilitation will go and whether he will have any set-backs. He did have to have surgery on his knee so he needed to be really patient. But what is good at his age is he can recover fully and secondly when they have such a big blow they come back stronger mentally. They go through such a lot of suffering and that makes them stronger.

Quite shocking indeed. I knew the severity of the injury but was not aware that there was more than a chance that it might jeopardise his playing career. That really would have been a tragic loss. It is worrying to think that the terrible challenge from that Sunderland player may have ended a talented players career. Arsene speaks more about his road to recovery and his similarities with Patrick. Now I know I have built up his return quite high, however it is important for us all not to expect too much from him. Tonight will be his first start in 9 months so I think we can excuse him if he is a bit off. None the less his return is more than welcome.

Following Robin’s injury it appears that the door has opened a bit wider for The Bap –

I like the man and I like the player. It is down to how much and how quickly he adapts to our game now. He has another chance [tonight] and the fact that Robin is injured means he will have more of opportunity to show how good he is.

Every cloud eh. I for one am truly gutted about the loss of Robin but if Baptista plays well again this evening he really will be breathing down the necks of Henry and Adebayor.

So now to this evening’s team. The squad is as follows –

2. Abou Diaby
4. Francesc Fabregas
5. Kolo Toure
6. Philippe Senderos
9. Julio Baptista
13. Alexander Hleb
15. Denilson
16. Mathieu Flamini
21. Mart Poom
24. Manuel Almunia
27. Emmanuel Eboue
30. Jeremie Aliadiere
31. Justin Hoyte
32. Theo Walcott
43. Mark Randall
45. Armand Traore

A bit stronger than the squad that travelled to Liverpool. My thinking on the starting line-up is as follows…

Aliardiere, Baptista

Denilson, Diaby, Flamini, Walcott

Traore, Senderos, Toure, Hote


I have to admit I am not sure about the midfield. Denilson did a job at wide left against Liverpool but I know this is not his natural position. Diaby will definitely be in there, who partners him in midfield will be interesting. Possibly Fabregas? If not then surely Flamini. I am confident Walcott will start right wing.

I await your thoughts and comments….


23 Responses to “Who will partner Diaby in the centre?”

  1. Alex said

    That’s exactly the team I picked. Poor old Kolo never gets a rest but to be fair doesnt seem to look tired ever!

    Cesc/Hleb/Eboue will be on hte bench in case things go badly

    Can’t see Randal getting on unless we are 3 up.

  2. Gooner_FIN said

    Ma starting line-up:


  3. Eddie said

    I have the same line-up as Gooner-Fin. Hleb had a ‘mare against United and needs to redeem himself. I can’t see Cesc starting and a midfield of Diaby and Flamini with Denilson and Walcott wide offers little to no creativity.

  4. Eric said


  5. Neal said

    Yes, Wenger does have a record of keeping players that played poorly at the weekend in the team. If it gets their confidence up and there form back then it is worth it. That accounts for Hleb.

  6. gazzap said

    I’m with Gooner Fin as well.

  7. After reading your comments I have to admit most of you have a point. Hleb starting might well happen as like you said he played poorly on the weekend and will provide a better creative edge. Therefore it would be Theo on the left and Denilson and Diaby in the centre.COME ON THE GUNNERS!!

  8. CmonYaGunners! said

    Agree with AOTA but was wondering where Song is? is he injured? I just assumed he’d be in tonites team, as Le Boss seems to wana persist with him! however, must admit he played well last game…

  9. neil said

    I think Arsene might do it like this

    Baps Ali

    Traore Denilson Diaby Walcott

    Hoyte king Kolo swiss Tony Eboue


  10. Song is away on international duty

  11. Anon 1 said

    Hleb will definitely start…Wenger seems to prefer Walcott as a right winger at the moment so Alex is gonna play wide left…we will need that creativity because for all plaudits the kids rightly took against Liverpool Cesc played in the middle…Flamini will also partner Diaby in the centre

  12. Pirate said

    My guess is that Diaby comes off after about 70 and may play against his old pals Bolton.

  13. Maz said

    Fabregas will start becuase diaby and denilson or flamini will not provide any creativity and that is how we beat liverpool, the team tnight will be:

    Baptista Aliadiere
    Denilson Diaby Fabregas Walcott
    Traore Senderos Toure Hoyte
    And there is no doubt tottenham will play a strong side and my guess is this:

    Mido defoe
    Murphy Ghaly Zokora Lennon
    Ekotto Dawson Gardner Lee
    ‘Our gooner youngsters should kill this team’!

  14. Le said

    I would have expected Djouru instead of Toure (We need a leader, so I hope Toure is in there, but both Sand and DJour need to lose the rust and improve, but here goes. Theo started left against L’pool, possibly again and may change with Hleb depending.

    Bap, Ali

    Theo, Diaby, Denilson, Hleb

    Traore, Sand, Toure, Hoyte


  15. bayo said

    my starting line up’s as follows
    Ali Baptista

    Flamini Diaby Dennilson Theo

    Traore Senderos Kolo Hoyte


  16. phil said

    My Starting lineup woul be

    Aliadiere Baptista

    Denilson Diaby Flamini/Fabregas Theo

    Traore Toure Senderos Hoyte


    Hoping for a win 0-2 but will be happy with a draw with this young side who knows, big fan of diaby, hoping for him to break into the first team after Gil and wanting Baptista to stay as reyes is not good enough for us and Aliadiere to stay as he was outstanding against Liverpool.

  17. fredrol said

    i think they should have tried out fran merida on the left wing, leaving walcott out and played hhleb on the right wing.

    Aliadiere – Baptista
    F.Merida – Denilson – Flamini – Hleb
    Traore – Toure – Senderos – Hoyte
    walcott will be substitute for the two strikers..

  18. kick off delayed 15 mins…

  19. Glo said

    I am holding my fingers crossed

  20. Glo said

    We won’t lose, but Theo has being poor. I say give him 15 mins no improvement then bring on Hleb. Diaby has being good but I think Diaby should play central and Denilson to the RHS. A good game. Spurs were lucky both goals could have being avoided but we will come to emirate and we fans will show with the players…

  21. Glo said

    Theo is a top player he seems like he doesn’t believe he should be there but I think he could potential be the best striker we have had, even better than Henry. He needs time.

  22. Glo said

    I said it..

  23. Dipp said

    Well, Bap certainly made RVP’s injury seem less like a problem today. 3 goals isn’t a bad day…

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