Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

I was wrong, Diaby played left wing

Posted by James Dall on 25, January 2007

So much for the debate yesterday of who will partner Diaby centrally. He ended up playing left side of midfield, a decision I have to say I agree with. Playing him wider meant it he was less involved, therefore this gave him a gentler ease back into first team football. Denilson partnered Fabregas in the centre, more on that a bit later on.

The youngsters showed fantastic character last night after coming back from two goals down. Tottenham to be fair to them started with an excellent tempo, which put us on the back foot. They managed to carve out a couple of half chances early on but went ahead through a poorly defended goal. A cross was whipped in, then there was a mix up between Kolo and Almunia meaning that Berbatov had an empty net to head into. In my opinion even if Toure thinks he did or should have got a shout from the GK, there is no point taking the risk so you should just head it away.

Spurs went two nil up after an awful decision by Graham Poll. Somehow he awarded a free kick for a ‘foul’ on Steed. Denilson was simply stronger but nonetheless he awarded the free kick. It was whipped in, dummied by Dawson and then clipped off the heels of Baptista into our net. No way on earth did Spurs deserve to be two goals up. It remained that scoreline until half time, although Baptista really should have stuck one away but the ball got trapped under his feet.

On the 56th minute Diaby was replaced by Hleb to give us a bit more natural width. Shortly after, Aliardiere was then replaced by Eboue due to injury. Shortly after that we scored! For most of the half we had been dominating possession, picking passes and just waiting for the right moment to pounce. Superb build up from us lead to The Bap on the edge of the area. He knocked it into Walcott who did well to flick it on under pressure, the stumbling Baptista worked his way into the box and poked home. We were back in it.

On the 77th minute we equalised. Fabregas picked it up and just waited for the right moment to release someone. That someone was Justin Hoyte who bombed it down the wing and was beautifully picked out by Fabregas. Robinson, for some unknown reason, came surging out which meant Hoyte only had to cross it so Baptista could tap into an empty net. A deserved equaliser. We could have gone on to win it but baring in mind a team made up of mainly youth players had just come back from two goals behind against Spurs, we should be very proud. A negative of the match is that Hleb went off injured with what looked like a hamstring injury. I hope he is not out for too long, our only real winger is Rosicky. Although apparently Freddie is very close to a return.

You can watch the goals here.

So there we have it, a brilliant comeback proving the talent we have once again. So with regards to individual performances – The back four coped well I thought apart from the mix up on the first goal. Hoyte is improving nicely and Traore showed fantastic promise for only a 17 yr old. Senderos and Toure were rocks, however Senderos’ passing does worry me at times. Walcott was pretty average. Nothing really came off for him but we know what he is capable of so I am not going to get on his back. Denilson looked like a real talent, he demanded the ball throughout – a superb quality. Diaby, playing left wing, show flashes of class but understandably tired as the game went on. To be fair to him, to play our of position and play your first game in 9 months, he did well. Aliardiere was pretty much non existent and went off injured. He seems to be pretty injury prone. I am sure news of the injury will be announced later. Baptista had an OK game but that OK performance was turned into a very good one with two goals. He seems to have a real instinct for getting into the box and finding good positions. He could well be a superb asset this season. The subs performed well, Hleb provided us with more creativity, I really hope his injury is short term. Eboue was excellent on the right wing but seemed to pick up a knock. Flamini had little time. Now you may think I am forgetting someone but I am not…

…Fabregas was unreal. Not much more can be said on this lad surely? He bossed the midfield. He made Spurs central midfielders look so ornidary. We all love him. He is a true great already.

A good night overall then. 2-2 away with a young team is a good result. Arsene was obviously pleased. How strong the team will be in the second leg very much depends on how the F.A. Cup match goes against Bolton (I really hope we stuff them).

A preview of the Bolton game tomorrow then.


We lost Van Persie on Sunday and now we have lost Hleb. Hleb has done his hamstring and it doesn’t look too good. Aliardiere got a kick in his back but he should be OK.

Gutting about Hleb, I wish him the speediest of recoveries.


8 Responses to “I was wrong, Diaby played left wing”

  1. Eddy said

    Sorry but if you look at our performance pre Diaby’s substitution by Hleb we were being ripped to shreds down our left because Diaby didn’t have a clue how to operate in that position.Once he was substituted we gained more balance and the Lennon threat was less effective.Diaby hasn’t got a left foot and should play centrally from now on or on the right as a last resort.

  2. Eddy, I am certainly not saying that left wing is Diaby’s position. My point is that the guy has been out for a long time and to play him central in a game with a as high a tempo as this would not have been wise. We all know central is his best position and a match fit Diaby can really excel in that position.

  3. Emkay said

    Good appraisal. It’s stirring stuff from the Gunners at the moment – may it continue. Baptista is showing the class that he has promised and we shouldn’t be too hard on Walcott as he is only 17 years old and still learning his craft. He has a bright future in my view. Eboue made such a difference, together with Hleb – let’s hope his ‘knock’ is not too serious. Cesc is simple the best and I believe Denilson could follow in his footsteps – another great talent. It’s good to be a Gooner at the moment and life will be near perfect when we stuff Bolton and the scum next week. Can’t wait to get back to the Emirates which is becoming such a great theatre. Come on you Gunners!

  4. Eddy said

    What was plainly obvious to anyone at the game was that Diaby’s inability to play left side effected our balance and it would have been better to swap him with Walcott who was playing right wing but is quick and has a better left foot and it is no coincidence that our team suddenly looked threatening when we put someone on the left who had pace and can play with both feet.To say “the guy isn’t clearly match fit so we hid him on the left”is not a decent arguement.

  5. Steveo said

    Even though Diaby wont be 100% for a while I still think he should have been in the centre. He gave the ball away constantly and clearly wasnt settled on the left. Denilson did a brilliant job on the left against Liverpool even though he is better in the centre as well.

  6. Oscar said

    Great comeback by the guys!!

    If we can avoid mistakes at set-pieces on Sunday against Bolton we should progress. Bolton is a very primitive team, football wise, and I do hope we teach ’em a lesson!

  7. amiripz said

    Arsene pushed Diaby on the left intentionally.
    I agree with Arsenalnews on this one. You cant put a player after being out 3-4 months immediately on fire.

    Re Hleb: Arsenal can`t just be healthy for a full month.
    Just when we were expecting Gallas back, we lost RVP and AH. Damn.

  8. azman said

    nice blog…

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