Daily Archives: September 10, 2012
Arsenal’s ambassadors on international duty went through the first phase of international fixtures unscathed. The prayers and fasting will resume in earnest as the second set of fixtures would take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
One of the Gunners to make a difference in his country’s opening tie was Abou Diaby. The lanky Frenchman pulled the strings in the Les Bleus midfield and scored what proved to be the match winner against Finland. French gaffer, Didier Deschamps, heaped praise on the midfielder with a new lease of life, and hoped that he’ll be fit enough to play Belarus.
“Now, I am careful about every detail, I leave nothing to chance. I am much more mature. I also had a full pre-season for the first time in ages. It’s such an important season for me that I am working harder than ever to succeed.
“I have revenge to take over the time I lost but I want to prove to myself that I can go higher. I am getting to an age and to a time in my career where I need to show what I can do on the pitch in the long term.
“I don’t want to miss out on anything. I know what my qualities are and I want to use them to go higher. I have played three games this season, I getting better but I can do more. Physically, I am only 70 per cent.”
From the way Arsene Wenger fought to sign him from Auxerre in 2006, and with a frame no different from the great Monsieur Vieira, Diaby was tipped for greater things but Sunderland’s Dan Smith’s horror tackle in May 2006 halted a learning curve that was at a steep end. From there onwards, it was injury after injury and operation after operation.
Watching Diaby come on as a sub in Anfield (last season) only to leave the pitch after five minutes was a unpleasant sight, and I, like many Gooners out there, wanted the club to cut its losses to sell Diaby in the next available transfer window.
I’ll be watching the bloke with a keen eye when the French team take on Belarus and I’m praying that he won’t be overused by his nation because the games are coming thick and fast in the Premier League (Southampton) as well as Olivier Giroud’s homecoming in the Champions League (Montpellier).
Diaby’s renaissance has also put a dent in the progress of Francis Coquelin, that was tipped to be Alex Song’s natural successor, after the club failed to buy a direct replacement for the departed Cameroonian. Le Coq had hoped that Song’s exit would have paved the way for him in Arsenal’s starting XI but he’s down the pecking order behind Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta for that coveted holding role.
He claims that he had an engagement with the boss during the preseason and Wenger told him that he’s part of his plans for the new season. However, lack of game time (just three games though), has seen Coquelin grab the headlines of a Sky Sports column,
“Alex Song left for Barcelona and Arsenal didn’t sign another defensive midfielder. When I didn’t play in the first three matches it made me think about it. But I know I will get an opportunity and I will seize it.
“Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla are great players, who have more experience than me. But during training sessions every morning I am not behind them.
“I am 21-years-old, I know I cannot be patient any more. This year is the right season to make a name for myself at Arsenal. I have given myself six months and then I will take stock. If I see it is blocked, I will go somewhere else. But for now I know I have the qualities to make a name for myself at Arsenal.”
In my opinion, Coquelin’s “indirect outburst” wasn’t really necessary because Arsenal has played only three games in the new campaign and I’d tipped him to make his first appearance against Southampton. Wenger has shown faith times without number on young lads ready to make that step up, but Coquelin should realize that patience is a virtue that can help him to achieve his dreams at a top-level club like Arsenal.
I know that he has notched up just 20 appearances since arriving at the club in 2008 but the loan move to Lorient did wonders to his confidence and last season’s cameo performances were worth relishing yet again. From his time as an emergency fullback to his efficient outings in the holding role, Coquelin has shown the glimpses of quality to make him a gem for the future.
When Bleacher Report’s Allan Jiang revealed Yann M’Vila’s stats in a well-researched article, he also took out time to juxtapose between M’Vila and Coquelin where he labelled Coquelin as an exact clone of M’Vila.
With the basis of comparison being the respective leagues of both players, Coquelin got the upper hand over the much sought-after M’Vila in tackles per game, tackles per foul and pass completion percentage.
Trust me, the article is worth a read.
I really like this new-look Arsenal side with players that are ready to give their all on the pitch. With Alex Song out, the Gunners have an Abou Diaby that is ready to play each game like it’s his last and a certain Francis Coquelin waiting in the ranks to prove his worth to the team.
Exciting times are back again people.
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