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Diaby Reveals Why He Joined Marseille and More Players Leave on Loan

Good luck Abou

Time truly waits for no man.

I’m scheduled to travel offshore next week so I’ve been heavily involved in some front end activity here at work. Surprisingly, the last two days have waltzed past me and I’ve not even had the time to write anything on the blog. Its times like this I wished I had a columnist that could hold the fort when I’m not available but it’s aii. These things happen.

As we eagerly anticipate the Community Shield between the Gunners and those Rent Boys, their manager has been on the news lately and I wouldn’t even bother you with the bullcrap he has been spitting from his pile hole recently. I know Arsene Wenger hasn’t defeated him in 13 attempts but all records are meant to be broken. More on the Community Shield in the coming days.

The club has finally confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny has completed his long-awaited loan move to AS Roma and Arseblog wrote a rather emotional piece about the goalie, which in my honest opinion was a very good read, so help yourselves out. That’s if you haven’t seenit already. I’ve shared my thoughts on the Szczesny to Roma issue as well, so there’s no point dwelling on it anymore.


Elsewhere, the club has also confirmed that youngster, Jon Toral, will play the 2015/16 campaign in Birmingham City. Toral was loaned to Brentford last season and he made 37 appearances for the Bees, scoring six goals which included a scintillating hat-trick against Blackpool. Birmingham hasn’t returned to the Premier League since their relegation in the 2010/11 campaign but they’d fondly remember the Capital One Cup victory over the Gunners that season. Arsenal has had its fair share of contingent that have played for the club in the past with Lord Nicklas Bendtner featuring consistently for the club in the 2006/07 season, scoring 13 goals in 48 appearances for the club. Aliaksandr Hleb featured for the club as well, and he suffered the ignominy of relegation.

Szczesny and Toral will join the likes of Yaya Sanogo (Ajax) and Carl Jenkinson (West Ham) as players that have been farmed out on loan and I’d expect more players to join this list.

You also must be aware that everyone’s sweetheart, Abou Diaby, has returned home to play for Marseille. Just a few weeks ago, he was pretty close to signing for West Brom and Sky Sports even reported that he was due to go for a medical with the Baggies, but the move fell through for reasons best known to the injury gods of Novigrad, Velen and Skellige.

Diaby made 182 appearances in nine-and-a-half years for the Gunners but sadly, he made only two appearances in his last two seasons with the club. In an exclusive interview with RMC Sport, Diaby has revealed his reasons for leaving the Gunners, snubbed a move to West Brom and joined Marseille,

“It was knowing which club would help me the best medically. That was my real priority. I had very, very advanced talks with West Brom. But I found Marseille was better. I thought: why not come back to France?

“I don’t want to draw emotional conclusions. The reality is different. I haven’t played for two years. I need to rebuild myself, to put myself in a good place to play football again. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was my choice.”

“I had hard times in those nine years, but some beautiful moments. I had the chance to get to know Arsene Wenger, who is a truly great coach and a great man, too.

“I regret that I wasn’t able to show all my qualities and potential. Now, a new chapter begins.”

His time at Arsenal was riddled with injuries and he has identified Marseille as a club that could help him medically. I wish him the very best in this new chapter of his life and I hope he realizes that potential we couldn’t see at Arsenal because of his injuries.


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Celebrating Diaby: The Midfielder’s Best Moments at Arsenal

It’s one of those mornings when you wish you slept on time in the previous night because your alarm turned into your enemy, making its usual noises that’s meant to wake you up but you keep snoozing till you can snooze no more. Here I am with a hot cup of coffee (something I don’t usually drink) trying to publish a quickie before I get ready for my work activities of the day.

Yesterday, the club published a list of the players they have been released. Youngsters like Jack Jebb, Austin Lipman, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Josh Vickers have been sent packing but they’d be joined by Abou Vassiriki Diaby that has reached the end of his Arsenal career after 10 seasons with the club. Diaby joined from AJ Auxerre for a reported £2 million and it was reported that he turned down advances from Chelsea to make the move to Arsenal. After 180 games for the club, I’ve decided to relive those moments that endeared Diaby to the fans, that will always be sympathetic to him due to his numerous injury problems.


Making his Arsenal Debut

It was never easy for a 19-year-old youngster like Diaby to break into the first team following his acquisition from Auxerre but Arsene Wenger put him on the bench when the Gunners visited Goodison Park to take on David Moyes and his hordes. Arsène Wenger had gone into this game without five defenders – Ashley Cole (thigh), Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue (both international commitments), Gael Clichy (foot) and Pascal Cygan (thigh) and in addition, Robin van Persie (toe) was out and Dennis Bergkamp was saved for Tuesday’s Carling Cup Semi-Final second leg against Wigan – which the Gunners still lost.

Everton grabbed what proved to be the only goal of the game when James Beattie latched onto a Tim Cahill cross to put the game beyond doubt. Wenger brought on Aliaksandr Hleb for Kerrea Gilbert in his bid to get something out of the game. With nine minutes to go, Wenger took out Robert Pires and handed Diaby his debut. It was a overwhelming situation for the lad but he managed to do okay that night.

His Goals, All 19 of Them

Diaby chipped in with the odd goal or two during his time at the club and his first ever goal against Aston Villa bellied his youthful years by smashing the back of Thomas Sorensen’s net after getting a threaded pass from Emmanuel Adebayor. He went on to score 19 goals for the club and the YouTube clip focuses on his top 10 for your viewing pleasure.

Kicking ‘Racism’ Out of Football

It was the 2007 Carling Cup final and Wenger had the audacity to play some of his youngsters in a game when experience would have been key. Jose Mourinho featured the likes of John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho in defense, Claude Makelele, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard in midfield, Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko in attack. Wenger opted for youngsters like Justin Hoyte, Armand Traore, Phillippe Sendeors, Denilson, Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Diaby and even Jeremie Aliadiere.

Two goals from Drogba settled the contest and won Chelsea the competition but Diaby will always be remembered for kicking Terry on the face, albeit mistakenly, in the box.

It was a scary moment for the neutrals as they watched in anguish and wished the best for Terry, but it was ‘trolled’ afterwards as ‘kicking racism out of football when Terry was involved in the racial abuse allegations with Anton Ferdinand a couple of years after.

Forming that Formidable Midfield Trio with Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song

After a couple of injury problems, Diaby found some measure of fitness at the start of the 2009/10 season where he featured consistently for the Gunners. He forged a great understanding with Fabregas and Song scoring seven goals and creating six assists. This turned out to be his best season in Arsenal colors.

A Fantastic Outing at Anfield

Arsenal beat Liverpool at the start of the 2012/13 season with goals from Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski but the undisputed Man of the Match was Abou Diaby. The Frenchman ran the show that day, making himself available for every pass and bossing things in midfield. One of the best individual performances I’ve seen from a Gunner.

Scoring his First (and Only) Goal for France

Representing your nation is biggest honor that can be bestowed on a player, but scoring for your nation, especially when it was a goal that won the game for your team in a World Cup qualifier must be a high point from a personal perspective.

Diaby seems unlikely to add to his 16 caps for France but he can take some confidence in the fact that he was one of their best players in the 2010 World Cup, a tournament France plummeted downhill due to poor performances on the pitch and indiscipline off it.

Making his Long Awaited Comeback against Norwich

Diaby suffered an ACL injury that sidelined him for nine months and it seemed as if his career was over. However, he made his long awaited comeback in the Gunners 2-0 over Norwich two seasons ago when he came on as a sub for Tomas Rosicky. He had a few touches in the game and every touch was greeted with a roar from the Arsenal faithful, showing their appreciation for their player.


It was a good adventure between the Gunners and Abou Diaby but he will always be remembered for his injury problems.

180 games, 19 goals, 16 assists – that’s the legacy he left at the club.

I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.


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A Tribute to Abou Diaby – A Sad Career Blighted by Injuries

Football sometimes, can be a cruel sport.

One minute, everything is working out for you and you’re the king in your own game of thrones, next minutes, you’re pummeled to the very depths of everything wrong with the game.

Truth be told, injuries have become part and parcel of the modern game. The competitive nature of football has led to teams battling each other for the ultimate goal of gaining victory and like every battle, there are casualties. In a club as technically proficient like Arsenal, they are players that are always on the line of fire due to their style of play while there are others that are just unlucky.

Arsenal is a club that has become somewhat synonymous with injuries season after season but there’s a player that has spent more times injured than any other person I can remember at the club – Abou Vassiriki Diaby.

This infographic, via the Daily Mail, shows all the injuries Diaby has suffered since he joined the club,

All 42 of Diaby's injuries since he joined Arsenal in January 2006

Since his long-awaited return from his ACL injury, Diaby has continued to suffer constant niggling injuries and he made his comeback on the last Premier League game of the 2013/14 campaign against Norwich. Apparently, that turned out to be his last Premier League appearance with the club. His final appearance for the team was against Southampton in the Capital One Cup and it lasted little over an hour. In 10 seasons with the club, Diaby made 124 league appearances, scoring 14 goals and creating 11 assists. That’s an average of just 12.4 league appearances per season, if you do the math.

Diaby actually had his moments while donning the Red and White of Arsenal – the infamous kick to John Terry’s face in the 2007 Capital One Cup final, the top-notch performance against Liverpool at Anfield, the dominant midfield outings that made Arsene Wenger have high hopes for him. Everyone connected with the club knew that Wenger wanted Diaby to make it at the club but his constant injury problems never allowed him to reach that huge potential everyone felt he had.

“Diaby is on the fringe of coming back into full training but he is not there yet. He has a calf problem. His injuries are never severe but little ‘grade ones’. He is not available yet. If Diaby is fully fit, he will have a new deal at Arsenal” – Arsene Wenger (December 2014)

Wenger was probably hoping that his injury problems were now behind him, but Diaby proved his manager wrong. The Premier League’s website published an official list of all the players that have been released by their clubs and there were some high profile names in several clubs. A lot of youngsters got the axe and there would be a couple of big names that would seek new employers next season but at Arsenal, we will no longer see the likes of Semi Ajayi, Jack Jebb, Austin Lipman, Josh Vickers, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, Ryo Miyaichi and of course, Abou Diaby.

Unfortunately, Diaby’s injury records speaks in volumes and I tend to wonder if he’d find another club soon. Any team trying to invest in his services would know that there’s a potential for him to suffer those niggling injuries.

I wish Diaby the very best in his future endeavors.


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