Ever since he arrived on the scene Abou Diaby has received comparisons to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira. Tall, athletic, a workhorse but with the talent to pull off the unexpected, Diaby has been asked to fill Vieira’s massive shoes and become a world class central midfielder in north London.
Against Liverpool in the week, Diaby gave another performance which showed he may in fact be able to reach those lofty expectations. Not only did the number two score the winner, but his overall box to box performance was hugely impressive.
Alongside Alex Song, Diaby was a mainstay in the centre of the park. Whether that was because he was collecting the ball off his defence and spreading the play around the team, or whether it was because Diaby was found closing down the opposition, he was never too far away from the action.
Diaby showed off specific skills during the match. He repeatedly attacked high balls and won headers against the Liverpool midfield. He displayed nimble feet to get his out of pressurised situations. And his passing distribution to his Arsenal teammates was spot on, the highlight being a beautiful 50-yard pass than fell perfectly at the feet of Arshavin during the first half.
Finally there was the goal, as Diaby took responsibility to race into space in the middle of the Liverpool area to meet Rosicky’s right wing cross.
Diaby’s match highlights against Liverpool can be seen here.