Should Abou Diaby be played as striker?

After watching the 3-1 win in Newcastle this weekend I pondered over Diaby’s role in central midfield. Diaby scored in the match and it struck me that he might be a good candidate for conversion to striker.

Image courtesy of Wonker

There is a good case that he should be converted to play as striker. Firstly he has proven that he can find the back of the net – scoring quite a few goals in his time at Arsenal, against Liverpool in last season’s CL QF, and against Fenerbahce this season (image above), as well as many others. Diaby took his goal well at the weekend too, with a powerful and accurate shot.

Another factor is that in central midfield he can be a liability. I know that he has amazing potential for central midfield, but he takes risks with the ball which are unacceptable. His distribution is not quick enough; he doesn’t release the ball, choosing to hold on to it and try to dribble it round 3 players instead. This isn’t saying he can never play there, but merely suggesting we should always consider where we can get the most out of a player.

I know many would like to see him fill the Patrick Vieira mould, I just don’t think he has the defensive nous about him. That isn’t to say I think he is a bad player, just more of an attacking midfielder – if he is playing in midfield. We know that he likes to think of himself as an attacking midfielder, but what if we extended this idea further?

It could be argued that his attributes fit the strikers mould – he is tall and powerful, useful against the tough defences in the Premiership. He also has amazing control and can hold onto the ball in very tight positions – the urge to dribble round players which is so dangerous in central midfield could be very effective in taking on the last line of defence. He can also pass well when he wants to, and as he showed at Newcastle he has pace, and most importantly a great shot.

The state of the squad does pose a problem, as we lack big strong midfielders; Diaby fills a gap there, whilst we have plenty of players who can play up front. So for now it would seem that selection consigns Diaby to stick to learning to play in the centre of midfield. However, if the need existed for a striker then I think he could be a successful conversion. It would be very interesting to see how he would perform if Wenger deployed him up front, but he will always be a central midfielder.

What do you think Diaby’s best position is?

17 thoughts on “Should Abou Diaby be played as striker?

  1. TT

    To say he should be played as a striker suggests that he is good enough. So are we going to replace one of Arshavin, van Persie, Eduardo, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela and Adebayor for him?

    The guy is not good enough.

  2. Funky Kolo

    I stopped reading your article when I got to this: –

    “I know many would like to see him fill the Patrick Vieira mould, I just don’t think he has the defensive nous about him.”

    – Sorry mate, Paddy wasn’t a defensive MF’der – he was the opposite – an attacking one!

    1. I never said that Paddy was a defensive midfielder – can you see that from the quote you used? It merely states that Diaby isn’t as good defensively as Vieira in central midfield. But I would argue that Vieira was technically a defensive midfielder, it doesn’t mean he can’t attack.

  3. Trennon

    I understand what you’re trying to say but it just wont happen. He HAS been played as a second striker on more than a few occasions and failed dismally in that role. And BTW, he actually defends very well considering he is an attacking midielder.

  4. i agree 1oo% his shooting accuracy is better than most strikers we have in the squard and he as more skill to take on defenders than any of striker we have and up front he will do less passing of the ball which he is not good at and more holding of the ball which he is very good at and he can strike with two feet which can be a hard to defend against and very good technique as well.

  5. Diaby’s best role, if you ask me, is behind the main striker in a 4-4-1-1 or in a 4-2-3-1.

    But a player’s best role is where the team needs him most. His tackling is still not clean enough, but he does win a lot of them. He has a physical presence in the centre of the pitch which makes it hard to get around him in tight areas. He can win the ball and burst forward, and score which makes him a huge asset.

    I think he’ll play in central midfield next to Fabregas, sitting back on the halfway line. He doesn’t have Denilson’s stamina or endless running though.

    And this part about giving the ball away…players give the ball away. Even Fabregas gives the ball away. Diaby gives the ball away much less than 90% of the league’s central midfielders…so

  6. Andrew

    I think we have more than enough forwards as it is, although I could see him playing behind a striker more often. However I would like to see him in centre mid alongside Fabregas and improving his defensive nous rather than attacking potential.

  7. TT

    Andrew, Diaby is nowhere near good enough to be a regular starter Have you not seen him play this year? His performance before the goal was one of the worst I have ever seen form an Arsenal player, but he scored a great goal and is praised as the next Vieira.

    It is a disgrace.

  8. Gooner for life

    I feel we have enough strikers at the club. I know he has an eye for goal but he is too slow to play up front for us, he does make some crazy decisions and he is always injured. He is a good player but he won’t replace Fabregas, Arshavin or Nasri in the attacking sense and he isn’t defensive enough to even replace Song or Denilson.

  9. I don’t think he’s a good fit at striker. While he has contributed a few goals, and lets be clear, he only has 9 goals in 85 matches, which is not even close to what you’d like to see. I mean just a few years ago Gilberto scored I think 10 goals in the league and he’s more defensive than Diaby. I think with some work he could be a good midfielder, but I don’t think he will ever surpass Denilson and certainly not Cesc or Nasri or Arshy in the attacking mid role. Sadly I think his best position will be on another team soon enough. Cheers mate.

  10. I think you are right Arsenole. He has a lot of potential, but he gives the impression that he thinks he has made it already. I’m not sure he will ever break through to be a first teamer..

  11. nycgunner

    just because he shoots well doesn’t mean he should be a striker. strikers need to have good positional awareness and be able to read the play. i doubt diaby has been blessed with those qualities. he better learn how to tackle and pass otherwise he will be keeping the bench warm for denilson.

  12. nycgunner

    if he doesn’t learn how to pass and tackle maybe he should just teach nic how to shoot and call it a day

  13. Wow never thought about this. I wouldn’t say he would be an out and out striker. Nor would he be an Adebayor/Bendtner type. At best I think he should be played in an attacking midfield position or just off the main striker like he did at Fenerbahce. That could work. Off the ball movement is a must.

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