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?