When questioned whether he would be the ideal replacement for Alex Song, who left Arsenal for Barcelona earlier this season, Abou Diaby boldly replied:
No, I see myself as more of a Yaya Toure, as I like to get forward when given the opportunity.
A bold statement it may have seemed, but with the French midfielder getting playing time with the club after recovering from injury, the midfielder looks set to be an integral part of the team, with his performance against Liverpool showing that he looks to be reaching new heights in terms of personal performance.
Signed in 2006 for a fee of £2 million, the tall Frenchman was seen as the new Vieira by Arsenal fans because of his physique, but has emphasised in many interviews that he is a midfielder who likes to get in the final third of the pitch more often, rather than remain disciplined and distribute the ball from deep. With a string of injuries preventing him from a prolonged run of games in the Arsenal side, we are yet to see the best of the midfielder, and this looks to be his ‘breakout’ season, with the quality of Arteta, Cazorla and Podolski around him in a new look team. A longer period in the Arsenal team may allow football fans to see what he is really about, with many seeing the similarities between himself and Yaya Toure becoming increasingly true, with Yaya Toure being given the opportunity to stretch his legs in the latter stages of games, with powerful running leaving defences for dead. The table below shows how both of the midfielders have performed in the early stages of the Premier League season.
It is no surprise that Diaby has a pass completion in the 80th percentile, with the likes of Arteta and Cazorla beside him, always looking for open spaces for Diaby to feed the ball into. The Arsenal midfielder is easing himself back into the side after a string of injuries, which have kept him out of the side, and has done well to create 5 chances in 4 games for the club. Although he has no assists to his name, the midfielder has been key in the build up to many of the goals, by either winning the ball up or powering up the field, providing the ball for one of the other players to provide an assist for a goal. With Arsenal playing a more indirect approach, with attacking talent in the form of Cazorla and Podolski looking to continuously looking to occupy vacant spaces, Diaby is likely to play a more simple passing game, rather than being to expansive in the early stages of the season, letting the likes of Cazorla influence the game in terms of key passes.
Looking at only the stats Abou Diaby’s tackling is more frequent as he has played less games and he’s won a higher percentage. Abou Diaby is also attempting many more ground duels and aerial duels in less time. Remember Diaby may have started five games but he was taken off early in the Chelsea game. In just his first three games of the season Diaby had attempted more ground duels than Yaya had in his first six games. So it shows that Abou is way more combative and has done an incredible job, especially at Anfield earlier this season.
Next Page: Creativity and Attacking Stats for Abou Diaby Vs Yaya Toure… read on!
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