Apart from being Friday, the best day in the week, it is also the day that Abou Diaby has been announced as being fit enough to return to the Arsenal squad. According to the manager Diaby – who I see as the long-term partner for Cesc Fabregas in the centre of the park since Mathieu Flamini’s disappointing exit at the end of last season – will be part of the squad to face Everton on the weekend. Observe:
“Abou Diaby is back in the squad again. Even though he has not played games he will be used, at the least in the squad, because we have lost those three players.”
Those three players he is talking about; William Gallas, Bacary Sagna and Nicklas Bendtner, were each injured on international duty and will miss the weekend Premiership game as well as next week’s Champions League game against Fenerbache. However, call me crazy if you will, but I see the return of Diaby to the squad as more than making up for those three losses.
I’ve spoken a lot about the fact that the midfield this season has been less than fantastic but the return of Diaby could make a huge impact going forward. He might have spent the last couple of seasons being used primarily on the left but the hints that have come out of the club suggest that he is the player that Wenger sees as Fabregas’ ideal partner. And while he’s likely to start on the bench tomorrow his return is definitely something worth getting excited about.
On the flipside, I’m not too concerned about the injuries to Gallas, Sagna and Bendtner. The knock to Gallas will see him get as timely a rest as you’re ever likely to see, with Kolo Toure set to take over the captaincy and my man Johan Djourou ready to slot in alongside him. Emmanuel Eboue would be the natural choice to replace Sagna – we all know what he can do there – while the loss of Bendtner has no impact whatsoever on the starting side. So on that note things could be much, much worse.
The question marks for tomorrow, Djourou (concussion), Fabregas (broken nose) and Robin van Persie (hamstring) are all expected to be passed fit and even if the latter and former aren’t available, Mikael Silvestre and Carlos Vela will be ready and raring to go. If called upon, their fresh legs could be just what the doctor ordered.
It goes without saying that I’m very much looking forward to the Everton game after two loooooong weeks of no Arsenal. David Moyes’ side are usually a decent test but their relatively poor start to the season means this is a match that Arsenal should get maximum points from. However, I said that before Hull and I said that before Fulham so you can never quite be sure what you’re going to get.
It will be interesting to see how defence performs in the absence of Gallas, my prediction is that things will go quite well. Not directly because of Gallas’ withdrawal but because of the breaking up of the Gallas-Toure partnership that just has not worked this season. I’m hoping that whoever it is that replaces the captain gets in and does a great job to really give Wenger something to think about.
Just before I go I want to remind everyone again about the Arsenal shirt competition that’s going on at the moment. All the details are in yesterday’s post, so if you missed it be sure to check it out to be in with a chance to win an official Arsenal home shirt.
Cheers – and gooooooooooooo Arsenal.
Have your say on Everton, injuries or the return of Diaby by leaving a comment.