the “diaby syndrome”

In general terms, this post is about the virtues and vices associated with putting all your faith in a young footballer’s potential.  To be more specific, this post is about the “Diaby syndrome.”  Before I define this syndrome, I have to give props and (as is my nature) add to the the student’s post regarding the Arsenal’s 2009-2010 weak link–Abou Diaby.  The student makes valuable points regarding the young Frenchman: Diaby would be better suited in another formation and/or playing alongside less dominate midfielders; the fabulous fab and diaby interact like chilled vichy Catalan water mixed with crude petrol, respectively; and Diaby is, as we all try to remind ourselves, very athletic, very young, and very raw, i.e. the guy’s got crazy potential.

Here’s my addition: “Diaby syndrome.”  The professor’s got it bad.  The French national team has it, although their condition is more justifiable because it is the product of necessity.  It is defined as follows: when a reasonable person looks at Diaby he inevitably says something along the lines of, “he could be so good.”  It’s this promise, underlying the Wenger project, that has divided the Arsenal faithful from the Arsenal heretics.  It’s what has inspired those idiots in M*nschester to shout profanities at the professor.  It’s easy to blindly follow or outright rebel against the professor’s project.  However, most remedies in football, as in life,  rest somewhere in the midfield.  In our case, they rest on the shoulders of the fabulous fab.

Here is a 22 (!) year-old who is–as the press likes to say–“finding his form.”  I would contend that the press is stupid.  Fab has always been a freak.  A lovable Catalan wizard whose every pass begets something beautiful.  It is unfortunate that it was only at the start of this season when Wenger finally let him loose in the 4-3-3.

However, fabulous fab also poses a threat to the Diaby syndrome.  This is because his “potential” has been developed.  The same can be said of RVP who is hitting form in the absence of Adebuywhore.  The difference between fab/RVP and Diaby is this: both fab and RVP are finding themselves within the team while Diaby is trying to find himself (period).  Sure, he’s got crazy potential.  But crazy potential is fleeting, a phantom, something that takes the investment of time and resources.  This leads us to diagnosing the Diaby syndrome and prescribing the cure.

The cure starts with recognizing that every player on the frigging team has crazy potential.  Rambo is younger than Diaby and is (generally) more competent at defense and passing.  Fran has the potential to put his “elders” to shame probably before little Wilshere can even grow facial hair.  And don’t forget our reserves! The likes of Sunu (please sign!), Watt, or Aneke who are scary good.  Even the most cursory glance at the first team and reserves makes it utterly clear that we have a surplus of potential.  But rather than getting infected with the Diaby syndrome, where we all sit with our peckers in our hand chanting, “they could be so good,” we have to be more demanding of our players NOW.

Nobody doubts that we have to blood our boys, but at what cost?  Not at the cost of losing precious points to M*nchester.  It’s my contention that the professor has to be more of a dictator.  If Diaby et al don’t perform now then they should shut up and sit down on the proverbial bench because making them compete for their position will make them better.  Look at last year’s black sheep–Bendtner.  His work rate is up 110% now that his position is threatened.  Just like Bendtner, I think this season is a do or die year for Diaby.  He either steps up right now or he’s relegated to the bench or worse.  This is all the more true because others are stepping up.  Fab stepped up.  RVP stepped up. Gibbs and Ramsey are stepping up.  If we are going to cure the Diaby syndrome, we have to stop apologizing for our young talent by saying “he could be so good” and start saying “he’s not good enough.”

signing off,

the pundit

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1 Comment

  1. […] based more on wish than reality, confuse people’s expectations (read the Pundit’s “Diaby Syndrome”). Lets put it in these terms, Ramsey’s nickname is Rambo, not maestro. Right now, no top level […]


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