A new field general and the rise of Diaby.

Not quite fulfilling, but at least a win, this Hull game was one step toward the building climax of this season.  Nobody knows when the deciding point in this season is going to occur, but this game was one more step towards some conclusion and this game planted the seeds.  Fab is fantastic, he’s completely committed to the cause and the Outfit is better with him than without.  But his game conflicts with Diaby and Nasri.  Arsene needs to find an answer for this drama to play out.

Every show needs a villain and this game was no different.  As Matt, a fellow Gooner noted, P.Brown was just a bit tan for the 40 degree weather.  It seems the man has been using some of the tan spray.  Wrapped in his precious scarf to protect his Bermudan sensibilities, Brown’s team was eventually vanquished as relegation material.  The good guys won.

But the drama didn’t end there.  Even though the team fell apart when Fab was gone at Burnley, Diaby is taking his opportunity to fill a new space.   Like a walk-on that keeps extending his contract, Diaby has asserted a new identity with Fab gone.  Against Hull, Diaby was all over the place.  Playing alongside Denilson and then Ramsey, Diaby was free to play the space right behind the forwards (his preferred place) and his quality is beginning to show.  Strong and technically powerful, Diaby was a threat for most of the game and all of the second half.  He worked both sides of the ball and served as the pivot for the forwards.

Diaby’s new role wasn’t all that surprising given Nasri’s field command.  Often cast as a supporting actor, people forget Nasri ran the show in Marseille and is a creative force.  Since joining the Arsenal he’s had to suppress that creativity for Fab.  Yeah, he plays a magic 1-2 with Arshavin out of a video game, but he can do so much more -and the Hull game showed it.  Nasri regularly tracked back and took control from the half-way mark.  Not just a Fab replacement, Nasri asserted and the team followed.  Forget buying a Ribery or Defour, running the team through Nasri is a real idea.

Granted, without Fab the show began a little slow.  But Nasri began to improvise and the team responded quite fast.  A natural leader on the field, Nasri has taken a back seat to Fab, but this game showed how a 4-4-2 might work if Fab were to be sold.  A midfield of Denison, Diaby, Nasri and Song isn’t as flashy as with Fab, but it’s given me some comfort.  Although we still need a big target man upfront.  Speaking of, no comment on Eduardo’s first miss, at least he was humble enough not to celebrate his goal.  The goal did seem to do well for the man’s confidence.

One more character jumped out of the screen as well.  Silvestre, the French Cheetah.  I’ve never had much of a feeling on Silvestre, good or bad.  The French Cheetah’s recent performance with the youngsters has slightly endeared me to him.  But any claim the man had to acquire a long-term starting position were shot today.  For some reason, known only to himself, he thought he’d show the youngsters how to run and kept racing up the field.  Unfortunately, le guépard usually just made it up the field leaving the left side completely exposed.  He also took a number of questionable shots, auditioning for the role of striker.

So here we sit.  Watching the season build, new stories unfold and new characters emerge.  Arsene hasn’t balanced the team yet and the Hull game showed how much talent we really have.

-the student


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