If Arsene truly believes in Diaby then give him a chance to replace RVP.

So we have Villa up tomorrow.  And with the EPL about as open as its ever been for a while, this game is taking on grand proportions.  But for the Arsenal, this game might be more important for player development.  And by that I mean Diaby.  With Fab just 50-50 for this game and Diaby playing well these days, the Villa game is an opportunity for Arsene to play with the lineup a little.  Hopefully Arsene will cease the development of Diaby and finally just put him where he belongs, upfront.

It’s simple really.  In theory we can get away with not buying a forward (I want Adriano or some other beast, but that’s another discussion).  But still, in Arsene’s world we have a big physical player that wants to score and would love an opportunity to score -Diaby.  Yet, for some reason, Arsene seems stuck on pushing Diaby into the middle of the field.  Diaby is strong and has the pace and power to play box-to-box, but it doesn’t play to his strengths.

On paper, a midfield of Diaby-Fab-Song looks really good.  Fab’s talent in front with Song protecting the line and Diaby ranging the field.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well.  Diaby has the talent, but it just doesn’t play to his strengths.  Just like asking Fab to play DM doesn’t make sense either.  Sure he can, but not as well.

With Fab potentially not playing this game, Diaby might once again be the fulcrum of the attack.  If so, this bodes well for the Arsenal midfield with a strong team like Villa.  Putting a midfield of Denilson-Diaby-Song on the pitch might not maximize our talent (since Fab is out), but it gives us a physical line.  Song plays back, Denilson fights for the midfield and Diaby ranges forward to powerful effect.  All three are strong and take the fight to Villa.  By the way, anyone else notice Denilson’s been putting on muscle?  Also, Song and Diaby seem to have developed a good rapport.

On the other hand, if Fab does play, then Arsene should still keep Diaby, but put him in as a forward to play off of Fab.  Diaby playing off of a Fab is an under utilized tactic.  Diaby may not play well alongside Fab in the midfield, but playing off of Fab as the platform for the forwards is a powerful set up.  Diaby and Fab aligned vertically stretch the defense back into the box opening the space we so desperately need.  Diaby can be our RVP-type and open up Arshavin and the other forwards and midfielders.

I actually really like this lineup if Diaby plays.  A front line of Arshavin-Diaby-Eduardo backed by Denilson-Fab-Song is more balanced.  Each player has a clear role they can play that leverages off of the other players.

Shifting Diaby into the RVP position isn’t so crazy as it sounds.  He showed during the Hull game that he can play the role.  And truthfully, he might be better at it than RVP.  He has the technique, greater pace and size. Diaby is more of a play maker than Eduardo as it is, so instead of having Eduardo adopt the RVP role, he is freed to play to his strengths -as a poacher playing off Diaby’s banging in the middle and Arshavin’s fancy footwork.  Arsene loves developing players and showing them how they can do more, but sometimes we just need a player to do what they do best.

Perhaps most importantly, this slight change in player allocation allows Arsene to make just one purchase this coming transfer window -a DM to replace Song.  Even better, a DM in this system gives Song a rest and allows us to sell Senderos and buy a new CB this summer if necessary.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  If Arsene feels the need to ONLY buy a DM, it frees him to splash more cash on an impact player.

So while I would like us to bring in a big target man like Adrian or Dzeko or whomever to scare people, I can work with Arsene:  we have the talent on the team to adjust.  Arsene, however, must make the proper adjustments.

-the student


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