Monday, June 24, 2024

Diaby: time on the sidelines was killing me

Abou Diaby says that he found it hard to cope with the litany of injuries that so affected his career, especially when he had to watch teammates play and train.

The French midfielder suffered countless problems throughout the course of his Arsenal career, all stemming from that horrendous tackle by Dan Smith, and the difficulty of not being able to play was made worse by seeing what he was missing out on.

“Going into the training ground every day, it was killing me,” he told the Daily Mail.

“When you spend all your time with the physio and you see your team-mates enjoying everything, it is very hard.

“I had to get out and do rehab elsewhere. I didn’t feel comfortable being injured at the club all the time. The funny thing is that at Arsenal, when you are in the physio room at the training ground, you can actually see the first-team training sessions through the window.

“That made life even in tougher.”

Even good wishes from fans became hard to deal with.

“I couldn’t sit there every game in the stands and watch,” he said. “I just wanted to play so much. Every time fans spoke to me, it was, “When are you back?”, “How long will it be?”

Anyone who has played, or still plays, football knows how rotten it is not being able to turn out for your team. Whatever level you play at, you just want to get out on that pitch.

For most people there’d be some bitterness, but Diaby doesn’t carry any of that.

“Really, there is no resentment any more,” he said. “I left it behind a long time ago. The only thing I wish is that it had happened later in my career. If it happened when I was 28, things might have been different.

“Between 19 and 27, I would have had time to progress, play every week and be the player I should have been.”

The whole interview is well worth a read. Although our policy in general is not to link to the Daily Mail, this is a good piece. Well leave it up to you.

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Le Jim

So hard to read. There was another quote where he said that he would be happy if he could just play 20 more games during his career 🙁

And to think people are still making jokes about him. Go on Abou <3


Diaby= Yaya & Viera. It’s a pity we didn’t get to see a fully fit Diaby. He would have been one of Wenger’s great achievements.

David C

not as physical as those two but certainly as skillful. I will always remember the way he just effortlessly shielded the ball in midfield. Very slick!


Good read. It’s not hyperbole to suggest Diaby could have been one of the best midfielder’s in the world, definitely had as much ability as that French fella that went back to Manchester. Power, outrageous ability on the ball (and not “for a big man,” for any man) Never quite put it all together for us, but I do remember a game against Villa I think where he absolutely ran the show from box to box. Such a shame

John C

It is a great deal of hyperbole.

I feel sorry for him that his career was ruined by injury but in the 180 odd games he played for us there was nothing to suggest the level of talent you talk about.

He was more often than not poor and had just as many very bad matches as he had very good ones.


Judging by your comments you really are miserable

John C

I’m a very happy person, i just have a problem with lies and the constant rewriting of history through guilt.

I prefer to call a spade a spade, even if people are uncomfortable with it.


he had several monster performances for us – notably against villa and liverpool where he looked like a man playing with and against under 8s.

He also kicked john terry in the face….
in the face.
john terry..

hyperbole me hole – that is worth a balon d’or in itself

He could have been the stand out midfielder of the last 10 years. and while ok thats pure speculation, it was his trajectory in the french youth set up and in some of his fully fit performances.

John Terry, face, kick.
Bow down.

John C

He may of had several monster performances for us but he must have had 10 times the amount of absolutely terrible games, and i when judging a player aggregate out those performances and in my opinion he was average player. For every excellent driving run he made, he gave the ball away 10 times with lazy cross field passes in midfield and was widely at the time placed in the same bracket as Eboue, Denilson and Bendtner. I judge players over entire 90 minute performances, unlike most of the people here you judge via YouTube highlights. And for the record… Read more »


Now you’re calling him a spade?! RACIST.


To be fair that challenge was a disgusting one. Nobody wants to see that kind of thing in the game. Could of broke Diaby’s ankle 🙂


@D 😀


@John C I’m not sure what you get out of crapping on a few tributes to a an arsenal player… you don’t have to agree. He wasn’t ever in the same class as Eboue or Bentdner. I don’t tend to watch highlights and saw him in full match contexts and he only had a couple of bad performances but that is to be expected when you are always coming back from injury, You need some run of games to get form. You couldn’t give a fuck if he kicked john terry in the head?? A its a joke point and… Read more »

John C

Double98 they’re not tributes, they’re sycophantic bullshit, that’s so over the top they make me sick.

And you know what, i think it patronises him.

John C

Here’ an article that reflected the prevailing view of Diaby in 2011

John C

But of course the real reason not to like Diaby is this!!!


Much the same has been said about almost every player by the whinier section of Arsenal fans (and, unfortunately, there’s no denying we have some very whiny fans). Imagine what would be in the archives if the internet had been so wide-spread when the players of The Invincibles were starting out.

John C

Bollocks Squiggle, some of us have recognised the lowering of standards over the last decade that’s why we call them out.

Godfrey Twattschlock

You don’t care about JT being kicked in the face? What kind of man are you???

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

John C, if you love football, you love Diaby. Vieira said Diaby could have been a better midfielder than himself because Diaby had more dribbles and offensive abilities in general.

John C

I don’t need Vieira to tell me what a good footballer is, i can make my own opinion up for myself.


John you must be blind to have not seen his talent. It is the same with Jack. The talent is clearly there in abundance, just needs his body to work again.


I have to agree with John C that sometimes you need to cut through all the bullshit and tell it like it is. People talk like he always came on and just dominated games like a Marvel superhero version of Vieira which any sensical humanbeing would know is a blatant lie. Yes it’s sad he never got to fulfill his potential, but don’t just make up shit and talk nonsense, when yo do you should expect someone to call you out on your bullshit. John C spoke the truth and got thumbed the Fuck down for it which tells you… Read more »

Screw entitlement

Spoke the truth? Opinions aren’t facts my friends. Even if his opinions are anywhere close to being true they are still what they are, opinions. we can choose to agree or disagree. He got thumbed down because most dont.. and I dont see anything wrong with that.if one gets thumbed down deal with it. It only means others may not share the same view as one does… and lets be honest he said he doesn’t care that john terry got kicked.. who in the world let alone an arsenal fan doesnt enjoy that. Even just a bit. He got it… Read more »

Tasmanian Jesus

Clearly not..


Of course between Vieira’s opinion and yours, everybody would take your side. Of fucking course.

John C

No.8 i never said he didn’t have talent, but people go way, way, WAY over the top when they talk about him. He was on the same level as Denilson and Song, a player who with proper coaching and the right players around him could have been very handy. And yes i include Denilson and Song because they too had talent but were let down by the manager who tried to make them something they weren’t and didn’t give them the right team mates they needed to grow. Of course the biggest loser in all of this was Fabregas who… Read more »


Mate – this last comment (of your numerous, doggedly myopic attempts to defend your pretty much indefensible view) shows a stupefying level of arrogance… Viera can offer you no insights about football? Clearly because you know more than him,no doubt? Read your comment again and perhaps you’ll see the colossal self-importance in it… And your initial point/view is ‘indefensible’ – imo – simply because you’ve felt the need to ridicule an undoubtedly talented guy who showed nothing but loyalty to our club and incredible heart and guts in the face of adversity that would have broken many others). The only… Read more »

John C

Goonshow, where did i say Vieira couldn’t give me insight about football? I think you should learn to read because i said no such thing.

And again you should brush up on your reading and comprehension skills because my gripe isn’t with Diaby but the comments by posters, which are way over the top.


Nah watch the games he played in the last 2-3 seasons for us. You could see class written all over. He was more mature and used the ball better.


The article about the spud shirt is quoted from the Sun. The FUCKING SUN. Those are the same cunts that make up shit and disrespect the Hillsborough victims.

John C

They’re quotes, so unless you can find a retraction they must be true

oleg luzhny

It is pretty clear in this microcosm that we live in a post truth society. One that rejects evidence of previous fan opinions. The evidence is there in writing even in the comments below in that article.

I personally rated him highly but I do remember the fan opinion at the time and it seems a bit different to what people are converting it to today.

John C

How very true Oleg, what we’re seeing on this tread is the power of groupthink. Here we’ve found a group of people who’ve all had an idea that’s been reinforced by others and then one by one they’ve made even more ludicrous statements which becomes true in their group psyche, no matter how ridiculous they are. If i was Arseblog i’d stop publishing any article on Diaby (or Rosicky for that matter) as the level of discussion descends in to hyperbole and is so disproportionate to how he actually played that it brings the site in to disrepute as a… Read more »

Campbell's forehead

Think it was the game against Liverpool in the 11/12 season. He had a brilliant game, such a shame he was never able to fulfill his potential. I really hope Jack Wilshere’s career does not follow the same trajectory.

Kick John Terry

That was the game I clearly remembered him completely bossing it, when he set up Podolski after laying waste to 3-4 of Pools players. I remember another against Portsmouth the season before. You can disagree about what he would have become, but you don’t anything about football if you’re saying he didn’t minimally have the same abilities, if not more, as Viera.


Remember that match well. If I’m not mistaken Diaby had been doing special training with a personal fitness coach prior to that season. He really did do everything in his power to get back playing. Two things that really tug on my heartstrings; Diaby never fully recovering, and Rosicky’s interview on


which TR7 interview?

Reality Check

That’s a good policy re Daily Mail

Corona X

Seems you have 1 very bitter Daily Fail journalist amongst your readers, Blogs! 😀


Delighted to hear he is still playing for Marseilles

nigerian rex?

Can still remember quite vividly my last memory of Diaby on the pitch bossing the midfield against liverpool! sheer talent!
wish you all the best Abou!

silent g

That Liverpool game…..sigh


You know what’s sad?
I don’t make football bets, but prior to that game ai specifically predicted a 2-1 win with Diaby being MoTM. Really wish I made that bet.

Johnny Tractor

Saddest story Ive ever heard


There are two players I always feel sad for; Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby. At least with Little Mozart we got to see him play a bit more often and could really appreciate the player he was and see just where he could’ve been had it not been for the injuries. With Abou it’s a bit different, we’ll always be wondering. His talent was unquestionable, could he have been one of the greatest midfielder players? I think so. When injury and rust free he looked sublime. Genuinely one of the saddest stories in recent football history. There still isn’t enough… Read more »

Andy Mack

I’d add Eduardo to the Diaby and Rosicky list. He never regained his form after the ankle break.
We’ve been fucking unlucky in the last 10 odd years with those 3 injuries, but not as unlucky as the 3 players themselves.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Eduardo didn’t have quite the fluidity of movement maybe, but he did recover enough to continue his career. He may not be quite as good now but he has managed to score 54 goals in 154 matches for Shalktar Donetsk over 5 seasons plus playing and scoring elsewhere too. That’s not nearly the same level of career disaster that faced Diaby or Rosicky, but yes, a horrible injury when it happened His recovery started pretty slow but he doesn’t seem to have had the recurring injury problems the other two faced.

Andy Mack

I do appreciate that, but he was such a natural goal scorer that he could have done really well for us. If he’d been fit the year Adebarndoor hit 30 odd, Eduardo would have been closer to 100. I’m not saying he would have got 100 but really his finishing was so much better and Adebarndoor missed 6+ for every one he scored.
So he could have been a legend but ended up as a mention in dispatches.


That’s a good call Andy; while Eduardo recovered physically if memory servers he admitted that mentally he never fully recovered from it which explained why he struggled in the Premier League afterwards. A proper shame because he was phenomenal.


Unbelievable mental strength!

Mach iii

Dan Smith, an over hyped up frothing at the mouth 19 year old on his debut flew in there and WHAM! The Football World was robbed of the best midfielder for an era.

He would have dominated Bayern, Barca, and Madrid.

The next Viera.

Very sad.

Post January Blip

According to Wikipedia, he’s made a total of 5 appearances for Marseilles since signing in 2015. Doesn’t sound great, but his determination is admirable. He was a massive loss for us and I wish him all the best for the future. You can’t help but wonder what could have been had he stayed fit.


Diaby genuinely seems like one of the good guys and we lost out to that twat from Sunderland he simply would have been one of the best midfielders in the world. Far more talented than Pogba. Why people used to direct anger toward him was always beyond me.

Petit's Handbag

Really was some player, his goal against Villa around Xmas 08 and the performance at Anfield around this time 4 years ago showed just what a phenomenal player he could be.

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

He had a tremendous game in Turkey against Fener, 2-5 I think in a Champion League game. I remember Rooney making comments about him for the Liverpool game on Twitter as well…


Shame we didn’t see more of him, I thought the game against Liverpool in the CL where he scored that magical goal from the left of midfield was a turning point.


If diaby hadn’t gotten all these injuries, one of Ramsey/Wilshere wouldn’t have been around. Wilshere specifically seized his opportunity when he was out. For me, Diaby was more talented than Pogba and Yaya. He’s way more technically gifted and had one of the best first touch I have ever seen. Dribbled pass players better as well. Watching him in that liverpool game, I was impressed with how matured his game was and hoping he’d finally dispel the Viera talk, but he got injured against Chelsea(which we ended up losing after he got subbed)and it was like damn. There’s a reason… Read more »


That this sort of thing can happen–a hugely talented footballer’s career ruined by injury, especially injury due to the reckless tackling of a talentless thug, which the laws of the game and the culture in British football still does so little to prevent–is literally my least favorite thing about football. Worse than financial doping, John Terry, Pepe, Stan Kroenke, Michael Owen, the Stoke home fans, the massive disgusting ego that is C Ronaldo, morally-impaired agents like Mendes and Raiola, Phil McNulty somehow being the BBC’s chief football writer, the English national team’s eternal incompetence (actually, that one has become quite… Read more »

Tony Hall

tell it how it is 🙂

Ducks sake

Don’t watch it then.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

How can you be a Gooner when you don’t have a sense of humour?


Outside of his injuries, I actually always felt the comparisons to Vieira did him no favours, as was Wenger’s desire to turn him into one. He just wasn’t a defensive guy, regardless of him having the physical capacity to do so. His brain just didn’t think that way. Wenger wanted him to be a no.8 type when in fact he was a no.10. His best performances always came in the free role as a support striker, where he could display his full attacking abilities. Similar situation we have with Ramsey right now actually (though Rambo not being as talented as… Read more »


Diaby was maturing well defensively in his last 3 seasons with us and would have provided us the perfect midfield weapon able to defend but also drive forward through the middle (something arguably we still do not possess) Notable was a performance against Newcastle (don’t remember which season) where they deployed I believe Andy Carroll to trouble our then fragile defense. Diaby kept him in his pocket all game. Or it could have been the game against Everton and Fellaini too. Really missed him and I believe Wenger persisted with him for so long because he simply brought something different… Read more »


I agree it’s a missing element, but it can’t be too bad to miss it, since very few of even the elite clubs in Europe have this kind of element, because there are so few players who can play like that (Yaya and Pogba being the obvious ones, and Vieira back in the day; thought Matic might develop that way, but so far he’s been stunted by the defensive nature of the Chelsea setup; Rabiot at PSG looks like another one with that potential, and I’d wish we’d go in for him except his attitude looks terrible).


A true Legend.
Ok , so we will never know for sure how good he could have been……..but he’s a legend in my eyes.

Frank Bascombe

Diarby had the potential to become one of the best midfielders of his generation. On form he was unplayable. As for Fabregas being more talented, do leave off.

master floda

He knocked John Terry out!


John C you’re a really sad bloke. Cheer up mate. Anyone that has ever watched Diaby play, even for an hour, would struggle to decipher what you’re on about.

John C

I’m very happy, but the demigodary going on here makes me want to puke, and i refuse to let the lies go on unchallenged.

When he played he was for the vast majority of the time lazy, constantly gave the ball away, ran down cul-de-sacs and slowed the play down, and this is based on watching most of if not all his 180+ games he played for Arsenal.

Plus, any Arsenal player who wears a Spurs shirt at home is deserves to be vilified.


Fact is nobody is perfect, so when you spend your time telling everyone ‘how it is’ you end up offending everyone! In reality it’s your insecurity justifying itself by pointing out the badness in others. Grow up, be nice and give compliments. You’ll get more friends, you’ll be happier and the good feeling will reflect well on you.

Otherwise just keep quiet and keep your negative feelings to yourself.

John C

I don’t care if i offend people, and i’m not insecure at all but the cult like status that Diaby is being portrayed is very unhealthy.

The comments here aren’t even mildly balanced and if they were i’d just ignore them, however they are so astronomically over the top i think a contrary viewpoint is needed.

Art Vandelay

Abu walked on water. How’s that?

Andy Mack

Art, it’s more that he had the potential to walk on water eventually.


It seems cruel that fate has robbed Diaby of a long fulfilling career on the pitch.

His persistence is admirable, but I feel he should hang up his boots. There are plenty of middle aged former pros who can’t walk straight after their careers.

With that said, he should take his coaching badges. He’s a clever guy, maybe what he couldn’t reach on the pitch he will achieve off it.

Joel Carter

“Although our policy in general is not to link to the Daily Mail, this is a good piece.”

What sanctimonious self-indulgent rubbish. I agree that the Daily Mail is awful and border-line racist, but excluding linking to a website on that basis is pathetic. It’s the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending that the things you don’t happen to like don’t exist. Grow up.

Why not

I try not to laugh at people.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

I think you miss something of the essence of Arseblog.

Why not

Just to add. The Daily Mail isn’t borderline racist. But actually genuinely racist.


It want just killing you, Abou, it was killing me too.

For me, Abou Diaby was the original LANS maybe with Wilshere because he (they) had the talent to take us forward as a group.

If you are blessed with enough talent to play PL football for a top 4 team and bring something to the table as well, being unable to play must be a terrible thing.

Yankee Gooner

All the JC’s are in a tizzy today!

Holding Rob

Never has anyone done so little for so many and got so much praise. Honestly diaby was talented, but had way to many flaws and was ever inconsistent.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

“They don’t tell many good jokes at funerals”

You want consistency in a player? Don’t look for it in one who is having a career-destroying recurring injury problem. Consistency comes with regular playing and avoidance of injury.

Holding Rob

I actually refer to the one season he played regularly, a season where he can be judged, not one match against Liverpool. In that season, he was far from the star player people seem to remember.
And in the last 5seasons, whenever he returned from injury he would need at least 3-4 games before a good display. Whereas a class player like Wilshire has an impact right away.

Andy Mack

I guess you mean the 9/10 season when he was still only around 23 and still had major problems with his shattered ankle.
It’s true that he always took a few games to get up to speed (and I’d argue that Jack does as well), but that doesn’t reduce the potential he had.
The 3 seasons he did play some games for us, he wasn’t physically right, but he still had a fair few MotM games, did the job better than many others and was still a very young player.

John C

For 5 seasons between 2006 and 2011 he played 150 games for us, playing 36 in 2009/10 and 40 in 2010/11, more than enough for people to form a very clear view on how he played and most by that point had bracketed him firmly in the Denilson/Eboue camp as useless.

Stop speaking nonsense!

Andy Mack

So you want to judge a player from the age of 19 to the age of 25, during that included an injury that would have left many guys leaving the game completely, and needed repeated major surgery over a number of years to try yo fix completely (but never did).
You’re such a great judge of player quality (hahahaha).

Oh, he played 40 games in 9/10 season and as I said, it was very decent showing for a 22/3 year old.

John C

Hahahaha to you, you clown, my opinion is as valid as anyone elses. A decent showing yes, but nothing to suggest he was on his way to being the “best midfielder in the world”, “Diaby > Pogba + Yaya”, “as good as if not better than Vieira”, “World class”. He couldn’t command a place in central midfield because his passing was poor, he was lazy, he couldn’t tackle and had the concentration levels of a labrador pup. He couldn’t command a place in attacking midfield because as well as those other issues he neither scored or assisted regularly. He was… Read more »

Andy Mack

And you know that Viera and Fabregas wouldn’t have had a similar career to Diaby if they’d had their ankles smashed at the age of 19?
Really, you’re being ridiculous. Diaby had the potential to be a top player.
If he hadn’t had such a major injury they it’s still not certain if he would have done a balotelli or become a legend.
But he was robbed of the chance to find out.
If you can’t see that then really football isn’t the game for you.

John C

So just say that then, he was robbed of the chance to be the best he could be, which i undoubtedly agree with.

But the discussion turns into the echo chamber of the unhinged when people make completely outrageous predictions of greatness.

Andy Mack

Or you could actually try reading what I originally said. Although your past form suggests that’s not your thing…

John C

I did read what you said, and i also read what Holding Rob wrote, and what you said was Diaby played a few games, i pointed out he played 150 between 2006 and 2011, including 36 and 40 in consecutive seasons, which is more than a few games, then you got defensive and board line personal, (“You’re such a great judge of player quality (hahahaha).”) when presented with facts that confirmed the point Holding Rob was trying to make.

So just because you struggle to follow the path of a conversation don’t tar me with your brush.


I love arseblog.

Thank you, brothers and sisters.


Abou Diaby, the best that never was. Oh, what could have been! I even got his name on my annual jersey one year, because I thought he’d finally got over all the injuries. Dan Smith is one of the few people on earth that I’ll never forgive for his actions. Diaby was only 19 at the time, and he was already just about the first name on the weekly team sheet. If that assassin’s tackle had never happened, I’ve absolutely no doubt that Diaby would have gone on to become one of the all-time greats. Best wishes, Abou, wherever you… Read more »


This part is so sad, surely the club are missing a trick here if being able to see the training pitches can have a negative psychological effect on an injured player, especially since so many of our injuries are long term:

“I had to get out and do rehab elsewhere. I didn’t feel comfortable being injured at the club all the time. The funny thing is that at Arsenal, when you are in the physio room at the training ground, you can actually see the first-team training sessions through the window.

“That made life even in tougher.”

Andy Mack

But it also has a positive effect in making the players want to get out there.

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