This season has started very well so far, two wins out of two. Good football being played and a strong togetherness that is being shown on the pitch.
Gilberto has been given some time off from football after featuring in the Copa America over the summer and will not be available until September.
Mathieu Flamini has taken the role of holder/protector ahead of an improved back four. Largely down to a full pre season for William Gallas and the new defensive minded Bacary Sagna.
Flamini has done well so far and hasn't looked out of place in the slightest. But Arsenal would miss Gilberto if we come across a midfield that have runners like Scholes, Lampard, Gerrard etc Gilberto fills in holes, plugs in gaps and acts as a third center back when needed.
Abou Diaby is a huge talent, I don't need to mention who he is compared to, we all know that already. Like all our central players he gives that something different that the others don't. Diaby provides a drive and power in a central area that we don't get from the others.
Unlike Vieira I think Diaby has more goals in him as well, probably more than the other central players.
Gilberto is the senior player in that area and we know that Wenger tends to phase out the 30 year olds and someone is going to have to step up and play alongside Cesc Fabregas.
The question is not about ability, partnerships. We knew that Bergkamp and Kanu could not play together, the same for Henry and Wiltord they didn't compliment eachother correctly.
Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby do not compliment eachother in the way that we would need to win major trophies. Every good team needs a holding player, someone to do the donkey work. A player to plug the gaps that Gilberto does so well. Diaby is a naturally attacking midfielder. People see the similarality in Vieira and assume that Diaby is an enforcer. He is not just as Cesc isn't. Yes, they can both put their foot in but so can Wayne Rooney, this does not make them defensive players.
You can teach Diaby to hold?
Of course you can, but will you be playing the real Diaby if you do that? You will not see the best out of him and he may not be disciplined enough to do that.
Can you imagine at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or Anfield with them playing in the opposition half and the move breaking down. One swift counter attack would leave our back four totally exposed and we would concede a hell of alot of goals over the course of a season like that.
A central three of Gilberto, Cesc and Diaby would be wonderful but then we would lose a body up front and we don't score enough goals with a midfield 5 in my opinion.
Diaby looks out place on the left wing and should not be played there unless its an emergency as it unbalances the team.
I would love to see Diaby have a run of 10-15 games in his preferred position as I feel he could emerge as one of the premierships finest. The trouble is unless Cesc is out injured or suspended, is there room for Diaby?