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Can Abou Diaby Be Compared To Yaya Toure?

When questioned whether he would be the ideal replacement for Alex Song, who left Arsenal for Barcelona earlier this season, Abou Diaby boldly replied ‘no, I see myself as more of a Yaya Toure, as I like to get forward when given the opportunity.’ A bold statement it may have seemed, but with the French midfielder getting playing time with the club after recovering from injury, the midfielder looks set to be an integral part of the team, with his performance against Liverpool showing that he looks to be reaching new heights in terms of personal performance.

Signed in 2006 for a fee of £2 million, the tall Frenchman was seen as the new Vieira by Arsenal fans because of his physique, but has emphasised in many interviews that he is a midfielder who likes to get in the final third of the pitch more often, rather than remain disciplined and distribute the ball from deep. With a string of injuries preventing him from a prolonged run of games in the Arsenal side, we are yet to see the best of the midfielder, and this looks to be his ‘breakout’ season, with the quality of Arteta, Cazorla and Podolski around him in a new look team. A longer period in the Arsenal team may allow football fans to see what he is really about, with many seeing the similarities between himself and Yaya Toure becoming increasingly true, with Yaya Toure being given the opportunity to stretch his legs in the latter stages of games, with powerful running leaving defences for dead. The table below shows how both of the midfielders have performed in the early stages of the Premier League season.

Games

Goals

Assists

Total Pass Completion

Diaby

4

0

0

84.27%

Y. Toure

5

2

1

88.89%

It is no surprise that Diaby has a pass completion in the 80th percentile, with the likes of Arteta and Cazorla beside him, always looking for open spaces for Diaby to feed the ball into. The Arsenal midfielder is easing himself back into the side after a string of injuries, which have kept him out of the side, and has done well to create 5 chances in 4 games for the club. Although he has no assists to his name, the midfielder has been key in the build up to many of the goals, by either winning the ball up or powering up the field, providing the ball for one of the other players to provide an assist for a goal. With Arsenal playing a more indirect approach, with attacking talent in the form of Cazorla and Podolski looking to continuously looking to occupy vacant spaces, Diaby is likely to play a more simple passing game, rather than being  to expansive in the early stages of the season, letting the likes of Cazorla influence the game in terms of key passes.

Yaya Toure is playing under what is considered a more direct, powerful approach at Manchester City, with generally less intricate passing and attempts to get the ball into the final third as quickly as possible, to allow the forwards to influence the game, Yaya Toure has looked to attack space and get involved as much as he can. With two goals and an assist under his name, the Ivorian is justifying the choice to bring him out of the defensive light, by giving him a freer role in the team, letting him stride up and down the pitch as he pleases. This is not always the case in the opening stages of games, but towards the hour mark, Mancini has given Yaya Toure a more advanced role in the side, letting him pick out passes that are more creative and getting within shooting range of goal.

It is fair to say that it is very early days for the comparison between both the players to be made, but the signs are there for all to see. Although Diaby has not made a direct impact in games as Yaya Toure has done by contributing goals and assists, Diaby has been key in the development of Arsenal’s fluent passing moves, which have led to the goals they have scored, giving them the start to the season they have experienced. With an increasing influence in games, it will not be long before the Frenchman does chip in with his share of direct contribution in games, leading to further comparisons being made between the two.

Is it fair for comparisons to be made between these two players? Do you believe Diaby can have the same impact at Arsenal that Yaya Toure has had at Manchester City? Share your views by commenting below…
Follow me on Twitter @Dharmesh_Tank

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