The Midfield Battle: Denilson or Diaby?

So onto the news dominating my brain today and the decision to whom will start in central midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas. Will it be Denilson or Diaby or will it be the new unknown player who we will sign in the next week or two?

In the preseason friendlies we've had so far, we've seen a lot of Denilson alongside Ramsey - Denilson acting as a defensive midfielder and Ramsey an attacking midfielder. He's played well, but not really been threatened too much considering the opposition we've played. Denilson of course is no Gilberto, he's instinctively more attacking with a good passing range. Gilberto used to it in front of the back four and act more like a fifth defender. Denilson has been in the papers today setting his sights on a starting berth this season:

“I have two main objectives this season: to be in Arsenal’s starting XI and get my first cap for Brazil.

“I am fully fit and ready to go. We have a good team, with a lot of quality players.

“We have the skill, but need a bit more experience in the team.

“I believe in our team and I’m sure Arsenal will be the strongest one this year and win the title.”

In the blue corner, we have Abou Diaby, injury prone, dribbling centric, but another good player, who can play in the defensive midfield position. We’ve seen Coquelin in action now and he also looks good, but if you’ve seen Diaby in his Auxerre days, he is the most natural in this position. Arguably, his displays for Arsenal in this position haven’t been the most amazing, but he can play there and Rosicky has spoken on his role.

“I don’t know if the coach will bring someone in.”

“I think that Diaby will be given a big chance to play often in Flamini’s position. He was playing on the left when I was injured, but he is more a centre midfielder, the same type like Patrick Vieira.

“I expect a lot from him as I know from training that it is difficult to play against him. He has long legs and really is very similar to Vieira. In my opinion, he is able to do very well.”

Interesting revelation from the Czech midfielder, will he be given his chance? We expect to see Denilson in tonight’s friendly but Diaby should get the nod on Wednesday against Stuttgart, so we can judge for ourselves. Tomas has said that he’s unsure if the coach will bring someone in, but I’d expect to see someone come in just to make up the quota because an injury or suspension could see us very limited in central midfield otherwise. Maybe there is a bigger role for Ramsey than we’ve all anticipated.

More on the Burgenland XI v Arsenal game later when teams are announced, ’til then…]]>