At the end of the season, Arsenal released a player that had a lot of potential. That player was Abou Diaby. In one of my previous post I was discussing what should Arsenal do with Abou Diaby. One of the obvious options was to let him go, and that’s exactly what Arsenal did.
Abou Diaby was a part of Arsenal generation that was full of potential. Players like Cesc Fabreagas, Robin Van Persie, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Alexandre Song, Emanuel Adebayor, etc., were believed to became the greatest team in the world of football. They were young enough so they could hit their peak together and dominate the world.
Looking back, there was a ton of excitement, but nothing came out of it. That generation failed spectacularly, and its biggest achievement was reaching Champions League qualification every year. In a way, people were comparing that generation with that of Alex Ferguson, but everything just fell apart.
I think that the game, that could summarize that time, was Arsenal vs Newcastle United. Going 4-0 up at half time, Abou Diaby, of all people, got sent off, because of Joey Barton’s provocation. In the next half, Arsenal managed to let slip a 4 goals lead, to draw 4-4 in the end. Fantastic beginning, and horrible end.
Practically every season, Arsenal started strong, but faded during the season. There was an incredible amount of injuries, with Abou Diaby leading the chart, but a lack of investment, due to building a stadium, didn’t help either.
I think that one of the problems this “Diaby generation” had, was that it was simply in the wrong time. Clubs that were fueled by rich owners were starting to dominate Premier League. This owners didn’t have the time, but they had the money, while the opposite was true for Arsenal.
Most of football players are kind of selfish in terms of their career. They go where the money is, so it was quite naturally that they didn’t have the patience to stay at Arsenal, they mostly jumped ship when they had a good season under their belt. Arsenal simply didn’t have the money to keep them together, unlike Barcelona.
Because these players didn’t stick together long enough they never really peaked at Arsenal. Probably the only player that peaked was Van Persie, but he only stayed one season after that, before he left for Manchester United.
I am sure that Abou Diaby would have also left, if there wasn’t for his injuries, but he was simply the unlucky one from that generation. I think that because of this, Diaby symbolizes Arsenal failed generation perfectly. He had potential, but nothing happened. Theo Walcott is now the only one, that was (kind of) part of that generation. Like Diaby, Walcott also didn’t reach his potential due to injuries, and given that his future is unclear, its quite possible that Arsenal won’t have any players left from that generation
Arsenal is a different club now, buying experienced players for a lot of money. This new generation is a mix of experience, and youth, which has brought Arsenal something that “Diaby’s generation” couldn’t, and that is silverware. Some bloke said that you can’t win stuff with kids. I don’t agree with this statement. The right statement would be, that you can’t win stuff only with kids, and “Diaby’s generation” was the perfect example of that.