Few players at Arsenal have more pressure on them to perform in the 2008/09 season than Abou Diaby. After a bright start to his career, following a January 2006 transfer from French club Rennes, he suffered a horrific ankle injury just four months later, caused by a brutal challenge from Sunderland's Dan Smith.
By that time however, whispered comparisons had already been made between Diaby, and former Gunners legend Patrick Vieira - the physical similarities were obvious, yet both players also shared a powerful, leggy playing style that made both feared opponents.
Unlike Vieira, however, Diaby has often struggled with the defensive side of the game, and his occasionally reckless tackling has meant that he's caused his own fair share of serious injury on opposing players. Just ask Ivan Campo or Rafael van der Vaart.
Nevertheless, he possesses an extraordinary dribbling ability, which at times can make him appear almost invincible when he has the ball at his feet, and it is clear that there is a player of real talent waiting to emerge.
Following stints on the left wing in 2007/08, Diaby will be looking to move into a more central role in the coming season, and at 22, it must surely be time for him to stake a claim for a regular place in the side.
Everton (a) Premiership January 21, 2006, Lost 1-0
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