The Dreadful Challenge That Ruined Abou Diaby’s Arsenal Career (Video)

Alan Duffy

29th, March 2013


By Alan Duffy

The day Diaby’s career started to unravel…

Poor old Abou Diaby, only days after speaking about how he has learnt tomanage his body, the gifted French midfielder went and gubbed his cruciate ligament in training. He’s now looking at another nine months on the physio table.

The 26-year-old’s Arsenal career has been one long stint in the treatment room, peppered with appearances on the pitch where his mix of physique and technique often hinted at what might have been. However now, with the player heading into yet another eight or nine-month period of recuperation, his future at Arsenal and indeed as a professional footballer are anything but secure.

It almost all comes back to one particular horrendous tackle in May 2006 by Sunderland’s Dan Smith. Arsenal were 3-0 up and the game was almost over, but the young defender for some reason decided to launch a vile studs-up assault aimed squarely at Diaby’s ankle. The challenge, which went without a sending off, both broke and dislocated Diaby’s ankle. And the rest is  a rather frustrating history for the Frenchman. Smith himself soon dropped down the divisions and now apparently works in a mobile phone shop.

Yes, Diaby is a rich man and there are, obviously, people out there with much bigger problems, but the player deserved sympathy, no matter what your footballing colours, for seeing his dream consistently crushed by injury after injury. Good luck Abou.

Oh, and the tale of Diaby surely highlights just how crucial it is that the FA start dealing properly with reckless challenges. What if Newcastle’s Massadio Haidera is never the same player again after the unpunished challenge by Callum McManaman?

Anyway, here’s the video of Dan Smith tackle for those so inclined…


And here’s a rather poignant video showing what could have been (on a more regular basis) for the midfielder…


Posted in Arsenal, Injuries, Sunderland

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  1. Jock says:

    Does breaking an ankle knacker your ACLs?

  2. Alan Duffy says:

    @Jock – I think it’s a knock-on effect. After returning from the broken ankle, other parts of his body were forced to do more work, which caused other injuries and so on etc…

  3. goon says:

    @ Alan: Not true, once the fracture and soft tissue were healed and he began intensive rehab for matches his ankle would have no other knock on affects to any part of his body #specialist sports Physiotherapist for 25 years.

  4. Alan Duffy says:

    @goon – thanks for that – very interesting! The theory that other parts of his body would be ultimately also affected were regularly made by Arsene Wenger and the theory was also been cited by countless managers and numerous footballers who have struggled with injuries? Are they all mistaken?

  5. goon says:

    @ Alan: Wenger sees nothing, but he’s not blind. if you can find a single person who says that a past fractured ankle causes a n ACL rupture i will give you a pound cash.

  6. Alan Duffy says:

    @goon – never said one directly causes the other (although that pound is tempting!) Rather than a player who has suffered an injury in one area may be be nervous about putting 100% pressure on that area so will compensate. And that can lead to too much pressure, over time, on another area, and so forth?

  7. Mike says:

    Could have been the next Viera, even when he is fit he’s always jumping out of the 50/50’s and nervous of close contact – understandable after all injuries.

    Shame but time to move him on Wenger, Rosicky too and get some midfield inforcers in to help protect Wilshere & Carzorla.

    Recommend De Rossi

  8. Ha! says:

    De Rossi? You must be dreaming. Wake up.

  9. PatBlueIre says:

    @ goon

    Why use a hashtag? Why do people keep doing that shit on places they don’t have any purpose?

    On a lighter side at least in 9 months it will be like getting a new signing.

  10. Joe says:

    I’m kind of surprised by how much appreciation Diaby’s been getting for the last year or so. Wasn’t he nicknamed Diabolical when he WAS playing regularly? Bit of a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder, methinks.

  11. Allan says:

    Arsenal signed him while he was on a 7 month lay off, aged 17 and hand only made 3 appearances for Auxerre. Sadly the lad was always this way. its time he moved on to an office job, something that doesnt involve his dodgy legs.

  12. OldNumber7Shirt says:

    @Alan I side with you a bit, and maybe push on @goon just a little.

    Even when the tissues are fully healed, an athlete sometimes alters their technique, or their aggressiveness, in a way that leads to further problems. So, he may be physically healed, but his mindset has totally changed.

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