Arsenal's Midfield Situation: As It Stands Now

Brian SonCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 29:   Abou Diaby of Arsenal in action  during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on April 29, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

As it stands now, we are all looking at Wenger and Co. to bring in a strong suitable defensive midfielder to partner up with our Spanish playmaker, Cesc Fabregas. So far, we've hit a brick wall.

With all this talk about bringing in new blood like Felipe Melo, who seems to be headed toward Juventus according to the latest news reports, or Lorik Cana, who has yet to decide whether he will stay at Marseille or move onto a different club, I haven't seen an article discussing our options in the club right now. So who are the current crop of players that have tried to play as Fabregas's defensive midfield partner over the past season?



First, there is Denilson. He was the player with the most appearances for us all season. He has been there through some great performances as well as some performances we would love to forget.

He has stepped into the role of defensive midfielder with many stumbles along the way, but his improvement was greatly noticed over the course of last season. However, rather than being the foil to Fabregas, he seems to be more like Fabregas, with good positioning and decent passing.

He stepped into Fabregas's role when Fabregas was out, and while he didn't shine, he showed he had more of a Fabregas-like touch than a Viera touch.

I don't think he is the answer to our problems if we fail to sign a new defensive midfielder. I'd like to see Wenger play him in a more attacking role as a sub for Fabregas.



Diaby's good performances were far and few last season. When signed, he was acclaimed to be the next Viera, but has fallen far short of expectations. While we have seen glimpses of brilliance from Diaby, they don't make up for his sub-par performances beyond those glimpses.

At age 23, he still has the potential to develop into a sort of Viera-type midfielder playing from box-to-box or holding above the defensive line. However, he may become yet another flop.

His height, strength, and leggy style of play make him a good scrapper, and perhaps with the knowledge that his job is on the line, he will pick up his performances next season.

Personally, I think Diaby can still make it as a world class DM. He has shown drive this off-season by forgoing a vacation and using the time to work out and become more physical. If we fail to secure any other defensive midfield signing, he could be the answer to our problems, 


Song had a late blooming season last season, becoming a strong contender for the defensive midfield position in the late stages. His first half was slip-shod and rough, but he could probably be given the most improved award on the Arsenal team.

He is very energetic, and while his positional sense doesn't match Denilson's, his stamina and effort make up for a lot of it.

Wenger is actually trying to pull a Toure with Song, testing to see whether he would be a good center back converted from defensive mid, but as it stands right now, I see him at defensive mid. Song has potential to be great, and I think if we don't sign anyone new, a Diaby/Song rotation would probably be the best bet.


So those are my views on the battle for the DM position that happened last season, as well as my view on what should be done with them in the future if Wenger doesn't sign anyone new. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on the three.