Abou Diaby tears ACL, raises issue of injury prevention at Arsenal


With the news that Abou Diaby tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee in training on Wednesday, it’s hard to avoid thinking about how prevalent injuries have become at Arsenal.

The club released the following statement regarding the France international: “Abou Diaby injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and subsequent scans have confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament. Following consultations with specialists, Abou will undergo surgery to repair the injury in the near future.

“Abou is expected to be out for around eight to nine months. The thoughts and best wishes from everyone at Arsenal are with Abou, and we all wish him a successful recovery.”

The news of Diaby’s injury is just plain sad. Since joining the North London club from Auxerre in 2006, the 26-year-old has repeatedly been stricken with injuries. It began with the fracture and dislocation of his ankle in May 2006 and since then he’s repeatedly been hampered by lingering ankle and calf issues.

When healthy – which obviously isn’t very often – it’s a pleasure to watch the languid Frenchman patrol the center of the park. The man has freaky physical attributes and a delicate touch that allows him to take over games and dominate opponents. Unfortunately, it may be a long time before we witness those kind of displays.

Diaby joins teammates Jack Wilshire and Theo Walcott on the Arsenal injury list, the former having suffered an ankle injury during the March 3rd North London Derby and the later hampered by a pelvic problem developed over the international break. For a club with aspirations of moving up the league table and into a Champions League position, the news is difficult to swallow.

But Diaby’s ACL tear raises an even bigger question: Is there a club in the Premiership that suffers more devastating injuries than Arsenal?

I don’t think so. Further, does it not seem like the healing timeline for Arsenal’s injured players is longer than that of other clubs? Perhaps it’s mere coincidence. Or, perhaps it’s time Arsene Wenger takes a hard look at why his players seem to break down so easily and recover so slowly. Training methods, dietary restrictions and even medical personnel – it all needs to be questioned if the Gunners are to put the kibosh on one of the club’s most serious problems.

Whatever the reason, when it comes to injury prevention, something just isn’t working at the Emirates.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)