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No doubts for Arsenal's Diaby

Published: Wednesday 4 November 2009, 8.14CET
Buoyed by a run of eleven games undefeated in all competitions, Arsenal FC's French international midfielder Abou Diaby says confidence is high going into the Group H visit of AZ Alkmaar.
by Mike Hammond
from London
No doubts for Arsenal's Diaby
Abou Diaby is confident about Arsenal's chances against AZ Alkmaar ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

ArsenalAZ

Goals scored21
 
4
Attempts on target72
 
21
Attempts off target44
 
27
Corners58
 
27
Offsides19
 
16
Fouls committed147
 
104
Yellow cards19
 
9
Red cards0
 
0
 
Published: Wednesday 4 November 2009, 8.14CET

No doubts for Arsenal's Diaby

Buoyed by a run of eleven games undefeated in all competitions, Arsenal FC's French international midfielder Abou Diaby says confidence is high going into the Group H visit of AZ Alkmaar.

Buoyed by a run of eleven games without defeat in all competitions, Arsenal FC's French international midfielder Abou Diaby says confidence is high going into their Group H contest with AZ Alkmaar on Matchday 4.

Unbeaten run
Saturday's 3-0 home win over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur FC was the latest positive result for Arsène Wenger's side, who stand to book their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a victory on Wednesday. "The quality is there, the spirit is there. We have a great squad," said Diaby, an ever-present in the Gunners' midfield in Europe this season. "It is up to us now to show in every game that we are a great team. If we do, I am sure we will win something at the end of the season."

Qualification beckons
For the immediate future, Diaby and his team-mates are looking no further than the return contest with Ronald Koeman's Dutch champions, who grabbed a 1-1 home draw two weeks ago with an added-time equaliser from David Mendes da Silva. "We want to win the game because if we do, we qualify," Diaby said. "We also want to finish top of the group, so it is a very important game against a good team. We are all really focused on it, and our confidence is high."

Mental strength
Signed from AJ Auxerre in January 2006, Diaby has had to bide his time before establishing himself in the heart of Arsenal's midfield, but with Denilson injured he is making the most of his opportunity. "I have had difficult times with injuries. But that's in the past. I'm trying to be focused on the future. I think mentally I am stronger because I had a lot of problems in the past."

Manager's support
Wenger is delighted with Diaby's form though he indicated that the 23-year-old remains a work in progress. "He has done extremely well. He gives us a good mixture. Before, we were often criticised that we were easily intimidated. But he is strong, quick, versatile and good in the air. Sometimes, however, he needs to be a bit more controlled. He is attracted like a magnet to the opposition goal. I know he would like to play further forward, but I think in the future he will play a deeper role, just in front of the defence."

Attacking instinct
Diaby, scorer of three Premier League goals this term, makes no secret of his striking instincts. "I used to play behind the strikers at academy level when I was young. Everyone likes to score goals, I like to go forward – sometimes after training I work on my finishing. If I find myself in front of the keeper, I want to make sure I score."

Last updated: 04/11/09 21.19CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000028/match=2000418/prematch/focus/index.html#no+doubts+arsenals+diaby

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