By Chris Harris

Abou Diaby believes that Arsenal's blend of youth and experience is the key to their success so far this season.

Arsène Wenger's side were written off in some quarters last summer by critics who thought they lacked experience. Diaby acknowledges that Arsenal's older heads have played a vital role in the Club's title challenge but he believes that the squad's youthful exuberance has been a positive, not a negative.

"We're all young and have a great spirit," he told the Arsenal Magazine. "With that there's lots of energy and it helps us to reach a high level.

"But while it's good to be young, we value having more experienced players around too because that's important. The likes of Gilberto and Jens Lehmann can help put you right when things aren't going well and are playing a valuable role even when they are not playing.

"They've shown so many good qualities during their careers and we need to follow their example."

Diaby has been on the fringes of the Arsenal side this season but has one less rival for a midfield place following the departure of fellow French international Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth. He hopes that 2008 is the year in which he becomes a first-team fixture.

"My ambition for the year is to win some trophies with Arsenal. This is a big club and we need to be winning things," said Diaby. "And personally I want to become a regular in the team. I have been unlucky with injuries before, so I'd like to have a year of good fitness."

The latest Official Arsenal Magazine hits the shops tomorrow (Friday, January 18) and as usual it's crammed full of fantastic features. The magazine, which is available from club shops, retail outlets and through subscription (call 020 83425858) priced £3.25 also offers fans a unique opportunity to win the ultimate AC Milan competition prize this month, which features tickets to both games, flights and dining at a top Italian restaurant.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Chris Harris 18 Jan 2008