By Richard Clarke
The much-discussed comparisons between Abou Diaby and Patrick Vieira simply do not stack up, according to Arsène Wenger.
The current Arsenal midfielder has often been likened to the Club's former captain. Of course, Vieira is a mighty figure in Highbury history; his nine-year spell in North London brought 406 games, three League titles and four FA Cups.
Diaby is yet to achieve half as much but his well-taken goal in the 3-0 win over Hull on Saturday did make it 15 in 127 games since moving from Auxerre almost four years ago. Injury has been his enemy so far but, despite similarities in stature, Wenger does not feel those Vieira comparisons hold much water.
"He is more of an offensive player," said the manager. "He is not a defensive-minded player and he's not a holding player. He's a player who crosses the field at ease, goes from box to box like it's no distance and has good power as well.
"I believe Vieira was more of a passer of the ball. Diaby is more of a dribbler, more offensive and makes more penetrating runs. Vieira was more of a constructor. They have a similar elegance and type of play but are not completely comparable."
One thing Vieira enjoyed in his early years was an injury-free run. According to Wenger, Diaby could do with the same.
"He had a good sequence of games before he got injured," said the manager. "Sometimes he gets strange injuries but had a good week of training last week, he looked strong and is now becoming a very promising player for us.
"I must say that he is a fantastic player to coach aswell. Every day you can tell him 'do that, that and that and then you can go home'. He will always do it and he will do more.
"What has been frustrating for him at times is that he works very hard in training and then gets injured."