By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that it is difficult to curb Abou Diaby's attacking instincts.
The French midfielder has been a regular in the Arsenal side this season, starting 13 games in all competitions. That in itself is a notable achievement for a player whose career has been punctuated by injuries but Diaby's most productive position still seems to be up for debate.
Many tipped him to succeed Gilberto and Mathieu Flamini as the defensive foil to Cesc Fabregas but Alex Song has grown into that role while Diaby has been stationed on the left flank, behind the strikers or as a forward-thinking third of a midfield trio.
According to Wenger, the 23-year-old's penchant for attack will ultimately lead him into an advanced role in the team. However the manager wants Diaby to marry his natural instincts with the discipline to do his defensive duties when required.
"I must say he is attracted like a magnet by the opponent’s goal," said Wenger.
"You do not want to take that out of the players when they are at such a young age but what we can be as well is a little bit more controlled. We do not need to have seven players running forward when you are 1-0 or 2-1 up with five minutes to go. That is something I have told him to take responsibility for in the team.
"He likes to play up front just behind the strikers and in time going on he will want to play there. But he is such a strong player in the challenge that I think he will play later in his career a bit deeper in front of the defenders. He is very quick and when he wins the ball he can accelerate the game and I can see him playing deeper.
"I think he has done extremely well since he came in. He gives us a good mixture because he is a player who is very strong in the challenge and we have been before a little bit criticised for being capable of being intimidated.
He is very strong in the challenge, good in the air, has a work rate and gives us good balance in midfield."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source