There are two ways to view the reported changing room bust-up between Robin Van Persie and Abou Diaby following Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Blackpool on Sunday. You could view it as a sign that Arsenal are in disarray – that tempers are high and positive feeling at an all time low following Arsenal’s disastrous freefall over the last couple of months. Or you could view as a sign that times are changing at the club. That the Gunner’s most important players are standing up when necessary and requiring more of squad players – making it clear that anything less than their best effort will not be tolerated.
The Mirror, reports that the bust-up occurred during half-time at Bloomfield road and that Robin Van Persie was angry with Diaby after the Frenchman picked up a needless booking during the course of the first half. By this stage the Gunners were 2-0 up with Diaby himself grabbing Arsenal’s first goal. However the lanky Frenchman would go into the referee’s book late on in the half for kicking the ball away after the whistle had been blown.
It was an act of petulance from Diaby that recalled the Frenchman’s red card against Newcastle United when the Gunners were nursing a 4-0 lead. Diaby’s irritability saw him pick up a red-card which proved to be the turning point for the game, which ended up 4-4.
I have no doubt that Robin Van Persie had this event in the back of his mind when he decided to exchange frank words with Diaby. I for one am glad that there finally appear to be players in the Arsenal changing room who are happy to speak against those who aren’t holding up their end. Regardless of the fact that Diaby was having his best game in an Arsenal shirt for quite some time, Van Persie was right to pull him up for his needless yellow card. In the race for the title, the Gunners simply can’t afford to take any chances.
Having players like Robin Van Persie and Jens Lehmann in the Arsenal changing room ensuring that their team-mates play to the best of the abilities and avoid making careless mistakes can only be a good thing. Can you imagine Jens’ reaction if he were to witness Denilson failing to track back as the opposition broke into the Arsenal penalty area? Can the German slap the slumber out of Gael Clichy who is all too prone to switching off at the back?
There’s every chance that the Blackpool game may come to represent a turning point in Arsenal’s season. A point where Arsenal’s best players realised that enough was enough – that they were going to have to force the hands of players who weren’t giving it their all. I don’t believe that there is no ‘fight’ in this Arsenal squad. Nor do I believe that it is without leaders. This dressing-room bust-up, far from being a bad thing is a positive sign that this team is willing to fight towards success.
Read more of Harry’s articles at This Is Futbol
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