Abou Diaby is a player who has spent majority of his Arsenal career plagued by injuries and after recovering from his 40th injury in eight years…yes I said 40th he is finally fit to make a start against Southampton in the League Cup game tonight.
Arsenal fans have only seen glimmers of Diaby’s potential due to his situation but what we have seen was exciting, he made 40 appearances during the 09/10 season and that is when he was at his best for us. He has the potential to be a great defensive midfielder but it is has been such a long time since he has played consistent football so it will be interesting to see whether he still has that ability within him.
What Diaby lacks physically he makes up for it in mental strength, to come through 40 injuries and still love football enough to want to still risk your body to play football takes a lot. To stay strong throughout that turmoil is something of an achievement, if he can really get back to full fitness and play a decent season without injury who knows what presence he could add to the team. We really are desperate for someone strong in that position.
You have to also admire his ethics, he apparently hasn’t taken wages from the club for years and still stayed there to recover in the hope that he would be able to repay the club by playing again.
Diaby played a full 90 mins for the U21’s last week and Wenger insists that he is finally ready to return to the first team.
Speaking to The Mirror he told them
“He’s a giant mentally. To do what he has done, with the severe injuries he had, he comes back every time, is dedicated and he deserves a lot of respect.”
“I’m a huge believer in his quality and I’m sad as well that he couldn’t show it more. If there is some justice, the future will be much better for him.”
Nacho Monreal is still suffering a back injury that has kept him out for the last two games. It is looking likely that he will miss tonight’s clash with Southampton and most likely the the North London Derby at the weekend.