After suffering an amazing and unlucky number of injuries, around 40, in his eight years as an Arsenal player, it is pretty incredible that Abou Diaby has not just thrown in the towel. And many other clubs and managers might have given up on the Frenchman, but not Arsene Wenger and Diaby could be about to repay the faith of his manager.
An ESPN report shows that Wenger is set to start the 28-year old in the Capital One cup clash with Southampton this evening, in the latest step on his recent road to recovery. Diaby did manage to get on the pitch for the final game of last season and has had all summer, pre-season and the under 21s games to build himself back to full fitness, so this game against the Saints is a very important one for him to see if he really is ready for action with the Arsenal first team.
Wenger said about him, “Diaby played 90 minutes at Villa Park for the under-21s last week. He was with us at Villa Park again on Saturday and he will play against Southampton on Tuesday.
“He is 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 am a huge believer in his quality and I am sad as well that he couldn’t show it more. If there is some justice, the future will be much better for him.”
And it is not sentiment that has caused Wenger to bring Diaby back, because the central midfielder has the qualities to be a significant boost to the Arsenal team, especially in the sort of big game that we struggled in last season. With his injury problems, Wenger is never going to play him in every game, but if he can find his form, the boss could use him sparingly to great effect.
And just by chance there is one of those big games coming up, with the visit of Chelsea next weekend. If Diaby completes the game tonight with no problems and looks good, I would not be surprised to see his name on the team sheet for the Chelsea clash, where his energy and tackling in the middle of the pitch would be well appreciated. What do you think Gooners?