The last time that Abou Diaby was fit and able to make a decent contribution to the Arsenal cause, was nearly two years ago, at the start of the 2012-13 season. The Frenchman started all three of the Gunners opening games and bagged himself a Man of the Match award as we beat Liverpool at Anfield.
But therein lay part of the problem for Diaby and Arsenal, because the lack of options in midfield forced Arsene Wenger to rely too heavily on the Frenchman and that caused his injury problems to flare up again. The 28-year old’s luck then deserted him again with a cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for over a year, making his only appearance as a sub in the final Premier League game.
But Diaby has had the summer to build his fitness and played the second 45 minutes of our first pre-season game against Boreham Wood on Saturday. He spoke on Arsenal.com about his happiness at being able to have another pre-season, which he hopes this time will lead to a useful and effective season for him in the Arsenal first team.
The midfielder said, “I think it was good occasion for us to get prepared. It was a good game against a good team, it was a lovely day as well so we are happy. It was very hot but it was hot for everybody – we just tried to play our game.
“I haven’t done that [play 45 minutes] for one year so I was really happy to be back in a normal game. I hope it’s going to stay like this.
“Pre-season has been really good so far, we still have three weeks and I hope to complete 90 per cent of it and that will be a successful one for me.”
We know that Diaby can be a great player and a fantastic one to have in the squad. And now that the midfield part of that squad is much stronger, with Flamini, Ramsey, Arteta, Chamberlain and Wilshere, as well as the likes of young Gedion Zelalem coming through, Wenger should be able to use him more sparingly, which will hopefully mean that he is available to the Gunners when we really need him. And that, in turn, will give the likes of Ramsey a chance to rest as well.
Do you think Diaby will finally have an effective season with Arsenal?