Arsenal’s injury prone midfielder Abou Diaby has marked his return from injury by playing 65 minutes for the club’s Under-21 side against West Brom on Wednesday.
The Frenchman has been injured since the 2-1 Chelsea loss way back on September 29, and his supposed ‘3 week’ injury sidelined the combative midfielder for over 3 months.
Arsenal’s midfield was a solid unit at the beginning of the season with Diaby involved- he won headers, shielded the back four as well as breaking forward with pace and skill. Arteta has since struggled to occupy the more defensive role with Wilshere an attacking minded player, and the trio forming the shortest midfield around.
Diaby’s potential to be a world class midfielder was on display against Liverpool earlier this season when he destroyed Anfield and gave Gooners hope that he had fully returned from injury, however his curse struck once again and sidelined him for a chunk of this season.
But the French international produced a solid display for the Arsenal U21 side (the new format reserve league) providing an assist for Andre Santos to equalise as the game finished 1-1.
Diaby has made just six first-team appearances so far this season but has proven his importance to the side, and he could be instrumental for the second half of the season.
The established trio of Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta looks unchangeable at present until Diaby is deemed fully match fit, and the option for Wenger to rotate in the Frenchman would create a diverse midfield for different situations. Arteta looks the man to be switched with Diaby, with the two other attacking minded midfielders mainstays.
Despite the positive news of Diaby’s return to playing action, the match ended with a sour note as Emmanuel Frimpong, who recently returned from a loan spell at Charlton, received a red card in the final minute for two bookable offences.
Little has been spoken of the Ghanian/English powerhouse whose contract is fast approaching its end and there has been limited rumours on anything eventuating despite fellow pals Jenkinson, Wilshere, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain signing new long term deals with the club.
Frimpong has been a quality youngster, however his successive cruciate ligament injuries have halted his development. But he is still young and has Arsenal in his heart, so hopefully he will stick around for some time.