Though the loss to Southampton yesterday was a disappointing result, there were some positives to be taken away from the game. One of these was the return to match fitness of French midfielder Abou Diaby. The defensive midfielder has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, and especially so in the last couple of seasons. In the entirety of the last season, he made only one Premier League appearance, that too as a substitute. So to see him in the starting lineup was a happy sight for Gunners fans.
Though at this point he is still not fit enough to play a full 90 minute game, he turned in a performance full of heart and dedication for 66 minutes yesterday. The midfielder showed flashes of his immense skill and strength, brushing aside Southampton players at will. He could easily be the man to fill out void in the defensive midfield, if only his fitness were assured.
Wenger was full of praise for Diaby during the press conference after the match, and also voiced his optimism that Diaby could yet establish himself in the first team.
Of course it was difficult for him but he got 60 minutes and he was not injured. At some stage he has to play. He had 90 minutes [for the under-21s] at Villa last week. He played 60 minutes tonight. He was not bad, he was acceptable as a performance but he tired after an hour.
I try to transform it, yes because I feel because he was injured for a long time and he has the physical potential to win the challenges, to face the game will be easier for him than to play with his back to goal with the injuries he had. I tried to develop him in a deeper role, I think he can do it. He can be very interesting because he has all the attributes to do it. After, he must love it as well because he’s more of an offensive-minded player.
Let’s hope that the player finds a run of form and finally is able to fulfil his potential for the Gunners.
Do you think that Diaby could become a first team regular? Share your thoughts in the comments below.