• Premier League

Diaby optimistic after successful Arsenal return

ESPN staff
January 14, 2013
Abou Diaby came through unscathed against Manchester City © PA Photos

Abou Diaby is hopeful the worst of his injury nightmare is behind him, after coming through an hour of football against Manchester City.

Diaby was a surprising name on the team-sheet for Arsenal's Premier League defeat on Sunday, with the French midfielder thrown into the starting XI after an injury to Mikel Arteta the day before the contest.

Diaby managed 61 minutes in his first appearance for the Gunners since September, and was delighted to feel no flare up of the thigh injury that had kept him on the sidelines.

"I feel good physically," Diaby told the club's official website. "Of course I have been out for a long time so I am not at my best, but importantly I did not get any reaction. This is good for the future.

"I knew the day before the game that I was starting, so I just had to prepare for that. I had been out for a long time, so I did not expect to be on the pitch so quickly.

"But it doesn't matter, you just need to be prepared and see how it goes."

Wenger admitted that thrusting Diaby into the first team had been a "gamble", but was pleased with his display.

"Diaby became stronger during the game," Wenger said. "I feel he was like the team. He started very slowly and became stronger in the second part of the game.

"I took the gamble because I feel that it was needed. It's good that he came through well. He will become stronger very quickly.

"The team is desperate to do well and has quality. We need to be conscious that we have quality and we have to show more authority from the start in big games. The authority comes with the confidence in your quality."

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