Diaby surprised by Arsenal return

Abou Diaby was surprised to be playing for Arsenal against Manchester City on Sunday, according to Sky Sports.

The midfielder had not featured in the Gunners first team since September, where he suffered a thigh injury during the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea. A pre-match calf strain suffered by Mikel Arteta, however, saw Diaby thrust back into action.

He played 61 minutes of the 2-0 defeat, and felt buoyed by the fact that he did not suffer a physical reaction from playing. He said: “I feel good physically. 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.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised the former Auxerre enforcer, admitting that while it had been a gamble to include the 26-year-old he had coped admirably with his sudden return to action.

The Frenchman said: “Diaby became stronger during the game. 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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