Arsene Wenger has admitted, not that he really needed to, that playing Abou Diaby is something of a gamble because of his injury record.
The French midfielder picked up a thigh strain in the defeat to Chelsea and faces around three weeks out of action, but the manager says that his squad is deep enough to be able to cope with his absence.
“Diaby’s injury record is not good,” he said. “I was concerned about him, of course. It was a gamble but I was calculating as well that Jack Wilshere was coming back.
“Francis Coquelin is here but was sick and Emmanuel Frimpong is back, while Tomas Rosicky is coming back. We have many midfield players.”
Diaby adds a certain amount of physicality in midfield that perhaps only Frimpong can match, and the manager says that’s something of a concern.
“We don’t have many physical players. but Mikel Arteta has shown he can be a great defensive midfield player. We’ll see overall if it was a good or bad decision at the end of the season.”
To be fair to Diaby he has played well so far this season and his brittleness is hardly a shock. With Wilshere’s return imminent and players like Coquelin, Ramsey and Frimpong in the mix too, there are options for the manager.
It’s not as if we’re desperately short of bodies, or that we had a real reliance on Diaby, but let’s hope he can get fit again and continue to contribute throughout the season.