October 25 2014 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Arsene Wenger has accused the French Football Federation of contributing to Abou Diaby’s latest injury after the midfielder was ruled out for at least three weeks.
The 26-year-old was sidelined for all but five games of last season but after returning to full fitness in the summer he had been influential in the Gunners’ early season unbeaten start.
He limped out of the game against Chelsea on Saturday after 17 minutes which the north Londoners lost – their first defeat of the campaign – and Wenger lays some of the blame for his thigh strain at the door of the French national side, claiming Diaby wasn’t ready for the stresses of international football.
“I said many times that if France wanted Diaby in Spain [for the World Cup qualifier on October 16] they should not take him for [the qualifiers against] Finland and Belarus,” he said.
“They could have taken him but not played him because the guy has been out for a year, played four or five games.
“You have a breather, give him two weeks to recover completely. I think it was a mistake to play him with the French national team.”
Wenger added: “It is as well an opportunity for somebody else to stand up and play but it is a blow, yes.
“Not only because we lost a good player but because he has qualities that the other players haven’t got.
“For example, on Saturday when he moved out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in, takes his position straight away and loses the ball on set-pieces. This is a ball Diaby would have won easily because he has the size.
“We have better balance size-wise and strength as well because he has the power.
“It is really frustrating because once you think you get there it (an injury) happens again.”
Arsenal will run the rule over Mikel Arteta in the morning after the Spaniard missed training with an ankle injury picked up against Chelsea, while Wojciech Szczesny (ankle) faces a further three weeks out. The game will come too soon for Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Bacary Sagna (broken leg) who have both made big strides towards a return.