Arsenal Breaking News: Abou Diaby Returns, Arsene Wenger Wins an Award

Ratan PostwallaCorrespondent IIMarch 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:  Jay Spearing of Liverpool launches himself into a challenge on Abou Diaby of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on April 17, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A tweet from Arsenal blogger Tim Stillman sums up the situation perfectly: “When I saw 'Diaby' and 'back' in the same sentence, I fully expected the word 'strain' to follow.”

Funny and true, but sad at the same time.

If you read my previous article, you will know that I am a massive Diaby fan. When he joined Arsenal, I believed he possessed all the ingredients to be the next Patrick Vieira.

Six years on, I haven’t changed my mind. The ingredients are still very much there, I just don’t know if he has the body or the will to convert them to an end product.

Such has been Diaby’s fitness record, that only once has he played more than 30 games (including substitute appearances) in a single season.

Robin van Persie, himself a platinum member of Arsenal’s treatment room, has managed that feat an impressive six times in eight seasons. That should give you a fair indication of Diaby’s struggles.

Normally, a player’s return from injury is built up by a two-week long drum-roll, with the manager reporting his gradual progress from “he is now running outside” to “he has started playing with the ball” to “he has now joined the group” to “he is back in full training” to “he is very close” and culminating in “he will be in the squad.” Sound familiar?

No such privilege for Diaby. All we got today was “he is available.” Almost as if even the press were fed up with asking when Arsenal’s unfortunate sick note would be back.

I know that there are a number of Arsenal fans who don’t really rate Diaby highly, and I feel this is because of his injury record, which is, in all honesty, shocking. A measly 160 appearances in six years is just not good enough, and one often wonders if he will ever fully recover from the after-effects of Dan Smith’s shocking tackle.

Personally, I’m thrilled that Abou Diaby is back. Those of us who have forgotten how good he really is might want to take a look at this (please ignore the first 30 seconds). Name two other current Arsenal players who can do all of that.

I’m looking forward to Diaby making a real impact between now and the end of the season and, more importantly, staying injury free.

Rare gong for Arsene Wenger

In other breaking news, Arsene Wenger has just been awarded the Premier League’s Manager of the Month for February. Good news has been so rare this season that I checked if it was the 1st of April when I first saw the headline.

It was a month that Arsenal commenced on the back of three consecutive defeats against Fulham, Swansea and Manchester United.

We stemmed the rot with a draw at Bolton, then destroyed Blackburn 7-1, stole a 2-1 victory at Sunderland thanks to a late Henry winner and finally hammered Tottenham 5-2 in a wonderfully memorable North London Derby.

While individual honours like this barely mean anything, it’s a nice little bit of news as the team heads to Anfield for a crucial game tomorrow against Liverpool.

Kudos to the greatest manager the club has ever seen.

You can follow me on Twitter @ratanpostwalla