Abou Diaby Makes First Arsenal Appearance in 420 Days vs. Norwich City

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 11, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Abou Diaby of Arsenal takes a shot on goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser fifth round match between Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby made a rare appearance for the Gunners in Sunday's Premier League finale against Norwich City, coming on in the second half for his first appearance since March 2013.    

Diaby replaced Tomas Rosicky in the 74th minute of Arsenal's 2-0 triumph over the Canaries at Carrow Road, as confirmed by Arsenal's official Twitter account:

Squawka Football on Twitter put the 28-year-old's extended absence into numerical perspective: 

As Daily Mirror football correspondent John Cross pointed out, Arsenal fans were pleased to see the Frenchman finally return to the pitch:

Diaby has been with Arsenal since January 2006, scoring 19 goals and recording 16 assists in nearly 180 career appearances in all competitions. However, an ACL injury suffered last season forced Diaby to miss several months.

The recovery process was prolonged by an additional surgery on the injured knee last fall.

Last month, Wenger told Arsenal.com's Chris Harris that Diaby was back to 100 percent physically and likely to see some action before season's end:

He is back in full training now and available to play...Yes of course [he could play for the first team this season], it depends how well he comes out of the game. He hasn't played for a year but physically he is ready to play, completely. It is now just decision-making, getting used to challenges again. He needs a game...Everybody [counted him out] but he is fit and ready.

In October, Wenger said that Diaby would have more opportunities to showcase himself with the Gunners and confirmed that the Frenchman had one-and-a-half years remaining on his contract.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26:  Abou Diaby of Arsenal is watched by David Lopez of Brighton & Hove Albion during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at Amex Stadium on January 26, 2013 in Brighton, Engl
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Despite making a successful return to the pitch following a severe injury, durability concerns remain an issue for Diaby and could threaten the remainder of his professional career. He's been unavailable for Wenger for a long time and has rarely had an opportunity to play an entire season at full health.

Although Diaby provided an exciting moment for Arsenal fans on Sunday, his future in Holloway remains uncertain given his injury-plagued history with the club.


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