Abou Diaby’s return from injury a big boost, says Arsenal legend
Arsenal legend Alan Smith says midfielder Abou Diaby's return from injury is a big "boost" for the Gunners
Alan Smith has welcomed the return of Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby ahead of their clash against Southampton in the League Cup on Tuesday.
The France international is expected to start in the third round of Capital One Cup after recovering from yet another injury set-back in pre-season.
He is different to what they’ve got… Diaby is powerful and can open those legs and get down the pitch
Arsenal legend Smith hailed Diaby as a top-class player, adding that the 28-year-old midfielder brings something different to Arsene Wenger’s side.
“It is a boost,” Smith told Sky Sports News.
“It has been interesting. Arsene Wenger hasn’t mentioned his name too much in the past month. He was injured again in pre-season, he has had a terrible run of injuries.
“He is a talented boy, but Arsenal fans had almost forgotten about him and lost patience with him to a certain extent.
“He is different to what they’ve got. Those small technical players, Diaby is powerful and can open those legs and get down the pitch.
“He had a good run of games but got injured again. He is a top player.”
Diaby made his return from a knee injury on the final day of the Premier League last season, completing a 16-minute cameo in a 2-0 victory over Norwich City.
And Smith reckons Wenger may have opted against spending big money on a defensive midfielder due to Diaby’s imminent return to first-team action.
“He can do [be their holding midfielder]. He hasn’t had a run of games to really bed himself into that position,” Smith added.
“Maybe this is why Wenger hasn’t gone for a holding midfielder. It is the type of player that the fans have been crying out for.
“But I don’t think he’d dare say that he is hoping Diaby can do the job because he has been let down so many times.”