Arsenal 1 Southampton 2: It was difficult for Diaby, admits Wenger
Arsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsene Wenger admits Abou Diaby struggled with his match fitness in Tuesday's League Cup loss
Arsene Wenger admits that Abou Diaby struggled with his match fitness as the midfielder made his comeback in Tuesday’s League Cup defeat by Southampton.
The 28-year-old played 67 minutes as he made his first start in 18 months against the Saints but couldn’t prevent the Gunners from slipping to a third-round exit at Emirates Stadium.
“It was difficult for him but he got 60 minutes and he was not injured,” said Wenger.
“At some stage he has to play. He had 90 minutes [for the under-21s] at Villa last week. He played 60 minutes tonight.
“He was not bad, he was acceptable as a performance but he tired after an hour.”
Alexis Sánchez’s brilliant free-kick in the 14th minute opened the scoring for an Arsenal side featuring 10 changes from Saturday’s win over Aston Villa.
However, Southampton equalised six minutes later when Dusan Tadic scored a penalty, before Nathaniel Clyne netted the eventual winner five minutes before half-time.
Wenger continued: “It’s disappointing because we had a good start, but we made big errors when we had the ball. We gave a lot but it’s frustrating.
“You have to give credit to Southampton. They are a good side and they played very well tonight.
“I cannot fault the attitude. The reason we lost is because of our opponent’s performance. It is not the players’ fault.”