'Make or break' season ahead, admits Diaby
Abou Diaby isn't hiding from the enormity of the season he faces ahead with Arsenal. After a series of calf and hamstring injuries limited the powerful midfielder's appearances over the past few years, he was asked yesterday whether it was 'make or break' time for him at the Emirates Stadium.
'Of course it is,' replied the 26-year-old Frenchman (pictured). 'It all started two years ago. I was getting injured a bit [then] but I could still play and last year I couldn't play at all. It is a crucial season for me because I really want to enjoy what I am doing and it is really important for me to be back strong and have a very good season. My main goal is to play and to improve and be consistent.'
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said having both Diaby and Jack Wilshere back fit and playing would be like having two new signings for the Gunners and, after watching his team play in Malaysia on Tuesday, he said a fit Diaby would be the first player picked for the French national squad.
It appears the pep talks are doing their job, something Premier League opponents should note - as should those lining up against Diaby for Kitchee today - because at his best the Frenchman is an indomitable force.
'It's always nice to have the confidence of the manager and he definitely has given me more confidence and strength,' said Diaby.
He said the team's three-game tour of Asia - which also included a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City in Beijing on Friday night - had helped set the tone for the season ahead.
'We are really happy to be at this club and we want to give something to this club. Every day we are training and working and we hope to give something back at the end,' he said.
'Outside the pitch [a tour] creates links between players. It's a good opportunity to work together as a team and improve our qualities. It's really very important.'