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playerprofile_diaby

Abou Diaby

Abou made his long-awaited return to the first team in the last Premier League game of the 2013/14 season away to Norwich City after more than 14 months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury. The midfielder spent much of his rehabilitation in his native France before returning to training in spring and making an appearance for the under-21 side in April.

When fully fit, there are few Premier League midfielders who can match Abou for technique and presence on the ball. He demonstrated this with four fine performances early in the 2012/13 season, particularly during a 2-0 win at Liverpool.

Abou Diaby Profile

Born May 11, 1986
Paris, France
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 24
Previous Club(s) Auxerre, Paris Saint-Germain
Arsenal Debut January 21, 2006

He joined the Gunners from Auxerre at the age of 19 and, despite some serious injuries, has been integral to Arsene Wenger’s plans when fit. The same can be said with the French national team, for whom he has won 16 caps and featured heavily in the 2010 World Cup campaign, playing all 270 minutes. He also won the Uefa Under-19 Championship in 2005 before injuries cruelly interrupted his career.

This season Abou will be hoping that, after completing his recovery, he is afforded the lengthy run of fitness that he deserves.

My Year

  • 2013/14
  • 2012/13
  • 2011/12
  • 2010/11
  • 2009/10
  • 2008/09
  • 2007/08

August

Abou was sidelined through injury in August.

September

A long-term knee injury kept Abou out of action for the whole of September.

October

A long-term knee injury kept Abou out of action for the whole of October.

November

A long-term knee injury kept Abou out of action for the whole of November.

December

A long-term knee injury kept About out of action for the whole of December.

January

A long-term knee injury kept Abou out of action for the whole of January.

February

A knee injury kept Abou out of action for the whole of February.

March

A long-term knee injury kept Abou out of action for the whole of March.

April

Abou took a step closer to returning to full fitness when he completed 45 minutes for the under-21s against Chelsea.

May

Abou made his long-awaited return to first team action when he played the final 16 minutes against Norwich City.

August

Abou celebrated his return from injury with starts against both Sunderland and Stoke in the Premier League. He was also called up to France's squad for matches against Finland and Belarus. After a successful pre-season, the midfielder said: "At times like that it’s really important to have support from your manager, team-mates and the staff. I have to say thanks to all of them, because they’ve helped me a lot and I really appreciate it.”

September

Abou made a good start to September, being named Man of the Match against Liverpool. He continued to forge a good partnership with Mikel Arteta in central midfield, before picking up a thigh strain against Chelsea.

October

A thigh injury kept Abou Diaby out of action during October.

November

Abou did not feature in November due to a thigh strain.

December

Abou did not feature in December due to the thigh injury he picked up against Chelsea at the end of September.

January

Abou made his return from injury after more than three months out, starting against Manchester City. He went on to make four appearances in the month, playing his part in wins over Swansea City and Brighton and Hove Albion. “He is a very conscientious guy,” said Arsene Wenger. “You should see how he works, how he is focused every day, because when a guy suffers as much as he did he becomes very professional, very rigorous.”

February

Abou featured heavily in February, playing in every game except the defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. “It’s really important to show our character to our opponents,” the midfielder said. “As soon as they know that they will play against us, they know that we play well but we also have character, which is really important."

March

After starting and playing 70 minutes against Swansea City, Abou’s season was ended prematurely when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. “When they told me it was a rupture of his cruciate, and when you know what this guy has gone through, how many times he has worked day and night to come back in rehab, it is just demoralising,” said Arsene Wenger. “I hope he will find the resources and the strength to come back, because he was quite down.”

April

Abou was sidelined throughout April.

May

Abou's injury kept him out of action throughout May.

August

Abou missed the start of the season after undergoing surgery on his ankle over the summer.

September

Abou did not feature as he continued his recovery from an ankle injury.

October

Abou did not feature during the month as he continued his recovery from an ankle injury.

November

Abou returned from an ankle injury in the Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund, playing five minutes as a second-half substitute. There was another appearance off the bench against Fulham, before a minor hamstring problem ruled him out of the Carling Cup defeat to Manchester City.

December

Abou continued his recovery from a hamstring problem.

January

Abou received treatment for a hamstring problem. "He has been in a rehab centre and has worked very hard," said Arsene Wenger. "We feel that when he comes back he will need three more weeks of training, so the earliest he will play will be the end of February."

February

Abou did not feature as he continues his recovery from injury.

March

Abou made his return from a hamstring injury in the win over Liverpool but suffered another setback on his road to recovery.

April

Abou made his return from injury with substitute appearances against Chelsea and Stoke.

May

Abou did not feature after suffering a hamstring problem.

August

Abou played every minute of Arsenal’s opening three Premier league games in August, helping the Gunners start the season unbeaten. He scored his first goal of the season when he netted the fourth in the 6-0 home defeat of Blackpool. The French midfielder played a key role in the Arsenel midfield as the Gunners kicked off the season well.

September

Abou picked up a leg injury against Bolton during the first game of the month after a challenge from Paul Robinson. The injury kept the midfielder out until the last Premier League game of the month against West Brom, though Abou didn’t complete the game and was substituted after 56 minutes. Abou represented France at the start of the month in a win against Bosnia & Herzegovina and a shock home defeat to Belarus as Les Blues opened their Euro 2012 Qualifying campaign.

October

Abou missed the majority of October with an ankle injury. The Frenchman did feature in the month’s opening two games when he played 70 minutes of the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the entirety of the 2-1 win over Birmingham. Though he was on the bench for the Champions League win over Shakhtar his injury meant he didn’t play for the rest of the month.

November

Abou’s ankle injury kept him out of action for the whole of the month. On November 5, Arsene Wenger admitted he did not know when the midfielder would be fit again.

December

Abou’s injury woes continued in December as he picked up a calf strain. The midfielder returned from his ankle problem as a 73rd-minute substitute in the 3-1 win over Chelsea and then made his first start since October 16 against Wigan two days later. However, he hobbled off during the first half at the DW Stadium and was ruled out for “some weeks” by Arsene Wenger.

January

Abou picked up a calf problem at Wigan on December 29 and missed the majority of January. He made his comeback against Huddersfield when he completed 69 minutes in the FA Cup tie at the end of the month.

February

Abou saw red at St. James’ Park after reacting to a strong challenge from Joey Barton by shoving the midfielder to the ground. His dismissal precipitated a dismal second-half collapse for Arsenal as Newcastle fought back from a four-goal deficit to snatch a 4-4 draw.

March

In the absence of Alex Song, Abou started four times in March before an injury ruled him out of the final game of the month at West Brom. The midfielder was the nearest Arsenal player to Sergio Busquets when the Barcelona man headed into his own net to put Arsène Wenger’s side ahead in the Champions League last-16 tie.

April

Abou enjoyed three starts in April and scored his first goal since August in the 3-1 win at Blackpool. The French midfielder gave Arsenal the lead at Bloomfield Road when he converted Robin van Persie’s low cross to record his second strike of the season. Abou started against both Liverpool and Tottenham but missed the trip to Bolton with a calf strain.

May

Abou made one appearance in May, playing 64 minutes on the final day of the season at Fulham.

August

Abou missed out on the Premier League kick-off with a groin injury, but returned as a substitute in the 2-0 win at Celtic in the first leg of the Champions League Play-Off. He started the following match against Portsmouth and quickly made his mark with goals in the 18th and 21st minutes as Arsenal won 4-1. Diaby outlined his three aims for the season as being to stay fit, win trophies with Arsenal, and then spend the summer in South Africa with the French national team.

September

Abou started five of Arsenal's six fixtures in September, sitting out the Carling Cup victory against West Brom. The Frenchman crafted the goal that pulled the Gunners back into the Standard Liege match with a superb through-ball to goalscorer Nicklas Bendtner. Arsène Wenger's side went on to win the match 3-2.

October

Abou scored Arsenal's second in the 3-1 win over Birmingham in October but accepted that the team switched off after his goal, allowing Lee Bowyer to make it 2-1. Diaby also attended a Members' question and answer session at Emirates Stadium, giving fans an insight into his life on and off the field.

November

Abou scored the fourth goal in the 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar and also played against Wolves but then missed the rest of November with a calf injury. He is expected to return during December.

December

Abou scored twice in his four starts for the Gunners in December. He scored in the 3-0 victory over Hull City and in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa. Speaking at the end of the month manager Arsène Wenger said Abou had grown on the pitch. "He has played many games since the beginning of the season," said Wenger. "He looks to grow in stature and now he is dominant in the fight and he scores goals.

January

Abou featured in Arsenal's first four games of January but missed the final three fixtures of the month due to a calf problem. At the start of the year Abou signed a new long-term contract with the Club and told Arsenal.com he was "very happy" about the new deal. "It shows my long-term commitment to Arsenal," he said. "I'm very happy here and I love the Club which is why I'm so pleased to extend my contract. It's a good thing and hopefully we're going to have some great years here."

February

Abou featured in Arsenal's first three fixtures of the month and scored the winner in the Gunners' 1-0 victory over Liverpool. However, he missed the rest of the month through injury. "We lost Abou Diaby last night [at Porto]," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online the day after the Gunners' 2-1 defeat. "It is not understandable. I don't know how it worked. But he has a medial knee ligament injury. We discovered it today. He came in today and he had pain in his knee."

March

Abou appeared in all six of Arsenal's games in March, starting on four occasions. The midfielder joined Andrey Arshavin as Arsenal in the Community launched their involvement in the Premier League 4 Sport initiative. The duo played badminton, judo, table tennis, volleyball, basketball and hockey at an Islington school.

April

Abou started four of Arsenal's April fixtures but missed the home win over Wolves.

May

Abou started against Blackburn and Fulham before being named in France's provision squad for the World Cup. He featured for Les Bleus in friendlies against Tunisia and Costa Rica and claimed an assist against the latter.

August

Abou’s thigh injury kept him out of action in August. He continued his comeback but and was expected back after the international break.

October

Abou returned from his long-term thigh injury with a bang in October. The Frenchman got his first taste of competitive action of the season in the 82nd minute of Arsenal’s home clash with Everton on the 14th. The combative midfielder wasted no time in setting up an injury time goal for Theo Walcott against the Toffees before scoring a goal himself against Fenerbahce on the 21st.

November

An abdominal injury kept Abou out of the final two November fixtures but the Frenchman was involved in the rest of the month's games.

December

Abou missed December’s first two fixtures with an abdominal strain but returned to play some part in the other five matches. The Frenchman’s highlight of the month came at Villa Park when he struck after 48 minutes to hand the Gunners a 2-0 lead. After a lovely backheel on the halfway line, the all-action midfielder played a neat one-two with Emmanuel Eboue before surging into the Villa area and lifting an effort over Brad Friedel and into the net.

January

Arsenal’s FA Cup Fourth-Round tie at Cardiff aside, Abou started every fixture in January. The Frenchman showed more glimpses of brilliance throughout the month and was on hand to provide Arsenal’s vital equaliser at Goodison Park on January 28th. In the dying seconds of the encounter, Diaby’s flighted through-ball found Robin van Persie who hammered his effort past Tim Howard in the Everton goal. On Arsenal’s title chances he said: "We are not going to let up until the end of the season.”

February

Abou missed the first three February fixtures because of an ankle injury sustained at the end of January. However, the French enforcer returned to start Arsenal’s last two games of the month against AS Roma and Fulham at Emirates Stadium.

March

Abou started four of the six March fixtures and came on as a substitute in the other two. The Frenchman fired home his spot-kick in Rome and then went on to notch against Newcastle in the Premier League on March 21. After the strike at St James’ Park, Arsène Wenger likened Abou to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira. “There are similarities,” said Wenger. “They are the same stature and the same size and have the similar style.”

April

Abou sandwiched 90 minutes in the FA Cup Semi-Final on April 18 with substitute appearances against Villarreal and Liverpool. The Frenchman’s last action of the month came off the bench against Middlesbrough on the 26th.

May

Abou started three of May’s five fixtures and was among the substitutes for the others. His undoubted highlight came in the month’s final match when he rose majestically to nod Arsenal’s third goal in their 4-1 victory against Stoke on May 24.

April

Abou’s thunderous effort against Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League was undoubtedly the highlight of his month. He served a domestic suspension in the early part of April and, in a bid to raise his fitness levels, featured for the Reserve team. However he suffered a thigh injury before half-time of the second-string fixture and did not feature again. He will not play again this season.

March

Abou was dismissed in the final game of March, at Bolton. His red card came a week after he made a return from injury in the defeat at Chelsea. The Frenchman had sat out the draws with Wigan and Middlesbrough.

February

After completing 90 minutes for the Gunners against Manchester City, a calf injury robbed Abou of any further game time in February.