By Chris Harris
Abou Diaby believes he is stronger, more confident and more focused these days.
The Frenchman was tipped as the natural successor to Patrick Vieira when he arrived at Arsenal in January 2006 but his progress has been checked by intermittent injuries, some of them serious.
Diaby appears to have turned the corner this season. He has already racked up 13 starts and three goals, taking advantage of Denilson's injury to cement a place in Arsène Wenger's midfield trio.
The 23-year-old admits he has had low points during his three-and-a-half years with the Club but he insists that those days are behind him.
"It was a difficult time but now this period is in the past," said Diaby. "I am trying to be focused on what I am doing now and in the future as well.
"Definitely mentally I am stronger because I had a lot of problems in the past. Even in the games I am getting more confidence as well.
"I don't know [what the fans think of my commitment]. I try to give my best in every game. That is it. The most important thing is to give our best and the team win."
Diaby was once tipped for a defensive midfield role alongside Cesc Fabregas but the Frenchman has augmented Arsenal's attack from central or wide positions instead. He admits that attacking football comes naturally to him.
"Everyone likes to score goals as well sometimes. I like to go forward and score some goals," he said. "Sometimes after training I am working on my finishing and things like that.
"In the games it has happened that there can be some situations when I am in front of the keeper and I don't want to miss it. I used to play behind the striker when I was young in the academy so it is something I know."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source