Abou Diaby knows he needs time to find his best form but he's "feeling good" after putting his latest injury problem behind him.
The French midfielder was troubled by an ankle injury for much of the first half of the season and then hurt his calf in December. He made his comeback against Huddersfield at the weekend and came off the bench to help Arsenal turn a one-goal deficit into a 2-1 win over Everton on Tuesday.
Diaby is understandably rusty after a lengthy lay-off but he expects to improve with every game.
“I feel good,” Diaby told the Official Matchday Programme. “Getting those minutes on Sunday was very helpful - now I just need to get my sharpness back, which will come with time.
“It’s been a frustrating period, of course. When I came back last time I had a calf problem - it was probably caused by overcompensating on my left side to protect my right calf. I played 20 minutes against Wigan and it went, so I had plenty of treatment and have managed to return in quite good time.”
This is no time to be injured, of course. Arsenal have a glamour tie with Barcelona in the Champions League on the horizon and a chance to lift their first trophy since 2005 when they face Birmingham in the Carling Cup Final on February 27.
"That is really important,” admits Diaby. “We’re really excited to go back to Wembley and are determined to win the final. It will give us a lot of appetite for the rest of the season, too. We deserve to go there and now we want to lift the trophy for our fans, for the Club as a whole and for ourselves.
“I think that, every year, you learn from things that happened in the previous season,” he added. “Each of us understands that if we want to progress and win trophies we have to work hard together all over the pitch – both when we attack and when we defend. It’s the only way, and that’s how we are playing at the moment.
"We have many matches left and plenty in front of our home fans – so let’s take our chance, play our game well and keep winning. We’ve a good chance to make everyone happy this season.”
This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.