By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger hopes Abou Diaby can bolster his depleted midfield resources as Arsenal enter the final weeks of the Premier League season.
The France international came off the bench to give Arsenal some much-needed drive against Chelsea on Saturday, showing flashes of his undoubted class in a 25-minute cameo.
Injuries have restricted the 25-year-old to just four substitute appearances this season but, with Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere injured, Wenger hopes Diaby can ease the workload on Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky.
"I hope Diaby can play a significant role," said Wenger. "I am a bit cautious because he just played 25 minutes but in the last three games I hope he can help us, yes."
Arteta will miss those final three games and Wenger noted after the Chelsea match that the Spaniard is the type of player who is properly appreciated only when he is not available. The manager also paid tribute to Rosicky, who got through 65 minutes on Saturday despite an illness.
"In fairness Rosicky was not supposed to play," said Wenger. "He woke up sick and we forced him basically to play, and he wanted to play, and he's still lying on the medical bench now [20 minutes after the game].
"I am very grateful because he was sick and still he played and he gave absolutely everything. But at one stage he told us 'look, I cannot run anymore'. But he is not injured.
"To miss Arteta and Rosicky at the moment for us is too much on the creative side of our game. Even Arteta is enough [of a loss] for us already."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