Wenger slams French over Diaby injury

Abou Diaby
Diaby had been in fine form so far this season, but injury has put the brakes on his progress. Photo: PA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is frustrated with Abou Diaby's latest injury and accused the French federation of failing to heed his warning over the player.

The 26-year-old has endured a torrid time with injuries ever since breaking his ankle at Sunderland six years ago and made just five appearances last season.

Diaby had looked back to his best at the start of this campaign and was in splendid form until he was forced off 17 minutes into Saturday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat to Chelsea.

Wenger has revealed the France international now faces three weeks on the sidelines with a thigh strain, which has frustrated the Arsenal boss.

Wenger apportioned some of that blame to his handling by the French national team, claiming he was called up too soon when he played against Finland last month.

"I said many times that if France wanted Diaby in Spain (for the World Cup qualifier on October 16) they should not take him for (the qualifiers against) Finland and Belarus," he said.

"They could have taken him but not played him because the guy has been out for a year, played four or five games.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger believes Abou Diaby's call-up to the French national team has contributed to the player's fitness trouble. Credit: PA

"You have a breather, give him two weeks to recover completely. I think it was a mistake to play him with the French national team."

Wenger added: "It is as well an opportunity for somebody else to stand up and play but it is a blow, yes," he said.

"Not only because we lost a good player but because he has qualities that the other players haven't got.

"For example, on Saturday when he moved out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in, takes his position straight away and loses the ball on set-pieces. This is a ball Diaby would have won easily because he has the size.

"We have better balance size-wise and strength as well because he has the power.

"It is really frustrating because once you think you get there it (an injury) happens again."

Diaby could be joined on the sidelines for Wednesday night's Champions League Group B clash with Olympiakos by Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard suffered an ankle knock against Chelsea.

The former Everton player did not train at London Colney on Tuesday, where four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson watched the session.

"He had no role at the club, he is a runner," Wenger said when asked why the American was in attendance.

"We sometimes co-operate with his school. For example, if a player needs to work on some aspects of his physical side, during the summer period we send them there for preparation.

"It is a fantastic school but he is not directly involved with our team. This summer Ignasi Miquel and a few youth players went out there."