When Arsenal take on Southampton in the Capital One Cup third round, they’ll likely do so with the towering figure and suspect limbs of Abou Diaby in their side.
The Gunners’ forgotten Frenchman, who has set up residence in the Emirates medical room since arriving eight seasons ago.
His latest comeback is from knee-ligament surgery last year, and although there have been several false-Diaby dawns in previous years, his availability clearly delighted manager Arsene Wenger.
“He is a giant, mentally. To do what he has done, with the severe injuries he had, he comes back every time, is dedicated and he deserves a lot of respect. I am a huge believer in his quality and I am sad as well that he couldn’t show it more,” said Wenger.
Wenger also indicated he would be giving many of his fringe players a run out against dangerous opposition in the form of the second-placed Saints – where Arsenal are 10/11 for the win, Ronald Koeman’s side are 11/4 pokes and the draw is 13/5.
Whatever the outcome, Diaby is sure to have an influence on the game with his high-powered running game, that’s if he can stay on the pitch long enough of course.
Ladbrokes offer the same odds of 5/6 that the midfielder lasts under or over the 71.5 minutes mark, although these prices are only valid if Diaby makes the starting line-up, as Wenger has hinted.
The firm also give odds of 10/1 the French international begins Arsenal’s next Premier League match, the small matter of a north London derby, while a slightly safer looking 7/4 says he’ll enter the fray at some point against Tottenham.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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