Abou Diaby surprised at starting berth for Arsenal

Midfielder started against Manchester City

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The Independent Football

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby did not expect to be included in the starting line-up against Manchester City yesterday but felt no reaction to his recent thigh problem.

The 26-year-old France international had not featured for the Gunners' first-team since the 2-1 defeat against Chelsea on September 29.

He was recalled for the visit of Barclays Premier League champions Man City in place of Mikel Arteta, himself ruled out through injury.

Although Diaby could not do anything to prevent City coming away from the Emirates Stadium with a 2-0 win, in a game which saw both teams finish with 10 men, he is pleased to be back in action.

"I feel good physically," he told Arsenal Player. "Of course I have been out for a long time so I am not at my best, but importantly I did not get any reaction. This is good for the future.

"I knew the day before the game that I was starting, so I just had to prepare for that. I had been out for a long time, so I did not expect to be on the pitch so quickly. But it doesn't matter, you just need to be prepared and see how it goes."

Diaby lasted just over an hour before being replaced by Aaron Ramsey but is likely to feature heavily in the coming weeks, especially given Arteta's calf injury.