Ex-Arsenal favourite Abou Diaby lasted 56 minutes and lost on his first Marseille start

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Abou Diaby's Marseille career got off to an inauspicious start on Sunday with the former Arsenal midfielder failing to make an impact on his first start for the French side - nine months since signing for the club.

The 29-year-old's time at the Emirates was marred by a series of injuries that restricted the midfielder to a paltry 32 Premier League appearances throughout his final five years in north London, which averages out at around six games per season.

Once a highly-regarded component of the Gunners midfield, Diaby's problems began just five months into his Arsenal career when Sunderland defender Dan Smith broke the Frenchman's ankle in the 2005/06 season.


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In ten seasons with the north Londoners, Diaby was arguably only fully fit for two complete campaigns, with a series of knocks, niggles and other ankle or knee issues leaving him sidelined.

Released by Arsenal last summer, the former Auxerre midfielder soon found another club, signing with Marseille on a free transfer.

Initially regarded as something of a bargain signing alongside fellow midfielder Lassana Diarra, Diaby's injury problems have continued.

While Diarra has been a mainstay of the Marseille midfield since moving to the Velodrome, his former Arsenal teammate has had to wait to make his mark.

Prior to last weekend, Diaby had played just 12 minutes of football for Marseille, coming on during a 5-2 home defeat to Rennes last month.

Nine months after signing, though, and his big day finally came, with Diaby named in the L'OM starting line-up against Bastia.

But anyone hoping for a fairytale debut will have been left disappointed after the home side claimed a 2-1 victory, further denting Marseille's hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.

Diaby failed to impress too, with giving the Frenchman a lowly match rating of 6.6 - one of the lowest of either team's midfield.

Substituted after 56 largely anonymous minutes, the former Arsenal favourite will nevertheless be looking to build on this appearance with more game time in the coming weeks.

Improve his fitness and contribute a goal or two and perhaps Diaby can get back his best. Early signs suggest he's past those days, though.

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