Thoughts on Sagna’s Performances this Season
Being a right back requires a lot of attributes that make up an entire package.
Firstly, he must have reserves of stamina to help him gallop up and down the pitch, balancing attacking and defensive play. He must possess a decent cross on him to supply the attack with ammunition, his work rate must be second to none, an efficient tackler and his positional awareness must be top-notch.
In the beautiful game, many footballers ply their trades in this coveted position that has been marauded by legends like Cafu, Gianluca Zambrotta, Lee Dixon, Gary Neville among others. In the present day, you can’t look no further than the likes of Philip Lahm, Maicon, Pablo Zabaleta, Dani Alves, Stephan Liechsteiner, Rafael, who in their days, they’re forces to be reckoned with.
At Arsenal, we have had the opportunity to witness fine athletes play in the traditional No. 2 position and the first Gunner I’d watch play that position was Dixon. When his era passed, Lauren Etame-Mayer did his thing down the right before paving the way for a young cult hero, Emmanuel Eboue.
In 2007, Arsene Wenger went to a familiar hunting ground to pluck off an unearthed Bacary Sagna whose debut campaign was so successful that he won a place in the 2008 Team of the Year. This model for consistency had set the standards for himself and the Gunners believed that he was the real deal.
As the seasons passed by, Sagna was synonymous with first team action and continued to flourish as well as maintaining his optimal fitness levels. But in rather unfortunate circumstances, the fullback suffered a horrific leg fracture in the ground of the Old Enemy, sidelining him for a considerable chunk of the campaign. To add to Arsenal’s woes, his replacement, Carl Jenkinson, was nursing a back injury.
After some rigorous rehabilitation, Sagna made his comeback only to suffer another broken leg against Norwich, missing Euro 2012 in the process. LOSC Lille Metropole fullback, Matt Debuchy (recently joined Newcastle) deputised in his stead and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the tournament.
Sagna wasn’t to feature in competitive action till Autumn, but he grabbed a place in the back pages when he voiced his frustrations about the sales of RVP and Alex Song, which led to speculation that he was next in line to join the world-famous Arsenal exodus. Coupled with the fact that his contract runs out soon, the media vultures continued to add fuel to fire, linking him with a move to oil moneybags, PSG.
After some Under-21 outings, Sagna made his return to the delight of the Arsenal faithful but with Jenkinson hitting top gear, many fans had hoped that the youngster would give the Bac Man a run for his money.
This season, Sagna has become a complete shadow (even if he’s as dark as one) of the player I once labeled as the football S.I. Unit for consistency. Sagna has been below-par throughout the campaign and he has capped it off with some appalling displays marred by torrid crosses and shameful schoolboy errors.
In Arsenal’s away encounters against Everton and Southampton, Sagna was culpable for the goals conceded courtesy of some sloppy passes that were intercepted by the opposition. Sagna’s positioning has been downright appalling in some games as well, with memories of Juan Mata’s early goal in Stamford Bridge ringing bells in my head. When Newcastle visited the Emirates, Sagna made Gabby Obertan look like Ronaldinho.
Despite the shortcomings from a player so renowned for his consistent performances, Sagna’s outing against Sunderland, albeit an unfamiliar center back position, was one of his finest in Arsenal colors. He worked in tandem with Per Mertesacker and they quelled every threat Sunderland posed despite their numerical advantage.
Carl Jenkinson has been a phenom this season and has shown that he has what it takes to succeed in a club like Arsenal but Wenger’s undying faith in Sagna (understandably) proved to be his undoing when Man Utd visited the Emirates last weekend.
For reasons best known to Lord Voldemort, Freddie Krueger and that Nenemis character from Resident Evil, Sagna inexplicably chose to send a sloppy pass that was gracefully received by van Persie. In his attempt to seek redemption, a rush of blood to his head saw the Frenchman scythe RVP inside the box, giving the ref no choice but to point to the spot.
We all know how that panned out and it’s fair to say that Sagna’s complacency cost his team dearly and he has clearly let his teammates down, which ultimately leaves the manager with a decision to make.
Will Wenger allow Sagna to have a chance to redeem himself when the Gunners visit QPR or will the manager take a ruthless approach by benching him for Jenkinson?
This is certainly a bone of contention that would leave Arsenal fans with divided opinions but it’s glaring that the manager has to make a decision for the good of the team. Despite the fact that Thomas Vermaelen remains one of the finest defenders in the team, he has found it really hard to displace last season’s best defender by a far mile, Laurent Koscielny.
In my honest opinion, I would like Jenkinson to return back to first team
action with Sagna taking his place in the dugout. If Wenger could have the balls to axe his captain and his first choice goalie for several weeks, I don’t see this underperforming right back retaining his place.
Sagna has played so much football since making his return
If Sagna is relegated to the bench against QPR, a team quite familiar with such words, it would send a vivid message to the entire squad that playing for a team like Arsenal is no stroll in the park. -_____-
With the games coming thick and fast, Arsenal can ill afford another slip up, even if the last draw was achieved when they chose to shoot themselves in the foot yet again.
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