It’s my first Arsenal blog in a while today but I was in the writing mood so I’ll compose a few thoughts on one of our most consistent players of the past few seasons: Mr Bacary Sagna.
I read that he was the last to depart the pitch on Tuesday night and his waves appeared to be lingering ones. I would fully agree with @LittleDutchVA on his Arseblog column when he said that he’d like to see Jenkinson phased into the team with Sagna there to help the transition. Gunnerblog made a very good observation on Tuesday night when he noticed how Gibbs was “coached through the game by Steve Bould who regularly passed on advice to Gibbs from the touch-line.” I think we can all agree with him that it worked and McManaman was fairly subdued in the game. Gunnerblog went on to say that “Gibb’s positional play and anticipation were as good as I’ve seen him produce.” Remembering how good Sagna was against Sunderland when he was moved into the centre due to injuries, I can only imagine his experience at centre back being a positive were we to keep him for the final year of his contract. I know Merty and Kos are the preferred centre back pairing but if we could persuade him to see out the final year of his deal to help mould Jenks into the brilliant right-back we know he will be that could only be a good thing. He could be that on field coach for the young Jenkinson knowing exactly what's needed having bombed up and down that right flank for his career. I do think our squad now has the right balance of youth and experience and getting one more year from Sagna would be fantastic. The criticism he has received at times this season has been un-warranted. Yes he has made a few mistakes this season but it’s only after 5 years of sterling service. It’s only now I realised he’s only human. But seriously, with abs like the ones in the picture above you can be forgiven for thinking he wasn’t human! Super ability coupled with such impressive determination meant that no cause was lost if it was on Sagna’s radar. I remember this goal saving clearance like it was yesterday! Supreme determination!
One leg break, let alone two, are difficult injuries to return from. But return he did and he’s rarely if never given less than 100% for the team. His recent error against Man United led to a double error such was his determination to make up for the first error. That’s determination to right a wrong. We all know over determination can lead to two wrongs but I forgive when there’s 100% dedication and commitment to the cause by the player. My belief in his ability to shift from right to centre back is one that comes from watching Thuram make a similar move from right back to centre back while playing for Juventus. Like Sagna, Thuram was a top quality right back, quick in the tackle, strong and his reading of the game was fantastic. All the skills which are necessary to make the move to centre back.
Keeping this attitude and player in the squad can only be a positive for Arsenal for next season. This season has been a very tough one and we’ve no one to blame for its toughness as it was caused solely by ourselves during the early part of the season. But look at our form since January. If we can continue with this newly found grit and determination into next season, coupled with a few offensive additions I believe we are looking at an Arsenal side capable of challenging for the title. In my view, Sagna could be a big part of this. No Arsenal fan can forgot thee defining gritty and determined goal of the last couple of seasons!
BOOMPH! What a header! What's that? From another angle you say? No problem!
Shiver me timbers! That was a goal!
Obviously it is all dependent on what the man himself wants but he's been a fantastic player for us since 2007 and I'd show the same determination to keep him as he has shown on his right wing since he first sprinted up it