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When will Bac be back?

By Walter Broeckx

 

In the next article about our players from last season and my expectations for them I will talk about Mr. Right Back himself, the one and only Bacary Sagna.

 

From the first time I ever saw him in an Arsenal shirt he stood out. I first and for all was impressed by his hair to be honest. Well I was for a few seconds because when he started playing he impressed me even more.

Named in a few PL teams of the season since his arrival at right back and this is saying it all. He probably is the best right back in the PL when he is fit. Ok, did I just say something wrong? Because that is where it all went wrong in the last season.

 

In the seasons before I cannot really remember him being out with an injury that much. We had the occasional bruise and bump of course but for most of the time he was fit. Most of the time being involved in around 34-35 games in a season in the PL is not bad. I also remember him being banned with a red card last season so he was rather fit one could say. Despite some attempts to kick him off the field in the last seasons. Some assaults from Birmingham that first went unpunished by the referees and that led to Bacary being so tempered about it he confronted a City player in the next game and got send off.

Because in general Sagna is not a really violent character or player. Of course he will make fouls and get some cards but he is not the one that comes sliding in from behind cutting strikers down with a knife.

 

Since his arrival he has impressed most and for all with his runs down the flank to support the attack. He has a great stamina and he just goes up and down and up and down without seemingly getting tired. When on the pitch he just works, does his best and does his thing in a quiet way. No talk from him about “being the best” and other stuff begging himself up. Just the soldier that you want to have next to you when the war starts. He will do his job.

 

But suddenly it all went wrong this season. Opinion is still divided but I don’t think Esou-Ekoto wanted to injure him when he jumped against him in the air. Sagna came down outside the grass area of the pitch and landed badly on his leg. Yes it was a foul but I don’t think anyone could predict that this foul would get him injured that bad. A broken leg that had to be operated is a risky thing. Speaking of my own experience…it ended my career. So it was a big surprise to see him already back in February to be honest.

And what a way to come back. I think he made himself half a legend when after the 5-2 against Tottenham he explained what went through his and the others players their head when they went 0-2 down. “Not at our home, not against Tottenham, not against the enemy.” And so he was the player that turned our season completely. It was his goal that not only changed our game that day but it brought a new fire and believe to the team. It was a message that said: no retreat, no surrender.

During his absence we were unlucky to see his natural replacement Carl Jenkinson also getting an injury. Leaving us with Coquelin who also got injured and at the end we almost had to get a supporter from the stands to fill in at right back. We surely realised how important Le Bac was and is for our team. I think no man more relieved than Theo when he finally saw Bacary back behind him on the field to join him in attack and to cover in when we needed to defend.

 

His second leg break was a result of the first one. Times have changed of course but when I heard after his second broken leg that Bacary was playing with a metal plate in his leg I really was very surprised. I had a metal plate in my leg for a while and when I had it in, I couldn’t kick a ball. So maybe the metal plates have changed but for me it made my bone too stiff and it couldn’t bend. And believe me a bone can bend and needs to bend a bit when you play football.  But he did and how.  He was back at his best until that fatal day against Norwich.

 

Again divided opinions about the intent from the player. I can only tell you that the reason why refs give red cards in my country when a player steps on another player his leg when he is lying on the ground is because it is dangerous and painful.  Maybe he just wanted to “let him feel he was there” by stepping on his leg, but if you are a real professional and wise player it is a thing you don’t do. Intent or not, you don’t do it.

 

The final result for Bacary was dreadful. Another broken leg, another operation and missing the final Arsenal games and for him personal maybe the worst part: missing the Euro 2012. And with him nearing 30 next season this might have been his last chance for a big tournament.  And all this from a player who didn’t pull his feet out when there was no need to plant it there.

 

Before and in between Bacary had a great season. He was as reliable as a right back can be. Strong in attack and defence, hard working as ever. Even scoring a goal. Like I said a very important goal.

 

What will we expect from him next season? Well this is a very tricky one. Breaking a leg once can happen. Breaking a leg twice is not a good thing. Will he completely recover? I surely hope so. I just like Bacary as he seems to be also a very nice person outside the football field, a loving father and husband of a very down to earth wife.

 

If he can recover I hope we will still see the Bacary from before the double leg break. But as he is getting older we have to keep in mind that this might spell the beginning of the end for him. I would hate it because I feel he still would have had a few good years for us without his injuries. I sure hope that the players who have to replace him like Jenkinson stay fit themselves. Because missing Le Bac last season (and his backups at the same time) was a very difficult thing to recover from.

 

But as I am an optimistic person I just hope that we will see Bacary running on his flank again in no time. Showing the world and the PL that since his arrival at Arsenal there has been no better right back in the PL. Come on Bac, come back and show us you can.

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12 comments to When will Bac be back?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice one ,Walter , hope to see him on the flanks soon. In the meantime I would like to see Jenkinson step up and continue his progress in the team. I was quite impressed with his play in his first season .
    Le Coq and Yenaris did well when called upon last season but maybe a short term contract for Bosingwa ? Not sure if has signed on for anyone yet .

  • Adam

    sagna has always been one of my favourite arsenal players! remember this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmkh4qKeWmI

    he has the mental strength to bounce back from this, luckily neither leg breaks were caused by horrific reckless challenges. also, clichy broke the same bone in his foot twice (once with a metal pin) and seems to be fine now. granted he was younger and it is a different bone.

    come on bac!

  • Essien

    Are u INSANE Mate? Bosingwa? Are u nuts? Chelsea released him, he wasnt called up for euro2012 wit portugal and if that isnt saying somthing, well have u heard about clubs like even Wolves, Birmingham or blackburn scrambling for his signature EVEN AS A FREE AGENT?? I would rather see Pat rice… Yes! U read right PAT RICE play there as sagnas cover than Bosingwhat??! I dont think even that jenkinson of a guy wil ever be half as good as Sagna even in his peak form and at his(carls) best! Anyway i think ITS TIME wenger go for a LONGTERM perfect replacement for my man sagna. GABRE SALASSIE- Anyone?

  • nicky

    @Brickfields Gunners,
    Agree entirely.
    While Sagna is out, I think Jenkinson will be a more than able deputy. He’s had a year at the Club and IMO he has already made his mark. I foresee a long career with us and whichever country he chooses to play for.

  • robl

    Pearce came back from a double leg break well into his 30s, so Bac should have no problem, although all breaks are different.

    I’d also like to see him move into the centre ala Petit as I think he has it all, although it’s a little crowded in there now.

  • ak47

    i will be extremely sad when Bac goes for good. but i have faith in carl and like his stride.

  • bob

    Walter,
    Yes!, for your honoring Le Bac. He is tops in my book. The 3 attacks he suffered at Birmingham, uncarded, were serious efforts by those knuckle-jaggers (among them Joey Barton, if I’m not mistaken, and the enabling ref Peter Walton, again needs re-checking) to stomp him – literally stomp on him while he was prone on the ground – and attempt to injure and kick him off the pitch. His delayed retaliation to another uncarded provocation in the next game got him slated. He has been a designated target: that’s how good and central to our prospects this man has been.

    The opposition knows this; even as not enough us have recognized it. Le Bac will not be easily replaced, no matter how many wishful assurances that commenters are providing about Carl Jenkinson (based on what sample, pray?)

    Our Le Bac is the genuine article; and as he doesn’t seek the spotlight, he has flown under our collective radars and I’m really so glad to read your ode to his great pitch skills and great strength of character.

  • bob

    Essien,
    Couldn’t agree more with you in your recognition of LeBac in the sense that the search for a serious replacement for him will be a very demanding one. (btw, a very cool avatar you’ve got there!)

  • bob

    Walter, yes, thank you for putting it the way you did: Sagna was the pivot upon which our Great Turnaround this season was executed. Le Bac = Le Pivot (of Le Grande Turnaround)!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Sagna, Mr Consistent. He is on form always when he wears Red and White. He is an Arsenal legend.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    Sagna is our no.1 but we should be making an strong effort in sorting out our future right back.

    I know he’s flavour of the month right now, but debuchy or a player of his quality and value would be the right track-this level of player would only get better. Regarding, jenks, not fully convinced yet and could we really rely on him for 5-8 games on the bounce?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    In his own way, Jenkinson is one of those players you want in the lineup, he’s young and he’s reckless but the man bleeds red & white. I’ve never seen him give it anything less than his all, in fact if he has a weakness it’s that he tries way too hard, re Walcott yelling at him to get back and defend when we were chasing the game at the Old Toilet Bowl.