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The seasons impression: right back but probably not bac(k)

By Walter Broeckx

After having looked at Szczesny in goal we now move on to the right back position. A position that seems vacant for the moment. But this article is about the past but I will probably come back to the future later. If you are still with me in the present.

I think it is fair to say that Bacary Sagna was one of the stand out performers this season. Only a short time ago the ones that throw every player out after every mistake they make they were screaming for the head of Sagna. That was in the period when he came back from a second broken leg.  So at the end of last season people were saying that Sagna was past it and that we should get rid of him. I think his mistake in the Manchester United match played a big part in that.

But look at how Bacary responded to this. By playing an almost faultless season. He was strong the whole season and started in 34 matches in the PL.

What I noticed was a big energy level from Sagna. I think he felt fresh after having lost 1,5 season with his broken legs and recovering from it.  And it was visible. This was the Sagna that came to Arsenal all those years ago. Running up and down the flank and doing his defensive job when it was needed.

He was played also as a central defender at times and I think he also was rather good at it. So we had a player that could step in there when needed.  In total he played in 48 matches this season. And that is one of the highest numbers in his Arsenal career that started in 2007. And still looking as strong in the last match as in the first match.

What I do think was that he was very determined to end his contract on a high. And that could be seen in the way he played. He wanted to win something and the fact that he could do it meant a lot to him. You could see him falling on the floor at the end of the FA cup match in total delight and exhausted. Saying a prayer and his body language was that of saying: yes, finally we did it.

So I feel glad for him that he finally got that trophy at Arsenal. That it will probably have been his last match for Arsenal is something that makes me a bit sad. But when a contract ends and a player doesn’t not sign a new contract he can go where he wants. That is the rule and so Sagna will be free to go where he wants.

Of course it will hurt if he goes to the oilers. But Sagna is a professional football player who can still look forward to making a win for life moment in getting loads of money at City. People who work change from one company to another from time to time. And so do professional football players. So I cannot but say I would regret it but I can understand him. If someone would offer me double my salary now that I am entering the last 10-13 years of my professional career I probably would listen to it with a lot of attention. I think we all would.

In football terms Sagna is on the wrong side of the time scale so he knows the end is nearing. Maybe 1 good season or 2 at the best at the top and then it will go downhill.

The negative things that are sometimes said about Sagna is that he is a poor crosser. And I think there might be a bit more to it than ‘being a poor crosser’. The thing is that Arsenal do not play the cross it and head it in by a big centre forward’. Apart from Giroud we don’t really have such a big centre forward like Carroll or others in the good old days.

So I sometimes wonder that the poor crossing thing from Sagna is also not down to the fact that we don’t really have the type of players to be at the end of such a cross.  Is it the fault of Sagna that there is nobody there to put the ball in the net when he delivers a cross? It might also be down to the movement (or non movement) of the strikers that should be in the box.

I sure will miss Sagna. But this will open the door for a new player. It will mean that Jenkinson might have more playing time in the next season. And I think Jenkinson has improved a lot over the past two seasons. Still work in progress as I think he will need one more season to really make it…or not.  I think that if Wenger goes for the much named Serge Aurier it will be the confirmation that Jenkinson will remain a loyal second choice right back.

The problem for Jenkinson is that I think he still is too much a Gooner to become a great Gunner. I think he still feel the nerves supporters have before a match. And that is something he should get rid off. And I think he could do that if he would get a longer run of matches. Because when he did get a few matches I felt he improved a lot.

But what will happen at right back will be decided by the manager. Will he bring in someone new? Will he go in to the season with Jenkinson and Bellerin as right backs? Which might be a risk I think. But Wenger will know best on what to do and how to do it. But one things looks sure now for the moment: Bac will not be back next season.  Sorry that it had to end this season but that is life.

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12 comments to The seasons impression: right back but probably not bac(k)

  • oldgroover

    I’ll cut & paste myself by saying (as I did recently) that Bacary is going where he’ll be paid a reported twice his worth for three times as long as he’s worth it (what a deal if it’s true), and that even if he won’t ever be as popular where he’s going, he’ll still get an appropriate welcome from the Arsenal match day crowd. He’s not up there with Arsenal greats, but he did his stuff competently and regularly. Best of luck to him.

  • colario

    I felt for him when he made not his first but second come back from a broken leg. What determination, what strength of character he showed. It took him a few games to get back to his best. A best that he gave every match.

    Of course the AAA mouthers wrote him off.

    Thank you Bacary for playing for Arsenal. We wish you and your family well. Should you return playing for another team,we who love Arsenal will welcome you and applaud you in appreciation of your contribution to our great club.

    But we will applaud you even more if you do decide to stay. We love you.

  • bc

    Bacary sagna in numbers

    1 trophy in 7 seasons
    2 broken legs
    3 (years) the contract he has refused
    4 league goals in 213 apps
    5 career goals for arsenal
    30 (%) the size of the pay rise he has turned his bac on at arsenal

    Some player! Some loyal servant! Good luck on whatever bench you choose to sit on.

  • colario

    Could we have the link for the piece on Szczesny please. I’ve looked but failed to find it.

  • Gord

    Sorry, not the Szczesny link. But apparently Almunia has been released by Watford.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Gord. That saved me some searching 😉

  • oldgroover

    There’s a search box on the right hand side of the banner at the top and you just put the name in and……..

  • nicky

    Tony,
    An excellent end of term report on Sagna and his possible successor.
    I must confess to a liking for Jenkinson and would hope for an extended run in the first team.
    But Arsene will know whether he is ready to step up a grade now or in one more season.
    Either way he surely has a great future at Arsenal FC.

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    I don’t have a problem with Sagna leaving Arsenal. He played until his contract ran out and now he is free to go where he wants to. I do have a problem with motherfuckers like Adebayor, Van Persie, Nasri, Fabregas, and others who forced their way out with years left on their contracts. They sign a contract then these babies wanna break it to go somewhere else. Leave when your contract is over and there shouldn’t be any problem, You at least honored your contract and kept your word. Nobody should be upset with Sagna leaving the Arsenal, He kept his word so lets wish him well in his future endeavors. He comported himself like a man, Not like a motherfucker traitor like those others did.

  • Gord

    Sorry guys, this is a right back page, and all I have is goalkeepers. 🙂

    Kasper Schmeichel has signed for Leicester (4 years). So, that is one name to cross off the Arsenal list, not that he was listed by anyone that I know of.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Like BFM above and Walter too, I think we ought to remember Sagna as one who served us well and no matter where he ends up ,he’ll always be one of ours .
    By this I mean his name should not be used to beat the club with ,as when the names of Cesc , RVP, Song ,Nasri , Toure , Adebayour , and Hleb were freely brandied about (ad nauseam) as proof that Arsenal were a selling club and were not able to retain their best players .
    Instead , he should ,…nay , will be remembered as a great servant like Henry ,Pires and Bergkamp or a popular former players like Eduardo and Eboue who kept the faith .