Getting Bac To Where You Belong


Before anybody points out the obvious, I am well aware of the lyrical misquote. Quite deliberate, y’see.

Sounding the death knell on an Arsenal playing career is a bit like trainspotting. There are those who feverishly involve themselves in ticking the names on the squad list whilst most journey past in comfort, looking on in amazement at the tenacity and dedication people invest in such activities. Clipboards, notebooks and pens, cross-checking and cross-referencing, ticking the boxes whilst eating their curled cheese sandwiches and drinking their tea from the thermos that their mum’s bought them just in case it gets cold.

There are some obvious targets, players that even with an outbreak of measles in the squad still would not get a game and I am thinking of the likes of Arshavin and Squillaci. The latter is understandable, the former baffling as his career plummeted from the lofty heights to the depths it occupies now. Or the Arsenal bench as it is otherwise known.

Some players come into this frame unexpectedly. Bacary Sagna suffered for the first time in his Arsenal career, a torrid month recently. His form dropped to the level of inconsistency offered by his teammates but in the age where a scapegoat is required, the French international took one for the team and went for the position; his application was successful. Having returned from injury, you would think this might cut him some slack but it counted for nought. It was not an ordinary injury either, a repeat of one previously suffered. To think it would affect him in some way seems natural to me but then what do I know, I am just an uninformed supporter. The man himself is well aware of his own performance levels,

I’ve not been at my best, I am going to be honest — I am not very happy with myself. But this is football. This is a part where I need to get better and work more on my form. It has been a long time I’ve been working — since last summer, I didn’t really have a pre-season.

I need to breathe a bit but, at a high level, you don’t have time to breathe because you have a game every few days and you have to keep going. I am looking forward to coming back to my best.

Sagna has been the model of consistency since arriving at Arsenal, hitting the level that so frequently, so regularly that it becomes taken for granted. In a sense, he becomes almost undervalued as you take it for granted that he will turn in consistently high performance levels, almost metronomically. When those levels fall, the surprise turns to shock, throwing the world out of kilter.

Yet with Sagna, it should not be a surprise.

Breaking the same leg twice was bound to put doubts in his mind; as a defender his game will naturally be physical and involving tackling. Only against this backdrop, he was faced with the continued uncertainty around his own future with contract negotiations stalling with just over a season remaining on his current deal. For whatever reasons those talks never progressed to fruition, I am sure there is good reason rather than slack-jawed incompetence. Carl Jenkinson has progressed well but the sending off against Sunderland offered evidence that he still has much to learn. Sagna is a dependable and reliable player, well capable of filling the role of tutor and with his consistency levels, a good one as well.

That it is confidence more than declining abilities is underlined in his other comments,

When you are not at your best at this level, you feel it straight away on the pitch. You need a bit of everything to turn it around. When you don’t perform as you used to, when you have been injured for so long, you need your confidence back and I was a bit low recently.

I am just looking forward. I am a professional so I know it can happen but not for too long because everyone is waiting for me to perform well and I am looking forward to do it.

The Sunderland performance, out of position and in top form, will hopefully have that returning in abundance.

Throughout the travails, Sagna was still the first choice right back. For me, there was no doubt that he would be pencilled straight into the starting line-up. With Nacho Monreal on the left, Arsenal have dependable defenders in situ, rather than converted wingers. The modern full back needs attacking ability and to be willing to support forwards / midfielders but too often they are let down by their defensive capabilities. Santos was evidence of that. He seemed a likeable guy, popular with the squad but not the best defender in the world and right now, I think that is what Arsenal need. We need another Dixon and Winterburn pairing at full back; players who know their primary function is to defend and know how to do so. With that stability on the flanks, the confidence missing from the central defenders might return.

We shall see. In the meantime, normal service will be resumed at right back.

’til Tomorrow.

163 thoughts on “Getting Bac To Where You Belong

  1. @MKG

    That was terrible goalkeeping I have to admit, I mean he should have had that, 40 yards from goal and no movement of the ball at all. fucking terrible.

  2. i cant believe your all watching the spurs on single awareness day..
    ive booked a table for me and the should be easy shes shit at snooker..

  3. C

    Yeah, but he still hit the ball over the wall and in the bottom corner – he asked the question and the goalkeeper failed. Good free kick.

  4. @JJ

    I’m in the states mate still at work and don’t get off for another hour or so. After that I will be off for the Valentine’s Day shanigans with the misses but until then I watch futbol since I’m stuck at work.

  5. @MKG

    Yea I have to agree with you, the Goalkeeper has looked like shit though o well. Gomis has looked dangerous when given the chance and can cause terrible problems for Spuds CB’s but their midfield isn’t getting him the ball.

  6. JJ

    Been and done the obligatory bite to eat with the better half.

    Rarely watch the spuds for obvious reasons, but just thought I’d see what we’re up against in a couple of weeks and hoping for Lyon to do us a favour of some sorts.

    So far, Lyon look pretty toothless and the game is fucking boring.

    It seems like we haven’t played for ages!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. C

    I know you can’t judge a player on one game, but Gomis looks frustrating as hell. Hopefully he’ll score now 😉

  8. @MKG

    He is frustrating me, a player obviously capable of scoring goals and can easily better either CB of the Spuds but seems to not have the proper motor.

  9. I treated “her indoors” to a romantic fish and chips from the local takeaway this evening. Match that callers. 😀

  10. Errm, credit the monkey boy, but is the Lyon keeper for real?

    Again, great strike from the missing link, but everything about that keeper’s position and “attempt” of a save looked horribly wrong.

    Oh well.

  11. Ah BACARY
    one of my favorite players in the squad if not the favorite. Imo he is just a bit demoralized from cf and rvp and songs loss.
    He plays with total heart and he wants to see it come to fruition. He has had it with these exodus years after year. If this squad does well there is a good chance he will stay and that would make me very happy.
    Rvp deserved a yellow the way he was playing and I’m not the only person who thinks that. Some even thought he might get sent off. He calmed down considerably in the second half.
    And no one not even you can consider what we do in EPL as buying our way to a trophy. Not even close.
    Look at the transfer spend table and you will see out position as compared to others at top.
    number 18. ARSENAL
    that friend is not buying ourselves a title.we are clearly trying our hardest to earn our way to the top.

  12. Goonerkam:

    “Look at the transfer spend table and you will see out position as compared to others at top.
    number 18. ARSENAL
    that friend is not buying ourselves a title.we are clearly trying our hardest to earn our way to the top.”

    I don’t know the numbers but I am sure we are in the top 4-5 if you look at the amount we have spent on the players we have purchased. Fortunately for our bottom line we had a lot of high priced assets that we sold to balance the books. Most of the teams that are ahead of us either did not have any high priced players they could sell or they were unwilling to sell their best players. I am not sure that is something I would want to use to stake a claim to the moral high ground. Over the years nearly all our first team regulars have been purchased from the transfer market so in reality we are buying our teams. In the end I guess you can rationalize however you like.

  13. Good to see that Sagna and Ramsey are capable of being versatile, could do with a few more willing to fill in given our current defensive injuries. Still think we should have brought in another decent centre-back for cover/competition in January. This and more thoughts in my latest post at feedback appreciated

  14. BILL
    Check EPL transfer funds spent , a site dedicated for keeping track of this alone. They have data going back twenty years.
    unlike others we have never exceeded twenty to thirty range per year.
    all teams buy and sell players. Whether they want to sell or the player wants to be poached is a different debate.
    Google transfer fund spent EPL. hope it makes you think of your club a bit more highly.

  15. Most definitely the good old days as we are concerned but thought some of you would appreciate it, considering how slow this week has seemed. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s game. I have a side bet with my mate, the Spud fan, that we will score at least 3 and keep a clean sheet. He has graciously given me odds of 2-1, but every goal above three doubles my bet whereas every goal conceded doubles his. Don’t ask how we came up with this one, just know there was a LOT of alcohol.

  16. Tomorrow’s line-up that I’d like to see (on the basis that we have injuries, suspensions and Bayern on Tuesday).






    I’d also like to see Nico instead of Sagna, but that would perhaps be pushing things a touch too far.

  17. @MKG

    I do like the look of that lineup no doubt about it. I would prefer to see Kos play instead of Mert if fit so that he can get some match time prior to Bayern. I also would prefer to see Nico play instead of Sagna.

  18. @MKG

    I’m not necessarily worried pace wise as Miquel has deseptive pace, I was thinking more in order to give Mert some rest prior to the CL tie against Bayern. I would like to see Kos because he does need match time in the event that Verm or Mert pick up a knock or worse during the Bayern match.

  19. FFS this has been a long long day and without my YW fix even longer. Have to say I also missed all of you posters whether I agree with you or not.

  20. OK C
    happy belated b-day
    One day late
    Blackburn no goals allowed on fa cup??
    we might have to do something about that..

  21. @Goonerkam

    I was just giving you a hard time mate no worries.

    I say 4-1 with Giroud and maybe even Mozart getting goals.

  22. Lol. C
    I will go along with that.
    you think Holland are going to get anywhere close to this world cup final??
    U wonder if the finalists
    will be Brazil and. Spain..

  23. To be honest GK I’ll settle for a 1-0 win as I honestly believe this is our best chance of a trophy this year. Have to say at long last AW thinks the same if one looks at the teams he’s put out this year in both domestic cups compared to previous years. At long last a dose of reality!

  24. The league cup was a good chance also and I think if it was at the new HIGHBURY
    WE would have advanced. AW has for the past two years changed the makeup of the squad for the cup games under pressure from fans who are eager trophy. Any trophy. His main goals have always been the CL. AND EPL titles. I do like the FA cup for the romance and the rich old history of it. Cup games are really exiting. Real cracking games.

  25. GK much as I hate to say it any manager who changes his makeup of the squad merely to respond to pressure of fans isn’t really a good manager. I feel that Arsene really believed that we could win the C L even though most thought not. This is his stubborn streak which can be a good thing or not. Blind obedience to Arsene’s philosophy is not an option in my opinion.

Comments are closed.