Sagna Calls For Focus On The Tasks Ahead

How the world seems brighter with Villa’s run of indifferent form continuing last night with their defeat to Manchester City. Rather like the accusations being made about Barcelona at the moment, you wonder if Villa had begun to believe their own hype and felt set fair for a top three spot?

A long way to go but you would fancy Arsenal to have turned fifth into fourth place by the end of March with the way the fixtures have panned out. After that, nerve comes into it and perhaps the lessons of last season will come through. The visit of Chelsea and those to Old Trafford at the tail end of the season may yet prove to be decisive yet curiously they do not provide me with any fear for the squad has shown that they can perform in the big games, it is the run-of-the-mill fixtures that have been problematical.

Bacary Sagna is not taking anything for granted though:

We have not been waiting for this kind of night, we just want to take points and that is it. We have to take everything positive out of the game, think about it but then it is gone. We have to stay focused and we have to work.

Focus is exactly right. With Champions League and FA Cup fixtures to squeeze into this month, as well as the Premier League, the team that plays on Sunday needs to get the job done at the first time of asking. A replay at Turf Moor in a fortnight is not going to be a welcome addition to the fixtures although such an event would be remarkably similar to 2005/06 season. Looking at the draw – Burnley and potentially, Hull City at The Emirates – failure to reach the semi-final would be a criminal waste of this opportunity. To achieve that, Wenger will need to keep his tinkering to a minimum.

Back to Sagna. In a season that has been notable for the failure of the ‘big name forwards’ to live up to their hype, it seems to me that a defender or goalkeeper would be a likely winner of one of the Player of the Year awards. If that is the case, Sagna could stand alongside the United players nominated and not have any worries about being considered inferior. Looking around the Premier League, Sagna is the most consistent right back playing in England at the moment. His attacking forays may be more muted than last season – in keeping with the rest of the side – but he has yet to be given a torrid afternoon or evening by any attacker since joining Arsenal.

The squad is returning to some semblance of order with injured players, excluding Rosicky, expected back by the end of the month. There will be those who drop out for the odd game here and there, such as Kolo Toure whose absence will be confirmed this afternoon, but generally, it will be the first time this season that Wenger has his strongest players available at the same time.

Good news indeed but before full advantage can be taken of their returns, there are some tricky hurdles to overcome in the knockout competitions which present the only realistic opportunity for silverware. Focus, it seems, will be as much a byword as goals.

’til Tomorrow.

181 thoughts on “Sagna Calls For Focus On The Tasks Ahead

  1. One last post for today, a song for the optimstic Gooners:

    To the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down:

    “Villa’s bridge is burning down.

    Burning down,

    Burning down.

    …Rept

    To the Gooners!”

  2. Fuck me – i don’t know what they showed on TV then…

    Everyone around me was saying the same thing, a serious lack of effort being shown by Emmanuel.

    Very poor.

    The TV editing team must be mates of his!

  3. Paul N, no need for a Mr (at least for me)…..Respect is a mutual thing. Some people command it by their actions & words and some don’t.

  4. Undervalued, respect.

    I agree with your general point G4E but there should always be respect for people until they give you cause not to. Howard springs to mind.

    Paul N uses the honorific ‘Mr’, in the same way that I call strangers ‘Sir’ when I speak casually to them. When they hold a door open for instance.

    We could certainly do with more respect in the world. More respect for Arsenal certainly.

  5. As for you Pb, you whippersnapper, You are grounded.

    Oh. Well in that case your lingerie mags. are confiscated.

  6. Matty 5.38

    Nice stuff

    I agree with Frank`s earlier comment that in the past someone like Eboue would have been laughed at by the fans (a-la John Jensen) & that supporters today have lost their sense of humour.

    Personally, everytime the grinning loon hits the corner flag with a shot I p*ss myself.

  7. I am afraid so Paul. Yet, people are subject to attack by strangers for ‘dissing someone’.

    I must be careful here though, or Big Al will come on here telling me that I hate young people.

    Carlsberg? I do feel sorry for Americans, having only lager to drink. Personally, I am drinking a pot of my cider.

  8. I’d do something about that Paulie. It’s very unpleasant for those around you and could be a sign of a weak bladder.

  9. I drank Carlsberg in England CBob (13% Alcohol), and yes I don’t like our beer because it only has like less than %4 alcohol. You can drink 6 and nothing happens.

    Have you ever been to America CBob after the revolution? 🙂

    I have a feeling you still see us living in pre-civilization? We have everything you can imagine and also what you can’t even imagine.

  10. “….want to know how Andrei Arshavin has kept hi fitness through the Russian winter…..easy….”

    Thanks for the laugh Frank!

  11. .. to be honest, I barely remember the Revolution. Cromwell had his good side though even if he did kill the old king…

  12. Young Guns against the Tiny Totts. Great game in prospect. Looking forward to seeing them play.

  13. I was kidding Mr. Bob, I hope you’re not THAT old 🙂

    When is the game? I need to go get my lunch quick.

  14. @ Gunner4Ever
    The game’s on right now. Spurs have scored against the run of play.

    @ Consolsbob
    Well, they say if you can remember the Revolution, you weren’t really there…

    @ Matt, QoS

    You can probably make it work either way. All we can be sure of is that Wenger thinks that there needn’t be a clear distinction of roles between the central midfielders. He has been grooming Diaby for a central midfield role alongside Cesc or Denilson for a couple of seasons now, and Diaby is definitely not a holding midfielder.

  15. You are right Fun, I wasn’t really there.

    This debate about midfield is just odd. Wenger will play the side that best suits the game we want to play given the opposition and our requirements. For us, when everyone is fit, that means perm any 4 from those available.

    Who would those who posit the need for a ‘defensive midfielder’ leave on the bench? they can’t all play all of the time.

  16. thanks CBob…got my lunch, hopefully I don’t throw up watching the tiny spuds running around.

  17. G4E,

    Good on ya defending the beer over here. CBob, I just finished a keg of Arrogant Bastard Ale from the Stone Brewing Company, Sand Diego, California. 7.2% alcohol by volume, nice dark ale. Fantastic beer…Goes very well with an Arsenal victory at 9am in the morning.

  18. Finished eating, Frank ?

    If the Tiny Tots are winning, may as well finish my ‘joke’… [ It’s German in origin btw, and as a French Satyr, am not sure i have fully understood the psychological… – oh shut up!!

  19. Never trust an English ale with Olde in the title, friends..
    Fake as an Irish pub in Papua New Guinea..

    (If it’s old, it tells you the date). Lord Reith, are you smiling now ?

  20. Well Gris Gris, I’m glad that you have a decent pint but I think that G4E didn’t actually defend Americans beer. You like a beer buzz in the morning, eh?

    As long as we are all enjoying himself although, personally, I’ll take whatever Pb is on.

  21. I think 7.2 is a bit strong for beer. Gets a bit sweet and malty above 5.5.

    Most beers I drink are around 4, 4.5. More hops than malt.

  22. Consols.. agree.. or gets oily when one moves up into the 8 / 9 area..

    PZ: Was just cooking back there and realized how witty (the pun) you are.. If you’re this sharp in English, heaven help your Italian friends! 🙂

  23. I’m actually not a beer drinker and I get full very fast if even drink 16oz bottle of water. That’s why I don’t like low vol % beer.

    The reason I was drinking Carlsberg in England is because it had %13 vol. Which means I can drink one, and I’m all nice.

    This beer discussion is getting a bit cranky for my taste. I’m going to drink water instead, and just in case anybody didn’t know….we do have water in A-mer-ica. 🙂

    How is the game going?

  24. THIS BOARD WILL NEVER SACK HIM HE MAKES THEM TOO MUCH MONEY ITS NOT A PANIC REACTION TO CALL FOR HIS HEAD,HE WAS THE ONE TELLING US THAT THIS SQUAD IS GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN TROPHIES, READ THE SOUND BITES ON THE WEB TONIGHT AFTER HIS PRE MATCH INTERVIEW HE HAS TAKEN US AS FAR AS HE CAN, WHY THE F*CK SHOULD WE WAIT ANOTHER TWO YEARS FOR THIS TEAM CESC WILL F*CK OFF NEXT YEAR AND I DONT BLAME HIM, HE GOES ON ABOUT THE GREAT YOUNG PLAYERS BUT VELA, RAMSEY ARE ALREADY BETTER THAN HIS LOVE CHILDREN DENILSON, SONG AND THEY CANT START A GAME

    F*CKING TIRED OF HIS BULLSHIT EXCUSES, ROMA NEXT WEEK COULD BE REALLY EMABARASSING, F*CKING TIRED, WORKED ALL DAY AND GOING BACK TO WORK TOMORROW

  25. Did you hear our Young Guns after the game? Professional, confident, and Bouldy? He was so proud.

    Class, pure class.

    We are the Arsenal and we are the best,

    we are the Arsenal and f*ck all the rest.

  26. CB: Emmanuel Thomas has played in all positions (except keeper). He even went to centre half at the end tonight.

    A very good prospect indeed.

  27. Arsenal youths done good – Mrs Emmanuel-Thomas must be so proud of her boy. Good football player and very articulate young man.

  28. Just finished reading all the posts.

    Frank thanks for the Russian dancing lessons, as someone said earlier “I nearly p*ssed myself”.

    As for PB and that enormous bosom, the thumbnail pic was enough to put you off your dinner.

  29. Frimpong was awesome – Coquelin and Jay E-T also excellent. Anyone know when the semi-final is?

  30. Coquelin is a great player he should be given a chance with first team he is still young but might get a chance next year.

  31. G4E, I have never come across Carlsberg at 13% ABV! Are you sure about that? Regular Carlsberg is 3.8%, and Carlsberg Export somewhere around 5-6% I believe.

  32. Crafty, I’m pretty sure it was in England, the size of the can was double the regular size though.

  33. Consider this Arsenal fans:-

    First.

    ‘Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United’s players get more protection from referees. He also says Cristiano Ronaldo’s “arrogance” is “provocative” but wants a special committee formed for over the top tackles. (Various)’

    As reported on the BBC Sports News Site.

    Second.

    “They [FA] could create a special committee to analyse if a three-game suspension is enough or not.

    I feel that 10 matches is not enough for some of the tackles we have seen.

    If you tackle a player, anybody in the street like that, you go to jail.

    I have seen some horrible tackles this season and I don’t think the punishment is sufficient. Kevin Nolan’s tackle on Victor Anichebe then other week was horrendous.

    An accident can happen when two people go for the ball but it is very rare. What I see is that guys go into the tackle to hurt the player. There is not sufficient punishment.

    Maybe we need to be stronger with our own players but sometimes you see the players make horrendous tackles and then say to the referee, ‘What’s wrong there?’ You think, ‘my friend, touch your head because you have completely lost touch with reality’. It is unbelievable but they know what they have done.

    It concerns me when I see someone jumping in like a mad guy as we have some players who weigh 90 kilos and can run the 100 metres in 11 seconds. If they jump in they completely destroy an opponent.

    Sometimes I feel Manchester United get too much protection and sometimes they don’t get enough and Ronaldo is a specific example of that.

    Sometimes his arrogance is provocative – and his class as well. But when a player is not protected it’s not right. When there is a bad tackle you have to be punished and get sent off the pitch.”

    What Arsene actually said.

    Spot the difference?

  34. …lying and twisting the truth are stock in trade for the press and media….bar none…..well done for highlighting that particulalr discrepancy, Cb……many blogsites and definitely many commenters are up there with the very worst hacks when it comes to fabiricating and disseminating stories….Arsenal blogsites are particularly prone to this….

  35. Spot the difference?

    Indeed, the difference is that one has been edited by a Spurs-supporting numbskull in Mihir Bose, the BBC’s current sports editor.

    Not a concern though, the media means nothing.

    What a mind-blowingly awesome clusterfuck of explosive midfield powerhouses we have ready to step up from the youth squad, eh?! Can’t wait to watch the highlights from last night’s cup game. Frimpong, JET and Wilshere are the future for England. Coquelin is the future for France. Bartley and Ayling look like some SERIOUS centre-backs, real stoppers but dynamic as well. Steve Bould has been teaching them good. F*cking hell man, we are on the rise. These Gunners are unstoppable. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas will end up captaining sides onto glory, he is a real leader. Wave after wave of Hale End talent is going to sweep over England in the coming years, this is only the start!

  36. Here is another example the headline yesteray was “Fabregas quittng Arsenal” but when I read his quotes he siad If Wenger leaves I will have to consider my future” so I would not bother too much with the media they want you to read and click on their sites and it works.

  37. I know for a fact that this time last year all of the Daily Telegraph journos were sent on a search engine optimisation course.

    How to increase web traffic that sort of thing. I imagine a lot of the media were doing the same thing.

    You can see the impact very clearly in the quality of their online reporting. Its more sensationalised (and less true) than its ever been.

  38. Blackstock “a mind-blowingly awesome clusterfuck of explosive midfield powerhouses” – poetic genius, I tried to say the same in my earlier comment but failed to “nail it” as Mrs Cole would say…..

    …and has anyone else been driven up the wall recently by Wrighty on Talksport bemoaning the fact that youth players arent given a chance at Arsenal unlike at Man U!! (I know it’s my fault for listening) This view seems to be based solely on the fact that Justin Hoyte was sold and Sagna bought. Presumably he hasnt watched any of our Carling games in recent years – or perhaps he in just being xenophobic and doesnt recognise that players like Cesc and Djourou have been at the club since they were 16. Still good to see a solid British contingent in the current junior teams.

  39. Which ones of our youth players are defensive midfielders, and which ones are just standard central midfielders? 😉

  40. No newspaper will stop the presses for reports that Ronaldo is a cheat.

    Rather like reporting that sh*t stinks.

  41. There is a deeply conservative, inward-looking streak in English press. Some Arsenal blogs are literally ‘aping’ what they read in the press.

    When it comes to sport its interesting. In the early Wenger Arsenal period, France had 300 African footballers in various divisions, England had 20, maybe 30. Most football writers in England (Simon Barnes and Frank Keating apart) seemed to have no idea of the depth of African football, and its growing effect in Europe.

    Wenger in his own way, and Arsenal in its way, have challenged the more conservative English mindset about football myths and conventions.

    The press doesn’t like it, but won’t say it honestly.

    There are many examples, but nowhere more apparent than in the myth of the English hard-man in football from a bygone era. It hasn’t helped English football in England to develop.

    Wenger is right to delve into cynical fouls and injuries. Arsenal suffers more than most because of its style and skill. Other teams are catching up with the argument and Ronaldo is one case.

  42. The 6 and 5 rule doesn’t look like being a problem does it??!

    Exactly. Some like to point and laugh that we’d get screwed over if the 6+5 rule came along. We wouldn’t be ready for it right now obviously, but does any other club in the country have this scale of young English talent coming through their ranks?

    Kieran Gibbs
    Henri Lansbury
    Kyle Bartley
    Jay Simpson
    Mark Randall
    Theo Walcott
    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
    Luke Ayling
    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Rhys Murphy
    Rene Steer
    Jack Wilshere
    Sanchez Watt
    Gavin Hoyte
    Benik Afobe
    Thomas Cruise
    James Shea
    Luke Freeman

    Surely at least 5 of these are going to make it!

    I know for a fact that this time last year all of the Daily Telegraph journos were sent on a search engine optimisation course.

    Very interesting but hardly surprising I suppose at the end of the day. They’re just a business and need to make money like any other, and with people preferring to get their news from the internet more often now, there’s less money to be made from selling newspapers. If people actually wisened up and paid more attention to their scummy tactics though, it could all backfire on them.

    poetic genius, I tried to say the same in my earlier comment but failed to “nail it” as Mrs Cole would say…..

    haha thanks. Yes Ian Wright is still in my book an absolute legend on the pitch for Arsenal but a complete c*nt off it. Seems like pretty much everyone else including the Crystal Palace bunch look at him this way too.

  43. The 6+5 rule will never happen. It’s too stupid to become policy. Even in the crazy world of football in which Sepp Blatter is head, and Myles Palmer and Alan Hansen are pundits, the 6+5 rule is stupid in conception, impossible to implement, and incapable of achieving its stated goals.

  44. “Stupid in conception, impossible to implement, and incapable of achieving its stated goals.”

    – just the kind of policy that FIFA likes to follow.

  45. Wenger is right, the Blatter proposal, 6+5 is just a recipe for mediocrity. 6+5 means that you will need at least 12 home grown players to sustain a challenge. Not only that, the irony of the Blatter proposal is that in will actually benefit the bigger clubs i.e. Manchester United and Chelsea even more because they are the only ones who can outbid the rest of the competition for the best english players. Last night I heard an interview where Blatter said that Alex Ferguson agrees with the proposal, and that it would support their youth policy. TOTAL HOGWASH RED NOSE, IT SUITS YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE BEST PLACED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

    The 6+5 is an absurd creation from 2 european anti-english anglophobes who never complained when the spanish and italian leagues were winning everything.

  46. Arsenal has done more for the development of English football than most clubs, as AW says. Because of its youth policy, its ownership policy (hope that remains), and by bringing young talent into the english game to play with english players.

    The results are there to see in the list above.

    The 6+5 rule will not happen, surely, because club football and football teams have changed so radically in the last 20 years.

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