Thoughts On Sagna’s Poor Form – Time For Jenkinson To Step Up?

By on April 30, 2013

After another below-par display from Bacary Sagna against Manchester United on Sunday, Arsenal blogger ‘Gooner Daily’ looks at whether it’s time to drop the Frenchman in favour of Carl Jenkinson.

Bacary sagna

Sagna: Time up?

Being a right back requires a lot of attributes that make up an entire package. Firstly, he must have reserves of stamina to help him get up and down the pitch, balancing attacking and defensive play. He must possess a decent cross on him to supply the attack with ammunition, his work rate must be second to none, an efficient tackler and his positional awareness must be top-notch.

In the beautiful game, many footballers ply their trades in this coveted position that has been marauded by legends like Cafu, Gianluca Zambrotta, Lee Dixon, Gary Neville among others. In the present day, you can’t look any further than the likes of Philip Lahm, Maicon, Pablo Zabaleta, Dani Alves, Stephan Liechsteiner, Rafael, who on their days, are forces to be reckoned with.

At Arsenal, we have had the opportunity to witness fine athletes play in the traditional No. 2 position and the first Gunner I watched in this position was Dixon. When his era passed, Lauren Etame-Mayer did his thing down the right before paving the way for a young cult hero, Emmanuel Eboue.

In 2007, Arsene Wenger went to a familiar hunting ground to pluck off an unearthed Bacary Sagna whose debut campaign was so successful that he won a place in the 2008 Team of the Year. This model for consistency had set the standards for himself and the Gunners believed that he was the real deal.

Leg break

As the seasons passed by, Sagna was synonymous with first team action and continued to flourish as well as maintaining his optimal fitness levels. But in rather unfortunate circumstances, the fullback suffered a horrific leg fracture in the ground of the Old Enemy, sidelining him for a considerable chunk of the campaign. To add to Arsenal’s woes, his replacement, Carl Jenkinson, was nursing a back injury.

After some rigorous rehabilitation, Sagna made his comeback only to suffer another broken leg against Norwich towards the end of last season, missing Euro 2012 in the process. Lille fullback, Matt Debuchy (recently joined Newcastle) deputised in his stead and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the tournament.

Sagna wasn’t to feature in competitive action till Autumn, but he grabbed a place in the back pages when he voiced his frustrations about the sales of RVP and Alex Song, which led to speculation that he was next in line to join the world-famous Arsenal exodus. Coupled with the fact that his contract runs in 2014, the media vultures continued to add fuel to fire, linking him with a move to oil moneybags, PSG.

After some Under-21 outings, Sagna made his return to the delight of the Arsenal faithful but with Jenkinson hitting top gear, many fans had hoped that the youngster would give the Bac a run for his money.

Lack of form

This season, Sagna has become a complete shadow of the player I once labeled as the football S.I. Unit for consistency. Sagna has been below-par throughout the campaign and he has capped it off with some appalling displays marred by torrid crosses and shameful schoolboy errors.

In Arsenal’s away encounters against Everton and Southampton, Sagna was culpable for the goals conceded courtesy of some sloppy passes that were intercepted by the opposition. Sagna’s positioning has been downright appalling in some games as well, with memories of Juan Mata’s early goal in Stamford Bridge still fresh in the mind. When Newcastle visited the Emirates, Sagna made Gabby Obertan look like Ronaldinho.

Despite the shortcomings from a player so renowned for his consistent performances, Sagna’s outing against Sunderland, albeit an unfamiliar center back position, was one of his finest in Arsenal colors. He worked in tandem with Per Mertesacker and they quelled every threat Sunderland posed despite their numerical advantage.

Carl Jenkinson has been a phenom this season and has shown that he has what it takes to succeed in a club like Arsenal but Wenger’s undying faith in Sagna (understandably) proved to be his undoing when Man Utd visited the Emirates last weekend.

United nightmare

Sagna inexplicably chose to send a sloppy pass that was gracefully received by van Persie. In his attempt to seek redemption, a rush of blood to his head saw the Frenchman scythe RVP inside the box, giving the ref no choice but to point to the spot.

We all know how that panned out and it’s fair to say that Sagna’s complacency cost his team dearly and he has clearly let his teammates down, which ultimately leaves the manager with a decision to make.

Will Wenger allow Sagna to have a chance to redeem himself when the Gunners visit QPR on Saturday or will the manager take a ruthless approach by benching him for Jenkinson?

This is certainly a bone of contention that would leave Arsenal fans with divided opinions but it’s glaring that the manager has to make a decision for the good of the team. Despite the fact that Thomas Vermaelen remains one of the finest defenders in the team, he has found it really hard to displace last season’s best defender by a far mile, Laurent Koscielny.

In my honest opinion, I would like Jenkinson to return back to first team action with Sagna taking his place in the dugout. If Wenger could have the balls to axe his captain and his first choice goalie for several weeks, I don’t see this under-performing right back retaining his place.

If Sagna is relegated to the bench against QPR, a team quite familiar with such words, it would send a vivid message to the entire squad that playing for a team like Arsenal is no stroll in the park.

With the games coming thick and fast, Arsenal can ill afford another slip up, even if the last draw was achieved when they chose to shoot themselves in the foot yet again.

What do you think, should Sagna be dropped in favour of Jenkinson? Leave your opinions in the comments section below.

This article was originally published on Gooner Daily – you can follow them on Facebook here

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7 Comments

  1. atid

    April 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    If he had done it for united I would have said it was a good tactical move as jenkinson extra turn of pace and the ability to exploit the full width of our home pitch could have made the difference. Most of jenkos poor displays have been on narrow pitches and loftus rd is like a postage stamp. However with the 2 matches after being at home to emirates and the one after being on another big pitch at st james park. I would be happy to see jenko in if chamberlain came in on the right in frony of him. Put podolski back on the left where he is more effective and santi in the middle behind theo. I think that attacking 4 will murder qpr wigan and newcastle. Rosicky jack and gervinho can come from the bench if needed until giroud takes gervinhos place on the bench for the last match. Vermaelen coquelin monreal and monnone to make up the rest of the bench.

  2. bob

    April 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    his always been shocking at crossing, you would think by now he would be able to put a ball over the first defender…. its time to go!!! Jenkos time to shine

  3. Kingubong

    April 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Sagna have not done it for me. He can not cross accurately and can not overlap. I don’t see any reason for his continued first team position.

  4. matrich01

    April 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    If AW can drop his captain, what’s taking his time (o drop sagna from the team? Well may be because sagna is from france. Sagna has done us more arm than good is time to drop him to the bench and bring in C.J

  5. Mkpur Mcdonald Terzungwe

    April 30, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    There are at least 4 players that are undeserving of a place in Arsenal. Here is the chronicle: (1) Bakary Sagna (2) Aaron Ramsey (3) Abou Diaby (4) Squillaci. A school teacher will teach a lesson before giving an examination but “experience” will teach you a lesson before examination. If Wenger is a student learning under a teacher, I think it is quite fair to call him a naughty chap because he has always failed his examination. If on the other hand “experience” is his course instructor, Mr Wenger should be glad if he scores 15 on a scale of 1 to 100! Tell me what experience has not taught Mr Wenger and I will show you a coach that blatantly refuses to learn from experience! THE VERDICT: Kroenke, Wenger OUT, Usmanov, any right thinking coach IN

    • githari

      May 1, 2013 at 5:23 am

      Downright stupid comment! Wenger hasn’t failed at Arsenal by any stretch of imagination, ask the spuds. To say that Ramsey isn’t doing well is to misunderstand the meaning of the word ‘well’ , the boy is justifying his selection. Soon when Wenger leaves some morons will understand his true value .

  6. joshuad

    May 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    sagna made a mistake against man united but he’s still in the team because he’a better defender than jenkinson. how many times have you seen sagna rotate in from his rb position to make a critical challenge in front of the arsenal goal? he’s typically very focused. i don’t think he should be discarded just because he made a mistake.

    that reminds me of when wenger dropped lehmann after he made a mistake. we saw how almunia worked out. there is a difference between making a mistake and bad defending. sagna made a mistake.

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