By News Team
2nd September 2021
Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna believes the club need to block out negativity and remain positive to kickstart their season, while finding a way to stop conceding “easy” goals against teams.
The Frenchman admits it’s been tough to watch his club start the Premier League season with three defeats and no goals scored. However, he believes that football can be a simple game and by eradicating mistakes and working on defensive frailties, the club will see noticeable improvements in their performances and results.
“You can’t concede the types of goals that Arsenal have recently,” Sagna told William Hill. “You have to scare the attacker and the offensive lines, and at the minute it seems that everything teams do they can get past the Arsenal defence. They conceded so many against Manchester City, and Chelsea created chances easily. Right now, they have to stick together and with each other, and give a little bit of extra physicality to make them strong again.
“It’s all about confidence at the moment for Arsenal. It makes up a big part of someone’s performance. When you hear so much criticism around the team and the performances, there’s only negative energy and you have to get rid of this. You have to form a bubble amongst the club and remain positive. Of course, it’s disappointing to see the team lose these games, but every team will drop points and now it’s time for Arsenal to start winning. I believe it will come.
“Now they are on the international break, I think they can be working to look at what they can improve on defensively from the games and closing the gaps between the lines.”
“As an ex-player and as a fan now, I am not pleased with how the games have finished, especially the first game (against Brentford),” Sagna added. “Against Chelsea and Manchester City, they just faced better teams. There’s no shame about it.
“I’m more disappointed to see them lose against Brentford. It was the first game of the season, and some players were not as sharp as they are now. The desire was a bit disappointing, as the first goal was a bit too easy. As a defender, you don’t want to see that. Now they have to react.
“It’s more important to see them lose against Chelsea because it was a home game and they were bullied, which was disappointing. Regarding Man City, Arsenal were playing 10 versus 11 against the best team in the league, so I’m not surprised to see them concede so many goals. They have to put this behind them, and I think the international break will be good for them.”
Arsenal can’t be criticised for their willingness to spend in the transfer market, after recruiting six players and spending over £150m in the latest window. Sagna believes that while they might struggle to attract the best players possible with no Champions League football, the players who do join will see how special the club is to play for.
He said: “For me, I know how it feels to wear the Arsenal shirt and it will always be appealing. For someone who doesn’t know the club, they just see negative press and negative events and they maybe see a team who doesn’t fight to be in the Champions League. Right now, I don’t think they are ready for that (the Champions League) yet, and it will come in time but at the moment they are building from nowhere and it’s a long process. But it will happen.”
During the window the Gunners replaced right-back Hector Bellerin, who left for La Liga side Real Betis, with Bologna defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. While Sagna admits he hasn’t seen much of the player, he had some key advice for the Japanese international.
He said: “He has to play with his heart, at a club like Arsenal. I believe he was highly rated in Italy, and he has quality, and is one of the best in the country. I would always advise someone to play with their heart. You can always compensate when you play with desire. Determination is key, and at times when I wasn’t at my best, I always gave an extra 10% and I think this is why I was praised. If he has no fear and does this, then I’m sure he will shine.”