Sagna Becomes Arsenal’s Latest Injury Victim
Bacary Sagna is set to miss at least the next two weeks of football after it was confirmed that he has picked up a hamstring injury.
The France international, who has been in good form so far this season, developed the problem during Arsenal’s 2-0 win over SSC Napoli on Wednesday night. After having undergone detailed scans a day later, it was confirmed that he is hamstrung.
His injury lay-off would result in him missing this Sunday’s away game against West Bromwich Albion as well as the entire international programme with France. Barring any complications, the 30-year-old defender should be fit for Arsenal’s league clash with Norwich City on October 19.
Fortunately, the Gunners have an able deputy for Sagna in the form of Carl Jenkinson, who is now likely to assume defending duties on the right side of coach Arsene Wenger’s backline.
Sagna will have quite a company on the sidelines as Yaya Sanogo, Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski are already there nursing their respective injuries.
Carragher Praises Arsenal Backline
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes that while Arsenal FC’s attackers are deservedly stealing all the headlines these days, some credit should also be given to their defenders, whose contribution to the club’s impressive form is going unnoticed.
In his column for Sky Sports, the retired centre-half wrote: “All the focus has been on the likes of Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, but in the game at Swansea at the weekend, the defenders were under a lot of pressure and they dealt with it really well.They were never out of control and on Tuesday night in the Champions League they never gave Napoli a sniff.
“They had a lot of criticism after the first Premier League defeat at home by Aston Villa and they were bad goals. But as a defensive unit they’ve really come on and they are the unsung heroes really.”
He heaped individual praise on the Gunners left-back Kieran Gibbs but wasn’t too impressed with the goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
He further said that when individually evaluated, Arsenal defenders may not be the best, but they certainly form one of the most potent units together. The 35-year-old footballer-turned-pundit stopped short of backing Arsenal to win the Premier League title but did say that they can at least be decent challengers.
Neville Discusses Key Gunners
Gary Neville – another one of former Arsenal foes and current Sky Sports pundit – has presented his views about the North London club’s brilliant start to the new season and their in-form players.
Considering the fact that he is a Manchester United captain, Neville was very respectful when he said: “I’ve always thought Arsenal had character, particularly over the last few years coming back from what looked like difficult positions and qualifying for the Champions League.”
About the Gunners’ defensive unit, he said: “This season they have Mathieu Flamini and probably the strongest back four they’ve had for a while. I think when you dig beneath Arsenal’s squad and you lose a couple of those players it gets a lot weaker. Those five are the key players to keep fit over the next few weeks.”
He then discussed Arsenal’s most improved players this season – Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey. He also advised coach Arsene Wenger to manage Giroud with great care as he is the only player whose proper understudy he doesn’t have.
When the time came to discuss the Mesut Ozil, he added: “He’s been good and I think we’ll see more from him [especially after Tuesday night’s Champions League performance] but the best is yet to come. I think he’s a fantastic player and the best player to sign to the Premier League in summer and there was a lot of money being spent – he’s a genuine world-class player.
“At moment in the Premier League he’s been slightly overshadowed by Ramsey and Olivier Giroud who are obviously having a really good run of form. He’s bedding in to a good period for Arsenal who are playing well. When we see the best of him it’s going to be something special.”
Arsenal Target Bakkali to Extend PSV Stay?
Arsenal FC’s hopes of signing PSV Eindhoven starlet Zakaria Bakkali have suffered a major blow after reports emerged that he is set to sign a new deal with his Eredivisie club.
The 17-year-old Belgian winger, who has been compared to his much established countryman Eden Hazard, is a rumoured transfer target for coach Arsene Wenger. Other Premier League giants such as Chelsea and Manchester City also hold an interest in his services.
His current PSV contract still has less than two years on it, but talkSPORT claim that he will be offered a fresh five-year deal when he turns 18 in January. It would make his admirers’ task of luring him away from the Netherlands a bit more difficult.
It is pertinent to mention here that Bakkali is the youngest player in Eredivisie history to score a hat-trick. He did so at the start of this season in August while playing only his second league match for Rood-witten.