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Arsenal player season review: Bacary Sagna

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The Short Fuse's player season review series continues today with French defender / avant-garde hair trendsetter Bacary Sagna.

Bacary Sagna is probably the finest right back in the Premier League, with the possible exception of Manchester City's Micah Richards. This maybe, though, says more about the position in the league this year than it does about Sagna, as he had a slightly below-his-usual-excellent-standard year and still was at the top. On his day, Sagna's pace and athletic ability help him if his positional awareness slips a bit, and he is able to contain most offensive players in the league on his own with little aid.

The rap on Sagna has always been his lack of offensive table-setting. Indeed, he was the main culprit behind the "launch cross after cross into the box" tactic that Arsenal employed at times this year, which is a shame, because that obscures his far more valuable offensive contributions in the short passing game, providing continuity on the right for Song, Fabregas, Walcott, and van Persie to work off of. He also contributed with a couple of goals this year, unusually for him, and they weren't exactly of the easy tap-in variety.

Sagna was involved in couple of incidents this year as well; he earned a red card against both Partizan Belgrade and against City in a regrettable head-butting incident with Pablo Zabaleta. Lee Bowyer of Birmingham stamped on Sagna and was banned by the FA for three matches.

Overall, it was a solid year for the 28-year old, and his play led to a spot on the PFA Team of the Year. The weird emphasis on crossing downplays his strengths (or perhaps highlights his weaknesses) offensively, and it's boring as heck to look at, but defensively, Sagan remains a bright spot in a sometimes dreary landscape for the Gunners. As the oldest head in the group (Squillaci aside), hopefully he can form a consistent partnership with whoever ends up starting in the middle for Arsenal next season and eliminate some of the set-play mishaps and defensive lapses.

And a few more rockets into the top corner wouldn't hurt, either.


Ted's season grade: {:)

BeltransMole's grade: B+