By Chris Harris
Bacary Sagna believes he will be a better player for his injury lay-off because he learned so much while watching football from the stands.
The right back broke his leg at Tottenham in October and made his eagerly-awaited comeback against Aston Villa last weekend before completing 90 minutes against Bolton on Wednesday night.
Sagna admits he went through some difficult times during his enforced four-month absence but the 28-year-old tried to turn his negative experience into a positive one by studying the game he loves.
"I’ve watched many games, Arsenal and others, and when you’re standing with the crowd it’s totally different," he told Arsenal Player.
"You can see open spaces that you can’t when you’re on the pitch because the angles are different. What looks easy when you’re watching a game is often more difficult on the pitch, and you realise why supporters get nervous when you do certain things. I think I understand that more now.
"I always look at other right backs, what they do well and what they don’t, so hopefully I’ve picked up some new things for my game too."
Sagna the player became Sagna the fan during his rehabilitation but those roles were reversed again when the Frenchman made an emotional return in the FA Cup.
"I was still excited about it all and came to every home game [while I was injured]," said Sagna. "I’ve been supporting my team passionately - I remember the Chelsea away game, it was just crazy and I was desperate to be celebrating with my team-mates at the end.
"It was quite a long time out and you go through many states. You have to accept the injury first of all, and after that you have to work hard to come back. I’ve done that and am very glad to be back with the team again.
"The reception I got [against Aston Villa] was amazing, just amazing. I was not expecting everyone to give me a standing ovation, but it gave me confidence straight away. As long as I’m playing for Arsenal I’m very happy, and I will always give my best for this team.”
Read an extended interview with Bacary in Saturday's Official Matchday Programme. Click here to subscribe.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source