By Rob Kelly
Bacary Sagna says the north London derby is Arsenal’s “game of the season” - and he believes the team can take confidence from February’s 5-2 victory.
Much like the corresponding fixture last term, the Gunners head into Saturday’s match against Tottenham on a mixed run of results.
But Sagna says the players are fully aware of the importance of the game and can be inspired by their comeback against their rivals last time out.
“This is the game of our season because it’s a derby,” Sagna told Arsenal Player. “I think we’re going to have a big atmosphere so everybody is looking forward to it.
“It’s just massive. You can feel the pressure around the stadium. You can feel the pressure on the pitch. We can’t lose that game.
“It was like hell [in last season’s derby]. We were 2-0 down after 25 minutes and I started thinking, ‘No, this is impossible. We can’t lose this game’ and the atmosphere was going down as well. We could feel everyone was upset.
“But they [the fans] kept pushing. That helped a lot. When we scored the first goal, the stadium became magic and everyone pushed us even more. Suddenly we scored the second goal and it was like a movie.”
It was Sagna who scored the crucial goal to halve Arsenal’s deficit in that game, and he was delighted to make such a positive contribution.
“The best way to score goals is to bring many people into the box,” he said. “When I saw the ball going out on to the left side, I started thinking ‘OK, try to bring danger’ and the ball came back to me and I scored. It was magic.
“The only problem was I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the goal, to celebrate. We were losing and I just wanted to come back.
“When you’re 2-0 down and you score five goals in 60 minutes, you can only think about how good you are and how positive you have to be.
“[Tottenham] will have learnt from that and we have learnt from it as well. We want to take control and the best way to do it is to stay focused from the first minute.
“It changed our season because we got even more confident. From that time, we started winning games and came back.”
Watch the full interview with Bacary on Arsenal Player now.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