By Richard Clarke
Bacary Sagna believes Arsenal learned their lessons last season and will put up a stronger title challenge this year.
The French full back joined the Club only 12 months ago and went on to have a magnificent first campaign as Arsène Wenger’s side surprised many by running Manchester United and Chelsea close for the Premier League crown.
In fact some believe that the title would have come to Emirates Stadium had Sagna not suffered a season-ending injury at Chelsea in March after his goal had put them ahead at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal went on to lose that game and their form wavered late in the campaign.
“It was not just because of me,” admitted the 24-year-old. “Everything changed, some players were playing not in their positions, and it is always difficult when you change everything.
“But it was difficult personally to see my team-mates losing games.
“This season, we will try to be wiser. We will show everyone we are still the Gunners and that we can win the title.
“We play to win everything and we will try to do it.”
According to Sagna, Arsenal are bang on course to challenge once again. And, as he has returned to sharpness in pre-season, so have his team.
“I am very happy because I have not been playing for five months, so it is great to be back here with all my mates,” he said.
“We have been getting better and better. We are playing quite well at the moment, and won on Sunday against a good team [in Real Madrid].
“We showed everyone that we can still play well, even if we have lost some players.”
One of the replacements for those departing players is Samir Nasri, someone Sagna knows well from French football. The full back believes the midfielder can more than fill the hole created by the departure of Alex Hleb.
“I think he can do it and will show everyone he can play very well,” said the former Auxerre defender. “Samir is a very good player and we are lucky to have signed him.
“I have played alongside him in the French national team. I believe he will show everyone he can play very well and will find his place in the Arsenal team.”Copyright 2013 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 5 Aug 2008