Arsenal's history is littered with top-class right backs from Pat Rice to Lee Dixon and Lauren. Bacary Sagna looks to be cut from the same cloth.

The French defender has been one of the shining lights of Arsenal's season, shoring up the back four with his uncompromising tackling while complementing the attack with darting overlaps and pinpoint crosses.

Even the finest overseas imports - Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry among them - take time to find their feet in English football but Sagna has slotted in seamlessly. His instant impact has even taken Arsène Wenger by surprise.

"For me Sagna, although not a lot of people talk about him, has been tremendous since he has come here," said the Arsenal manager.

"He adapted very, very quickly not only to the technical level but also to the way we want to play the game, and as well to the physical aspect of the game.

"He seems to just pop up naturally like he has played forever in this league and that is great credit to him. Emmanuel Eboue has done extremely well also on the right flank and they make a good combination.

"It is very difficult to predict how players will settle in," added Wenger.

"At the start of the season, I thought I will give him six or seven months but he just looked to have improved very quickly and adapt very quickly. It is a complete surprise to me because I didn't expect him to have so many appearances so early on."

Sagna was widely regarded as French football's most consistent right back when he left Auxerre for Arsenal. He is already challenging for the same accolade in England.

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5 Dec 2007