Mathieu Debuchy admits Bacary Sagna is a hard act to follow as he looks to make his mark at Arsenal following his compatriot’s departure for Manchester City after seven years at the Emirates.
The summer signing from Newcastle has enjoyed a steady start to life in North London starting all five competitive games this season as well as picking up a medal in the Community Shield as the Gunners ran out 3-0 victors over his predecessor’s new side.
Ahead of another meeting with the reigning Premier League champions Debuchy spoke about his relationship with Sagna, explaining that their long-standing tussle for a place in Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus squad has brought them closer together.
“Bacary is a good friend of mine, we have been in touch for many years now as we have been playing together in the national French team,” Debuchy told Arsenal.com.
“I’ve known him for a long time, in spite of the competition we have a very good relationship. I like him a lot, we have a very good relationship and I wish him the best with Manchester City. I know he is going to perform well there, good luck to him, except on Saturday!
“I’ve known him for a long time, in spite of the competition we have a very good relationship, everything is cool between us. It hasn’t been easy to replace Bacary because he performed very well here. Our games are quite similar and to take over from him is not going to be easy, but I am going to give my best to the club.”
It’s not yet clear whether Sagna will line up for City at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon, but either way, Jack Wilshere says he’s looking forward to a reunion with the former fan favourite.
“He was a close mate,” Wilshere told Arseblog News yesterday at the BGC Charity Day.
“He was with me as long as I have been at the club, which is 16 years. He always put an arm around me and was really influential when I was coming through as a kid. I’m looking forward to seeing him.”
In other news Theo Walcott is looking forward to making his Arsenal return so he can help Mesut Ozil demonstrate his full potential.
The England winger is three weeks away from full fitness after sustaining an ACL injury in early January and believes his pace, combined with that of new boys Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, can help the World Cup winner replicate the form he demonstrated at Real Madrid.
“When [Mesut] was at Real Madrid and he had Di Maria, Ronaldo and Benzema, three very pacy guys, the number of assists he got was absolutely key,” he told Arsenal Player.
“It’s a massive season for him personally and I think the likes of us guys will help him tremendously. There’s a lot of pacy guys in this team now and we’re thinking that’s what we might have lacked last year, especially when I got injured – there weren’t as many players to get in behind [defences]. Defenders then double up on you, which creates space for other people.
“You have us bombing on and then you have the likes of Aaron, Jack, Mesut and Rosicky, who can all spot a pass, so that’s only going to help the team. We’ll be very dangerous on the counter-attack.
“It’s very exciting for Arsenal fans to see. I think it will maybe bring back the years where we were so successful. It’s all about pace now and that’s what you need in a team and we have bags and bags of that.”