Sagna tells defence to step up


LONDON, August 3- Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna says his team-mates must cut out the defensive mistakes if the Gunners are to end their five-year wait for silverware.Arsene Wenger’s side continued their preparations for the new campaign by finishing first in the four-team pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, but Sagna was unhappy with the way they conceded sloppy goals in matches against AC Milan and Celtic.

Wenger was also critical of the sloppy defending that allowed Alexandre Pato to score a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Milan, while Celtic struck twice late on after trailing 3-0 as the Arsenal back-four went to sleep.

The Gunners boss is still on the lookout for a new defender to back up Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, with Germany’s Per Mertesacker and Everton’s Phil Jagielka mentioned as potential targets.

And French international Sagna knows it is essential to cut out the kind of mistakes which proved costly last season – especially in a key match at Wigan when they squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2.

"The job is done (in the Emirates Cup) but we just need to work because we had some bad points as well," Sagna said. "We need to be more consistent because we were leading 3-0 and we only won 3-2.

"If you remember what happened last year against Wigan, we need to keep playing. Maybe we stopped playing because we thought the game was too easy, but that is football now.

"We let Celtic back in because we stopped playing, so we must stay focused. We need to talk more on the pitch and stay together. We need to look forward and work on what we have to."

While Arsenal have defensive issues, Sagna is confident Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh, a free transfer signing from Bordeaux, will make a big impact after his impressive display and cool finish against Milan.

"He can make the difference because he is a good player, can keep the ball and score great goals," Sagna said.

"It will be very important to have a player like that in front of goal.

"I will trust him with the ball because he can keep it quite easily and it will give us help to come and support him."

Meanwhile, Wenger confirmed that unsettled captain Cesc Fabregas and Dutch forward Robin van Persie will both miss next Saturday’s friendly against Legia Warsaw in Poland.

Fabregas, linked with a move to Barcelona, and Van Persie will only return to training this week after long holidays following their efforts at the World Cup.

Alex Song will also be sidelined again due to injury and Wenger is unsure if he will risk Denilson and Abou Diaby as they return to fitness.

"Against Legia Warsaw you will see the players we saw in the Emirates Cup," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"I believe Song will be short (on fitness), you have a little chance to see Denilson and a very little chance to see Diaby. But Fabregas and Van Persie will not be ready."