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Statistical Comparison: Mathieu Debuchy vs Bacary Sagna

Kapil Sathe
ANALYST
Stats
19 Jul 2014, 09:55 IST
Mathieu Debuchy replaces Bacary Sagna at Arsenal

Mathieu Debuchy becomes Arsenal’s latest recruit after securing services of Alexis Sanchez a week earlier. After Bacary Sagna declined the contract extension and walked out on a free, the Gunners needed a proper replacement to fill in the boots of Sagna.Once Bacary Sagna’s departure was confirmed by the north London club, the club started looking for ideal replacements for Sagna. Serge Aurier, Seamus Coleman, Mathieu Debuchy etc were on Arsenal manager’s radar. Before the World Cup started, the rumours in the press said Serge Aurier to Arsenal is a done deal and the Toulouse player will join Arsenal after the FIFA World Cup 2014.

But as the World Cup progressed, the deal was stalled between the two parties as Wenger decided to go for a player who has Premier League experience to his game in the form of Mathieu Debuchy and not Serge Aurier, 23, who would’ve taken few months to settle in the London. Plus Arsenal do have Carl Jenkinson in the ranks so they don’t want two youngsters fighting for the same place in the defence. The signing of Mathieu Debuchy will guide Carl Jenkinson over the years.

Players

Bacary Sagna

Mathieu Debuchy

Age

31

28

International Caps

42

25

Goals

0

2

First International

Slovakia - France 22 Aug 2007

France - Albania 07 Oct 2011


The footballing career of both Bacary Sagna and Mathieu Debuchy follows the same path. Debuchy joined his hometown club LOSC Lille at the age of 8 while Bacary Sagna was snapped by AJ Auxerre in his mid-teens. Both players graduated through the academies and spent a decade at their respective clubs before coming to English Premier League. Sagna was named in Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionnels (UNFP) Ligue 1 team of the year in 2007 while Debuchy made the team in 2012.

Their rise over the years is impressive as both went on to represent their national team in the World’s most prestigious event. Sagna was in the team that crashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa but missed on UEFA EURO 2012 after breaking his fibula. That is when Mathieu Debuchy came to the rescue for Deschamps’ team as he received first call up for major tournament and he has continued to be a reliable performer at Right Back for France. 

Bacary Sagna joined Arsenal from AJ Auxerre in July 2007 for a fee reported around €9 million. He soon established himself as a Mr. Dependable due to his solid performances on the right flank. One of the reasons for Sagna to leave the Emirates was Arsenal management did not offer him a contract extension early while they extended contracts of their stars such as Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla. Sagna felt dejected by this behaviour and decided he will not sign a contract extension with the north London club. He became the first Arsenal player to win a trophy and leave the club following summer. In 2005, another Frenchman, Patrick Vieira won FA Cup with Arsenal and left for Juventus.

Mathieu Debuchy will settle quickly at the North London club

EPL Season 2013/14

Bacary Sagna

Mathieu Debuchy

Club

Arsenal

Newcastle United

Games

35

29

Minutes Played

3059

2491

Total Forward Passes

1022

731

Total Backward Passes

791

267

Pass Completion

85%

73%

Key Passes

19

20

Assists

2

3

Chances Created

21

23


Debuchy left LOSC Lille after spending almost 20 years from his childhood at Les Douges. During his time at Lille, he played an instrumental role in club’s first double since 1945/46 and first Ligue 1 championship since 1953/54 season when LOSC finished top off the league table and also won Coupe de France in 2010/11 season. The following season was not so good for the French club, but Mathieu Debuchy’s stock was on the rise. In the January 2013, Newcastle United signed him for £5.5 million as his former team-mate Yohan Cabaye convinced him to join the Magpies. Since then he is been the stalwart in the Geordies’ defence.

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We compare statistics of both Mathieu Debuchy and Bacary Sagna of Barclays Premier League season 2013/14 using Squawka’s Comparison matrix. Sagna and Debuchy are known for their desire to embark on long runs as well as providing through balls in the 18 yard box, as we can see from the table that Sagna is superior to Debuchy when it comes to forward passes and pass completion rate. But many Arsenal players such as Mertesacker, Arteta, Flamini along with Sagna are accused of passing backwards without piercing the midfield of opponents. In that department Debuchy is better over Sagna as he leads the table for most chances created, less backward passes, assists as well as key passes.

Discipline

Bacary Sagna

Mathieu Debuchy

Yellow/Red Cards

6/0

8/1

Fouls Suffered

27

23

Fouls Committed

23

41


When it comes to discipline, Sagna is more disciplined player compared to Debuchy. Sagna suffered more fouls as he used to spearhead from the right flank. Number of fouls committed by Debuchy is almost double of Bacary Sagna and the new Arsenal right back needs to control himself while going head to head. 

Defence

Bacary Sagna

Mathieu Debuchy

Interceptions

51

69

Blocks

7

12

Clearances

197

152

Tackles Won

45

71

Tackles Lost

34

57

Aerial Duals Won %

67.23

68.10


When we talk about a right back, his defensive statistics are the utmost important. Bacary Sagna was touted as Mr Reliable, because of his on-time clearances and not losing the ball to opposition. Apart from these two factors, Mathieu Debuchy is a better quality defender when it comes to making interceptions, blocking shots, winning the tackles and aerial duels.

The value in the transfer market for Mathieu Debuchy was low compared to Arsenal’s other targets such as Serge Aurier, Seamus Coleman or any other defender. With Champions League experience with his LOSC Lille days and English Premier League experience with his time at St James’ Park on his CV, the 28 year old is ready-made replacement for the departed Frenchman. He will gel with the team quickly due to the presence of French players and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger himself. In the end, it is not a marquee signing but he is the exact player to fit in the team to bolster their defence.

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