Arsenal have more diversity without Van Persie, insists Sagna

The Gunners’ right-back feels the team relied too heavily on the Dutchman last season, and believes the side is much healthier now with goals throughout the team

Robin van Persie’s departure has helped Arsenal develop as a team this season, Bacary Sagna insists.

The flying Dutchman scored 30 goals for the Gunners in the Premier League last term before leaving for Manchester United in the summer, and has since hit 19 goals in 26 league appearances this campaign.

In his absence Arsenal are struggling to preserve their top-four status but, with Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski all having reached double figures for goals, Sagna feels the team are less predictable.

“We relied on Robin a lot last year,” he told the club’s official website.

“He was in top form, he used to score in every game and he was our main striker. Now we have some diversity. Everyone can score and everyone can be dangerous. It’s good for the team.

“I think everyone’s settled well. It feels like they’ve always been here and they can score great goals at any time. Everyone is getting more confident.”

Sagna also feels the team have become closer as a unit since the summer, fostering a collective spirit which has converted into match-winning performances on the pitch.

“We have a lot of fun [together] and everyone tries to speak English, which is really important,” he added.

“If you want to get stronger as a team, you have to communicate well. Everyone’s trying to speak better and better.”

While not yet hitting the heights achieved by Van Persie, Olivier Giroud has impressed since his summer arrival from Montpellier, and Sagna believes his countryman offers the Gunners something different.

“He’s totally different,” he continued. “Physically he’s very strong and he has a different style. We used to play with Robin, who was skilful, and previously with Adebayor, who was tall but skinny.

“Giroud is a totally different striker and we can use him differently.”

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