Liverpool’s John Flanagan and Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna are likely to line up in the same position this weekend as the Merseyside club host the Gunners in the pick of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
It will be fascinating to see how the two right-backs approach the game with a classic case of experience in Sagna against a younger and hungry player in the form of Flanagan.
We’ve taken a look at their stats in several key areas this season, judging where each will have the edge over the course of 90 minutes.
Sagna has an edge in terms of assists with Flanagan yet to get off the mark in this category. It’s not a major surprise considering Sagna’s greater experience of playing football at Premier League level for several years.
Sagna is also ahead in terms of outfield blocks but he has played a far higher number of minutes this season, which suggests there isn’t a massive difference in this area. They both get into good defensive positions and will make it difficult for the left midfielder to play fluently.
This area suggests that if Flanagan had played as many minutes as Sagna, he’d probably be ahead in terms of tackles won. He’s clearly a very hungry young player, not afraid to take risks whereas Sagna seems to prefer a more measured approach.
Sagna has won far more duels this season, which can be explained through his experience. He knows all the tricks in the book that wingers and forwards will use to try and get the better of him.
It’s no surprise that Sagna is way out in front in this category. He plays for Arsenal, one of the best passing teams in the Premier League. Flanagan has had to adjust to different defensive positions this season as well as playing alongside different centre backs.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald