With Bacary Sagna joining the Champions of the Premier League on a three year contract, Manchester City can proudly boast that they have the best depth in the right back position in the entire country if not the world. With Bacary Sagna joining Manchester City on a free transfer, there are a few concerns about who will be the first choice at right back next season. While this is indeed a pleasant problem to have, we at Soccersouls decided to do a comparison of both the players to decide who would fit in the right back slot more.
First off, let us have a look at which player is better in the air. According to squawka, Bacary Sagna is by far in the lead having won 62% of aerial duels while Pablo Zabaleta is stuck at a paltry 46%. Again according to squawka, the former Arsenal man is leading in the number of clearances made as Pablo Zabaleta’s average of 2.95 clearances per 90 minutes pales in comparison to Bacary Sagna’s 5.80 clearances per 90 minutes.
However Pablo Zabaleta has the definite edge over Bacary Sagna when it comes to tackles. Zabaleta’s 2.69 tackles per 90 minutes is far superior to Sagna’s 1.32 tackles per 90 minutes. Also Zabaleta has shown his worth to the Manchester City side by recording over 2 interceptions a game while Bacary Sagna is stuck on 1.5 interceptions a game. Thus basically while Sagna edges Zabaleta on aerial duals and clearances, Zabaleta holds the edge when it comes to tackling and interceptions.
However when we take a look at the offensive quality of the two players, there is no doubt that it is Pablo Zabaleta who stands out. Having made 21 chances in the entire Premier League season, Sagna is trailing Zabaleta’s creating 32 chances in the course of a season by a long way. While both have scored the solitary goal this season there is no doubt on Pablo Zabaleta being the more prolific assist maker of the two. Also another aspect which will go in favour of Pablo Zabaleta is the fact that he is a couple of years younger than Bacary Sagna.
Also let us look at the finer quality of the players without the statistics for once. While both are very fine players Bacary Sagna has usually been wasteful when it comes to the delivery of crosses from the right while Pablo Zabaleta is usually right on the money when it comes to crossing and is generally considered as the best attacking right back in the league. Also add the fact that Pablo Zabaleta has been playing in the Manchester City side for 6 seasons and is part of the team chemistry there and indeed it is difficult to look beyond Zabaleta to start at the postion of right back next season.
However Bacary Sagna will no doubt keep him on his toes and provide fantastic competition on the right and will provide Manchester City fantastic depth in the defensive department. All in all not much to choose between the two players but Pablo Zabaleta wins this particular race just by a fraction.