Sagna sure Arsenal can catch Villa

We never doubted strikers and knew goals would come, says Gunners defender
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The Independent Football

Bacary Sagna is adamant the Arsenal players never lost faith in their strikers to deliver goals despite the recent drought. And Sagna believes Arsène Wenger's team are capable of catching fourth-placed Aston Villa and securing a Champions League spot.

The Gunners had gone four games without a league goal – their worst sequence for 14 years – before Nicklas Bendtner struck twice in a 3-1 win at bottom club West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.

It was the perfect game for Arsenal to rediscover their scoring touch as again Albion shot themselves in the foot with some dreadful defending.

Sagna said: "It is a big confidence boost because we have drawn too many times and we wanted to look forward. It has been quite hard but we have never given up and kept working hard in training and now we have three points on the board.

"We played as a team and we scored goals and when we score goals, we can win games. It was a tough game because, although West Brom are bottom, they're quite a good team and like to play football. To be fair, the players have not talked about the lack of goals.

"We trust each other and we never spoke about the situation. I think everyone at the club trusts the forwards and, against West Brom, they did their job. I hope the goals will keep coming. I hope the victory and scoring goals will help us psychologically.

"We have to take everything positive. We had to think about the West Brom game. Now that is gone, the next game is another game, and we have to stay focused and we have to work."

Sagna added: "Is the pressure on Villa? I don't know. At the moment we are only looking at Arsenal. We try to play game after game and give everything and get maximum points and then see where we are. But we can catch Villa if we play well. We have played quite well in the last few games. We have just not scored."

Sagna's defensive cohort at Arsenal, Johan Djourou said: "I think we knew we have the quality to score goals. It's not as though the chances were not there. It was just the finishing that wasn't there. In the six-yard box we were a bit rusty but against West Brom we showed we have good composure.

"It was very good for Nicklas Bendtner to score a couple of goals. You know people have been criticising some of the team but he is responding well and I think today he showed how good he really is. The fans got behind him too." Djourou added: "Of course, the pressure is on Villa now because we want to get that fourth place. That's our aim.

"It's true that we know how to handle the pressure because we have been in this kind of situation before. We were adrift a little bit before [in 2006] and came back at the end to get that fourth place. Villa are new to that but they have a good team so we have to be careful. But I think we have a chance to get that place."

Albion manager Tony Mowbray admitted his side's knack of conceding soft goals was affecting the performance of the whole team. Albion have now conceded 17 goals in the last six league games and look doomed to the drop unless they tighten up in defence.

Mowbray said: "Before games, the dressing room is good and ready for the game. Their belief is good. We expected to be fighting for our lives so it is not that we are shell-shocked that we're down there struggling. The team is ready for every battle that comes.

"But you concede the type of goals we have been doing and it knocks the stuffing out of your team, out of your quality footballers, the boys who want to get on the ball and turn and stick a nice pass into someone. Everything gets a bit tighter, your vision gets a bit closed and the pressure is on and the crowd aren't so supportive of every good pass and there are a few murmurs and you don't want the ball quite as much.

"That all comes because of the nature of the goals you concede."

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