Name: Bacary Sagna
What a difference a year makes; especially for defender Bacary Sagna at the Etihad Stadium. This time last term; the France international was struggling for first-team opportunities behind the ever-present Pablo Zabaleta, but nowadays Sagna has the Argentine in his back pocket given the full-back’s impressive consistency this campaign.
Having arrived from Premier League rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2014; Sagna was restricted to just eight league starts for Manchester City during his debut season, making 16 appearances in all competitions for the club. But all didn’t seem lost as his switch from the Emirates Stadium was a free transfer after all.
But now manager Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to sign Sagna little over 18 months ago has seemingly gone down a treat. Although teammate Zabaleta has been plagued with knee problems this term, the Frenchman has flourished in the regular number one right-back’s absence to make the position his own.
The 32-year-old has already doubled the number of league appearances for the club by January (20), featured in every UEFA Champions League fixture for the Citizens this season and helpfully chipped in with three assists. Not bad for a free transfer finally finding his feet in Manchester.
In fact no over outfield player has played more Premier League minutes for Man City this season than Sagna (1,800), with midfielder Fernandinho in second (1,699) and fellow full-back Aleksandar Kolarov in third (1,666). Only goalkeeper Joe Hart can mirror Sagna’s feat this term having played every minute of his 20 league appearances this campaign.