Bacary Sagna is not worried by large crowds. He is set to start tomorrow's Carling Cup final and, having invited 700 people to his wedding last July, he is unlikely to be overawed by playing in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley.
"In an African family you have to be close to everyone and invite everybody," he explained. "It was a bit of a problem to organise everything, but it was a great day."
The wedding was held in Sagna's home town of Sens in Burgundy, and the community-spirited right-back was keen to share some of his joy and his patronage with local businesses.
"To me it was natural to get married in my home town," he said, "because this is where I grew up and it's where most of my friends are from. It was the natural choice. I saw it as a chance to give something back to the local people and local economy."
While he will not be entertaining quite as many guests tomorrow, Sagna does have at least 25 of his family and friends coming to Wembley to watch him. He is understandably keen to win his first trophy in English football in his fourth year at Arsenal.
"It will be massive for the players and our fans, and the club as well," he anticipated. "As a professional you always want to win something and be successful. Unfortunately, every time we have come so close to winning something and then didn't. Now we have the chance to win on Sunday. It won't be easy, but we'll give everything to win it."
There was personal disappoint-ment that they will have to do so without Cesc Fabregas. "I am really sad for him," Sagna said. "We want to win it for him, but also for the fans -- for everyone."
But, like Arsene Wenger, he is confident in Jack Wilshere's ability to inspire the team in the captain's absence. "He is not scared to play," the defender said.
Sagna also echoed Wenger's comments that a win tomorrow could give this Arsenal team the belief to go on to greater things.
"When we get close to winning something, we get scared, we stop playing," he reflected. "I hope (tomorrow) will be a good way to show everyone we can win things." (© Independent News Service)