Despite drawing a blank at the top end of the pitch, Arsenal's clean sheet against Newcastle United at St James' Park proves the team are making big improvements at the back, according to Bacary Sagna.

Defensive problems undermined the Gunners' challenge for four trophies last term as a sixth successive season passed without a trophy.

However, following a sturdy showing on the opening day against Newcastle, Sagna says the team are keen to continue where they left off.

“I think it was very important to start the season with this kind of game," he said. "We were very consistent throughout and I think we were all defensively aware, from the forward players to the back four.

“Even if we had setbacks during the game we fought hard until the end, and we have to keep showing that kind of spirit if we want to win things.

"This is how we want to play all season, and it was a good start.”


Arsene Wenger's side had to endured the dismissal of new signing Gervinho and were forced to hold onto a goalless draw in the dying minutes as Newcastle smelt blood.

The club have little time to reflect on the draw with the Magpies as they face Serie A side Udinese in the first leg of the Champions League Play-Off Round at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, with the winner assured of a place in the group stage of the competition.

Wenger will be without Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie due to suspension, but new signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be available to make is first appearance since his move from Southampton.

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