Sagna: No friends in derby match
This weekend sees Gallas return to his former club for the first time since crossing the north London divide in one of the most controversial transfers of recent years. The 33-year-old Tottenham defender can expect a hostile reception from the home fans, many of whom will have branded him a traitor. And Gallas will be very much the enemy as far as Sagna is concerned during the lunchtime clash.
"On the pitch there is a war, but off the pitch we are all friends," he told his club's official website, www.arsenal.com.
Indeed, Gallas' fellow Frenchman bears no grudge towards his former captain for joining Arsenal's arch-rivals. "I'm not angry at him because he signed for our rivals," said the French full-back. "He was always very professional (here) and he always gave everything. Football is football; I'm not furious against him. He needed to leave to play football and that is what he loves."
Gallas' temperament was questioned during his time as Arsenal captain and he was infamously stripped of the armband after attacking his team-mates. "That was his hunger because he wanted to win so much," Sagna said. "Maybe he expressed it in a bad way but it was not bad at all because he wanted us to win."
He added: "He deserves a good reception because during the time he played for Arsenal he always did well."
Saturday's game also sees Sagna go head to head with the man he describes as one of the "most dangerous" wingers around. The 27-year-old will become the latest player to try to tame the in-form
The Tottenham midfielder has made mincemeat of several full-backs during the campaign, including - twice - much-vaunted Inter Milan star Maicon.
Bale's performances have led to teams doubling up on him, something the 21-year-old had been struggling to deal with. But he netted his eighth and ninth goals of the season in last weekend's 4-2 victory over Blackburn and will arrive at the Emirates on Saturday full of confidence.
He also got the better of Sagna on their last meeting back in April, netting the winner in a 2-1 success for Spurs. The Arsenal defender believes it is too soon to start comparing Bale with the best players in the world but has no doubt of the threat he poses.
"He's doing very well at the moment but don't put pressure on him too early," Sagna said. "At the moment, he's one of the most dangerous wingers."
Failure to stop Bale could cost Arsenal the victory they need to overhaul Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Three points in the lunchtime clash would take the Gunners above the champions and pile the pressure on them ahead of the latter's
"Of course everyone is ready, everyone is focused, everyone is motivated," he said. "Now we have to do it."
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move away, with Bayern Munich legend
"He has been injured for a while, but obviously he has to be patient as (