Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie was great, but Arsenal are better without him, Bacary Sagna claims. Reuters

Bacary Sagna believes Arsenal are better off without Robin van Persie, with the defender claiming the club are no longer reliant on one player since the Dutchman's departure.

Van Persie won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award and the Premier League golden boot after scoring 30 goals during a standout 2011/12 season for The Gunners, but left for rivals Manchester United in the summer after failing to agree a contract extension, much to the dismay of manager Arsene Wenger.

The 29 year old's form has continued seamlessly into the new campaign, having scored 23 goals for United to assist in the club's attempts to win a record 20<sup>th league title.

Arsenal's summer signing Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have both ably filled the void, while Theo Walcott has often adopted a more central role at attack and Sagna believes Van Persie's departure gives the north Londoners more options.

"We relied on Robin a lot last year," he told Arsenal Player. "He was in top form, he used to score in every game and he was our main striker.

"Now we have some diversity. Everyone can score and everyone can be dangerous. It's good for the team.

"I think everyone's settled well. It feels like they've always been here and they can score great goals at any time. Everyone is getting more confident.

"We have a lot of fun [together] and everyone tries to speak English, which is really important. If you want to get stronger as a team, you have to communicate well. Everyone's trying to speak better and better."

Sagna singled out fellow-countryman Giroud, who has contributed 14 goals and nine assists since his summer switch from Ligue 1 champions Montpellier, for special praise, saying the striker has offered the side a differing outlet amid his rapid acclimatisation to the Premier League.

"He's totally different," the French international explained.

"Physically he's very strong and he has a different style. We used to play with Robin, who was skilful, and previously with Adebayor, who was tall but skinny. Giroud is a totally different striker and we can use him differently."