It’s the end of the footballing season and now is the time to review the performance of each player through this season and now it’s time for Nacho Monreal. He arrived at the Emirates in the January window a few years back, when the Gunners were forced to look for options after Gibbs picked a injury that kept him out of first team action till the end of the season.
The Spaniard fell behind Gibbs vying for a first team place after the Englishman returned from injury, but he didn’t get many chances although he did well when called upon although he never reached the same heights he hit during the break-through times when Malaga reached the Champions League semifinals. This was the story before the start of this season.
He started the season behind Gibbs in the pecking order but he got his chance to play more as the Arsenal injury curse struck back around September/October. Having lost Koscienly and Debuchy, Wenger was forced to partner Mertesacker with Nacho at the center of the defence and although he was playing in an unfamiliar position, he performed better than anyone expected him to given that he never really had any experience playing there.
Yes, there were times when he committed mistakes as he was partly responsible for a loss like the Swansea away game, where he allowed Gomis to out leap him to score the decisive header, but judging by his performances when he has played in his natural position it can be said that his brief stint at the heart of defence did a whole lot of good to his game.
He grabbed the opportunity with both hands when Arsene dropped the English fullback owing to niggling injury issues and patchy form. He looked more solid than his usual self and matured in his reading of the game than before. His positioning sense and tackling drew applauds from pundits and fans alike.
He scored one of the most important goals in this Gunners FA Cup campaign away at Old Trafford to break the deadlock. It was a very composed finish for a full back showcased the confidence with which he was playing.
He is a deserving contender for Arsenal’s Player of the year award and is one of the most consistent players of the season for the Gunners. He is now deservedly ahead of Gibbs for a place in the starting XI and has the chance to be in the Arsenal’s defensive setup at least for the next few years.
What did you think of Monreal’s performances this season?