Monreal has improved over the summer by KJ
Nacho Monreal has received a lot of criticism for his performances last season (including me). He was especially poor against the bigger teams and was specifically targeted because he lacked the protection and pace to offset it.
This season however, he has been far better and that is down to a few factors:
Firstly, he isn’t always rushed back after an injury and is therefore thrown in the thick of it.
His form has clearly improved over the summer and that probably comes from a good pre-season and tactical analysis of his performances over the summer with Wenger coaching him through his mistakes.
I also think it comes from the fact that the team is more balanced with Debuchy and Monreal over Sagna and Monreal. That’s mainly because he is a more defensive player and the offensiveness of Debuchy forces teams to not press us so much whilst with Sagna, teams didn’t mind pressing us as we couldn’t offensively hurt them.
His performance against Everton epitomised his improvement. Last time round, he was absolutely destroyed by Lukaku and Everton got all their joy down the right hand side. Now I expect people to bring up the fact that both goals for Everton this time round were scored from their right side but let’s take a better look at it. The first goal was a ball from the left that should’ve been prevented by the likes of Debuchy/Chamberlain and even then it was Özil who allowed Coleman to score that goal, not Monreal. The second goal had a clear foul on us and a clear offside as well. That goal shouldn’t have counted at all and rather than it being a measure of Monreal’s performance, it is a measure of how poor the officiating has become in England.
I criticised Nacho a lot last season and I’m glad that the Spaniard has seemingly turned it around. Now we just have to hope he keeps up this form as Gibbs hasn’t showed any signs of not being built out of a few twigs and some string. So is there now a real battle between the two Arsenal left backs?