I know that stats do not tell the whole story by any means, but after the news that Arsenal were set to reward our Spanish left back with a pay rise and a new four year contract, I thought I would have a little look at how Nacho Monreal compared to some of the Premier League’s top performers.
Stats do have value and they are increasingly used in modern football but we must realise that they can be misleading and can be used selectively to show some players to their best and others not. So I have chosen a wide range of stats from the comparison tool on Squawka.com and put Monreal up against Baines of Everton, Rose of Spurs, Clichy and Azpilicueta, as Liverpool and Man United have been playing three at the back. I also evened out all the results over 90 minutes.
The stats show that Baines just pips Monreal into second on overall score but when you look deeper it is clear that is because of his amazing attacking stats. Don’t forget that Baines takes corners and free kicks. When you look at the defensive side of things, Arsenal’s man is well on top with Clichy second. Baines and Monreal are tied for first on pass completion so the Spaniard is not just about defending, although it is clear that this is his real strength, with more blocks, clearances and interceptions than his rivals as well as winning an amazing 62 percent of his aerial duels.
Monreal does create a chance every other game but it is clear that he and Wenger are happy to leave this to the more creative players in our team with the left back providing defensive cover to give us a solid platform in games. So while we may not be able to claim the best left back in England, Monreal is right up there and you could say that he is the best defensively.