Everton vs Arsenal – player spotlight: Nacho Monreal by SE
Arsenal travelling to Goodison Park this weekend presents to us the first of those almighty clashes of the season, and we could be in for a cracker of a game. Last season was all about Arsenal and Wenger flunking in those big games that dealt a serious blow to the North Londoners’ title ambitions. And, apparently, Arsenal’s defending wasn’t up to scratch in those big games against Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton.
Arsenal conceded 20 goals, which was in stark contrast to their exemplary defensive statistics outside of those four fixtures: Wenger’s men kept 17 clean sheets, and conceded a meager 1 goal in 14 other games. That makes it 14 goals conceded in 31 fixtures – a piece of stat that would have surely infuriated the whole of Arsenal.
With another big test awaiting the Gunners at Goodison Park this Saturday evening, we put the spotlight on Nacho Monreal, Arsenal’s Left Full Back:
Nacho Monreal is that Gunner, who always works under the radar when his fellow team-mates hog the limelight. This Saturday, however, the Spaniard will surely be one of the talking points, at least for Roberto Martinez.
For some strange reason, Monreal tucks into his defensive line so exaggeratedly that it becomes easy for opposing wingers and full backs to outmaneuver him. Monreal doesn’t do an awful lot wrong, but he has to get his ‘positioning’ spot on. And, with the Everton manager signing last season’s loanees – Lukaku and Barry – on permanent deals, don’t be surprised if he plays with exactly the same formation, as he did in April.
On that day, he played 4-3-3, which had Lukaku, Naismith and Mirallas leading the line for the Toffees. On Saturday, it could just be the same, and that’s why the defensive role of Monreal can’t be stated enough. Yes, you might have your Left-Winger in Podolski, Campbell or Cazorla working hard – when Arsenal don’t have the ball – in a bid to protect Monreal, but the Spaniard has to stand up for himself and thwart the Everton forwards. It would be a job ‘very well done’ for Monreal if he can see off the offensive threat of Everton. It would also mean that he doesn’t need to render much assistance, in an attacking sense, for Arsenal.
Pace will be ‘the’ talking point, and rest assured that Martinez would load his frontline with incisive pace.
Monreal has to position himself right, as a left full back, and not get dwarfed by pace and intimidating movement of either Lukaku or Mirallas, who could very well play on the Right-Hand-Side for Everton.