The Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal is one of the few regular first teamers that is not involved for his country during the current international duty, which is good for us with all the concerns about injury problems, but it must seem strange to the 29-year old who is in the form of his life right now.
It did take Monreal a while to really make his mark for Arsenal, with the last couple of seasons seeing him and Kieran Gibbs largely sharing the left back duties, but he is the clear first choice this season and has started all 12 of the Premier League games for the Gunners.
The Spaniard is just one of many current players that have been fixtures in the side and that is perhaps a big factor in the way we have performed so far. Monreal himself has been speaking to Arsenal Player about it and as well as acknowledging that a few very good transfers like Petr Cech and Alexis Sanchez have raised the quality of the squad, he suggests that there is a better team ethic now and that is surely helped by having the same players starting together as often as possible.
The defender thinks that this aspect of the current Gunners team is a big improvement and could be the key to us not repeating what happened two seasons ago, the last time we got ourselves in a great position for a title push.
He said, “We need to learn from that. I remember it very well because we finished the first half of the season [near the top].
“In the second half, we lost a lot of games so we need to learn about that.
“I think the team is different now. We have different players, and are more competitive.
“I think the level of the team is better now and I hope we can do something special this season. At the moment, everything is right so we need to carry on.
“The secret? I will say that we are playing more compact, like a unit.
“The players are playing with more solidarity, all players try to defend. I think this is the [reason for] that.
“We have won the Community Shield, we are second in the Premier League with the same points as Manchester City.”
While I agree with Monreal about the squad quality and the fighting qualities of the team and of individual players, I also worry that the current injury situation is similar to that of two years ago and it could affect that unity as the regular starters have to be replaced and Wenger cannot keep naming a steady starting XI. What do you think?