It was a major disappointment to all Arsenal fans when Watford inflicted our first FA Cup defeat in three years just a few weeks ago, but Nacho Monreal reckons that it will be a different kettle of fish this weekend as the Gunners have got bigger fish to fry this time around.
The Spanish defender thinks that Arsenal have finally got their form back on track with our victory at Everton and are now prepared to finish the season in style as they try to catch Leicester at the top of the table. “We have some quality players so the basis of our play is to keep the ball, maintain possession for long periods and get into the opposition half by playing the ball around – that’s what we try to do,” Nacho said on Arsenal.com.
“That said, you need to be a complete team across the board and when we don’t have the ball we have to put the hard work in, defend as a team and stick together because then when we recover possession, we have players capable of bringing out the magic inside them and making us a really dangerous side.
“In that regard the match [against Everton] was perfect. The first half was fantastic in every sense – we performed very well both with and without the ball. We barely gave them any chances, as soon as we lost the ball we were able to win it back straight away because our positioning was good and we were pressing really well.
“We study our opposition closely throughout the week to identify where we think we can hurt them. Aside from keeping possession and taking the easy option, you have to try to target the opposition’s weaknesses to work a scoring opportunity and score the goal that makes the difference and secures you the three points.
Monreal is aware that we are going to need other teams to drop points, but he says we just have to concentrate on our own games and see what happens. “We’re aware that we don’t just depend on ourselves – that’s obvious.” he continued. “Right now we’re in third place so I think the only objective we need to set for ourselves is winning the eight matches we have left and then what will be will be. It’s not just down to us. Even if we do win all eight games that doesn’t mean we’ll be champions, but what does depend on us is winning those eight games.
“We’re coming off the back of two really good performances, the most recent of which we won. We know it’s going to be difficult against Watford because we only played them recently and they knocked us out of the FA Cup, but we’re hungry for revenge.
“It’s a completely different competition. They’re not fighting for big things so we need to show that we are. We need to show we’re the home side and that we want to keep fighting for the league title. That’s what we’re going to do.”
It’s about time Arsenal got their confidence back, and judging by Nacho’s excellent little speech it would seem they are determined to see this through. Week by week, three points by three points, we can put ourselves back into contention. So let’s put a marker down this weekend and show our rivals that we really mean business from now on.
Onwards and Upwards!