Nacho Monreal: arguably the best Left-Back we’ve had since Ashley Cole

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During the January transfer window one thing was clear, Arsenal needed signings. More so, due to Kieran Gibbs’ unfortunate but rather inevitable (as we have come to expect) injury. The thought that we would have to depend on Andre Santos at left back for any amount of time was one that nobody who holds Arsenal dear was willing to entertain. Luckily though, Arsene Wenger was on the same wavelength as everyone else on this. He quickly raided Malaga for the second time in less than a year, and brought in Nacho Monreal.

I must admit I had never heard of him before, which is annoyingly typical of many Arsenal signings over the past few years (see Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny etc). The only consolation I held was that Malaga have emerged as one of the teams in Europe that seems to churn out world class talent on a constant basis. That said though, I still had my doubts and even youtube at the time did not have any comprehensive coverage of him. However due to the Gibbs’ injury, Santos ineptitude, and nature of the transfer (deadline day and all), I did not have to wait long to see him play. He made his debut in the fixture at home against StokeCity, 2 days after his arrival and boy what a performance he produced.

In whatever perspective you want to look at it, Nacho still comes out on top. First of all, this was a game where we had to improvise defensively following a last minute injury to Koscielny, so you wouldn’t have expected the back line to run with any sort of cohesion. Secondly, it was against Stoke (the premier league bullies). Thirdly, not only was this his debut, the transfer was so sudden and hurried that he hadn’t even said goodbye to his former teammates. He was still very much in transition. Yet despite all this, he put in a performance that wowed even the deepest sceptics around. From the first contribution he made in the game, it was clear that we had struck oil.

I can confidently say that Nacho is arguably the best left-back we’ve had (defensively) since Ashley Cole abandoned us for the blues. I have watched every game he’s played since he signed for us and his attributes are there for every one to see. The trait that sets him aside from the plethora of left-backs who’ve tried to succeed Ashley Cole, is his positional discipline. Nacho knows that he is a defender first and that forms the basis of his game. Even when he attacks, he has his system geared to tracking back in case our opponents counter attack. This is massive for us, because he knows when to go forward and when to hold his line at the back. As a result he has completely shut our opponents out on that left wing. Against Aston Villa, Cazorla who played on the left did not have to support him defensively even once. That is how good he is.

Another impressive attribute is his strength in the air. All I will say about this is that Nacho is 5’10 and he absolutely dominated the game against Stoke aerially. If that doesn’t speak for itself then maybe everything I have known since I evacuated my mother’s uterus is wrong, and Spurs are actually champions of Europe. Then there is his tackling, an area which he is decidedly outstanding.

Against Aston Villa there is a tackle he made on the left touch line (I can’t quite remember against who) to keep our attack alive. I was left in awe. I only saw such feats from Roberto Carlos. His ability to dispossess players on the tackle without committing fouls is positively shocking, to say the least. I am inclined to believe that that particular tackle earned him a place in goal.com’sΒ team of the week.

Finally, his attacking threat: let us not forget that his assist earned us three points last weekend. I can’t yet say he is as good as Gibbs when going forward but Arsene seems to believe that this side of his game will come out eventually. Even if it does not, he still has earned the right to be our first choice number 3 even when Gibbs is fit. Nacho has turned the tables in the sense that in a position where we were woefully lacking, we now have two of the best in the league.

The cherry on the cake is that we acquired him for around 8.4 million pounds. That is about 2 million pounds more than we got Santos for. Incredible! Plus he only turned 27 recently so he still has a good 6-8 years of service to the Arsenal. Save for the signing of Cazorla, this is the first time Wenger has got it right in a while.

In times when we are in turmoil and constantly under siege, Nacho is one of the few things that remind us we are the Arsenal and not just some mid table team struggling to get by. With a few right moves in the market to complement him, we could build a team that will rein havoc on the likes of Spurs for years to come.

COME ON YOU GOONERS!!!

Written by: Marcus

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118 Responses to Nacho Monreal: arguably the best Left-Back we’ve had since Ashley Cole

  1. Highbury Harmony says:

    Fantastic article marcus, I’m glad you have thoroughly enjoyed Nacho since his arrival. He’s good in the air and on crosses because as I said in my Nacho article, he developed at and played for Osasuna in La Liga, which is basically La Liga’s version of Stoke City. Not only has he been our best defensive LB since Ca$hley Cole, he has the best ball skills and passing since him too, if not better.

    You mean to tell me after the article I wrote and the scouting reports provided by myself and richie, that it was not enough to persuade you that he was the real deal ;)? Why do I bother writing then hahaha!

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, thanks for another fine post.

    I have been impressed with Nacho as well, but it is still early days of course. He appears to be the total package and there is also a certain hardness about him that I like. He reminds me a bit of a former Dutch national left-back called Adri van Tiggelen, whose nickname was ‘De Spijker’ (The Nail), and Nacho Nail would be a great nickname for our new man as well! πŸ™‚

  3. James says:

    3 games and he’s better than Cole. LMFAO. Who writes this crap? Didn’t look so good when he failed to close down Weimann for Villa’s equaliser. Some of you Gooners live on another planet completely. Give him a year, then we’ll see how good he is. He’s working under the worst defensive coach in Europe.

  4. Twig says:

    Still early days. Give him a season.

  5. Highbury Harmony says:

    James, you realize that Nacho couldn’t close down Weimann or else he would have given away an easy pass to the open Agbonlahor (I believe it was him) that was breaking on Nacho’s left. So clearly, now YOU don’t look so good for inaccurately pointing out what was never a flaw.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    James,

    No need to be rude. Do you know what the word ‘arguably’ means?

    Marcus is clearly enthused by what Nacho has shown to us since his arrival and reckons we have finally resolved the LB issues we have had for a long time now. Would you agree with him?

  7. Dylan says:

    Definitely a strong player who can hopefully be the start of our defensive restrengthening. Also the control on his assist to Cazorla was world class. I hope he keeps proving we are right that he is the real deal.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Dylan, agreed the assist made the goal: hardly a bounch o it, with the right speed, and at a perfect angle for Cazorla to ‘walk’ it in. Those two on the left could become a force! πŸ™‚

  9. boomergooner1727 says:

    yea this is over the top, sorry. besides not being here long enough, i’m not so sure that he’s better than gibbs yet. i think the young englishman has been one of our most overlooked players this season with some fine performances to his name. he is criticized harshly by gooners when he makes mistakes bc he is one of wenger’s ‘projects’ but at his best he is an outstanding player. his injury problems have held him back, which is why we bought nacho, but aside from that i think it is kieran who is destined to be the next ashley cole.

    i am happy to have the former malaga man in the side though, hopefully as he settles in he can be like bacary and deputize at center half when the inevitable injuries strike.

  10. Milo says:

    I think Gibbs is being given short shrift here. I like Gibbs just as much as Nacho, if not more. If it weren’t for his injuries then he’d be playing every week and we wouldn’t have even bothered to buy Nacho until the summer. I still think Gibbs could make it at the highest level as a left back, IF he stays healthy for more than a month at a time. If he can’t then that’s very sad. I think he was closer to what Cole was than even Nacho. Everyone bashes his crossing, but what about his passing. All the one two’s with Podolski have vanished as a result of his injury. I said before, and I’ll say it again. When he comes back, he will come straight back in to the side. I know Wenger…look at what he did with Sagna and Jenkinson. It’s not quite the same as Gibbs actually is younger than Monreal, but he’s just as, if not more accomplished going forward. The one thing I would say about Gibbs is this…he has to keep improving his defensive awareness. He has done so this season, so if he continues to work on that, he’ll be the best left back we have had since Cashley.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome boomergooner1727

    Fine comment. Marcus will respond himself at some point in the next 24 hours, but I don’t think he is necessary saying Nacho is better than Gibbs; only that he should keep his place when Kieran returns, which I agree with.

    This is what he said: ‘Even if it does not, he still has earned the right to be our first choice number 3 even when Gibbs is fit. Nacho has turned the tables in the sense that in a position where we were woefully lacking, we now have two of the best in the league.’

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    boomer,

    Gibbs and Nacho are two entirely different LBs. Gibbs converted to LB and was originally a winger and it is evident by his penchant for pushing forward and his comfort level when running with the ball. However, his crossing is below par and his tactical defending is very, very questionable. He’s pretty solid one on one in making the right tackle or decision and has the pace to recover if he makes a mistake, but his mental lapses on defense will continue to hurt this team.

    Nacho was always a LB and his attention to the defensive side of the game has been evident here, at Malaga and at Osasuna. His crossing ability is also better than Gibbs’ as he developed this aspect of his game while playing at Osasuna, the Stoke City of La Liga. He lacks the pace and big-end potential that Gibbs has, but makes up for it in his aerial ability and steadiness in defensive responsibilities. He’s the perfect LB to help groom Gibbs and give him more time to develop his crossing and understanding of the defensive nuances of the game for a LB.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo, consistency is so important in that position and staying fit for a long time is a prerequisite. Gibbs is a great player and it gives Arsene options if and when they both are fit. Who says they cannot play both in our first-11? They could both play on the left and I read somewhere that Nacho can do DM…. How would you like that? πŸ™‚

  14. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo,

    Perhaps the one two’s with Podolski have ceased to exist because Podolski’s only started one game since Nacho’s arrival and Nacho didn’t even play vs. Bayern (cup tied with Malaga)!

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    play in that one game vs. Bayern*

  16. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, I completely disagree with you. Monreal will keep his place as a starter even when Gibbs returns, he offers much more stability to the left side and that is exactly what we need from our defense in general right now.

  17. Milo says:

    Yeah, I guess you guys are right…but I still think in the end Gibbs will be the one left standing. I don’t know why, I just get that feeling. Just like I got the feeling Arsene would sit Jenkinson down once Bacary came back…in the long run I see Gibbs making that position his own…I think that was the point I was trying to make.

  18. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo,

    I believe Gibbs is definitely the future, so long as he can maintain his health. The acquisition of Nacho gives him the best chance to do so with more regularity. I can see next season being a 65/35 split with more of the playing time being given with Nacho and that ratio slowly falling by 5 each year after until Gibbs becomes the 1st choice at LB again.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo, I rate Gibbs very highly and I cannot imagine Arsene making him second choice/ bench warmer. And yes, I also believe he will become a great Gunner.

  20. Milo says:

    Yeah, I don’t know why I feel that Gibbs will turn out to be the full time left back…It’s just a feeling I have that I can’t really rationalize. He’s made so many mistakes in the past, yet I still see him in a more than positive light…strange… πŸ˜€

  21. Arsenal fans are mostly film actors…..Jesus Christ!!! Are you kidding me? How can you compare Nacho with the great Ashely cole…..kul but not better!

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo, your gut feeling goes a long way and you should mostly fully trust it! πŸ™‚

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome blessedudosen

    Marcus is not comparing them as like for like good, but reckons Nacho might be the best LB since Cole left from a defensive perspective.

  24. allezkev says:

    Hmm, that post, I do like, very much…
    Tbh, i’ve been a bit busy of late and have not seen a live game since I went to see the lads at Swansea in the FACup.
    So i’ve only seen glimpses of Nacho, but after that post, I can’t wait to see him in action, at WHL, on Sunday.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Allezkev

    I saw him ‘in the flesh’ against Blackburn, and I liked him a lot. Let’s know your views on him once you have seen him live.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Right catch you guys in the morning πŸ™‚

  27. allezkev says:

    Tell ya what James, why don’t you do a post, then we can all discuss your views on a player, of your choice.

    Have a go James, it’s easy mate…

  28. allezkev says:

    I will do that for sure TA…

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    cheers allezkev πŸ™‚

    Got to catch a bit of sleep so hopefully catch up with you tomorrow..

  30. allezkev says:

    HH, interesting point on Gibbs, that is his conversion from m/f to f/b…
    Ashley Cole followed a similar path and his positioning left a bit to be desired when he began succeeding Silvinho.
    But Cole learned his trade, as I feel Gibbs could, if only he could retain his bloody fitness.

    Looking forward to seeing Nacho all the same.

  31. allezkev says:

    Yeah, chat later TA, sleep well mate….

    Got an early start myself, night HH and all…

  32. dfad says:

    he got owned by over and over against blackburn … he cannot take guys on for the life of him .. just plays it safe … Gibb’s thus far is twice the player Monreal is.

  33. henrychan says:

    Morning guys..
    Great post Marcus.. Bravo..

    That’s why I love Wenger so much.. hahaha..
    I hate to say that Spurs tactics to be what they are today were buying all players that Wenger want.. hehehe..
    They get Lloris.. Vertonghen.. Dempsey.. Dembele and also Holtby..
    I have an idea for Wenger.. He must announce every players so that Spurs may bring them all.. hehehe..
    But left the real target unspoken.. just like Nacho..

    The other thing to do is starting before others.. just like when he bought Podolski.. Cazorla and Giroud..
    I think Wenger will do that again.. as soon as the summer TW open..

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry,

    I think every club has scouts all over the world now, so just because AW and Arsenal may have a scout at the games does not mean they have a registered interest in each player, despite what the media says. I think the old concept of the Spuds “stealing” our targets is overblown and just an excuse for us to make fun of them (not that we need one hahaha).

  35. henrychan says:

    @HH.. Hehehe.. Yes bro.. I know that..
    You seem to know a lot of Spanish players.. Who will you choose for Wenger to bring..??

    I love the rumours about Lewandoski and Draxler on Wenger list.. I love Lewandoski more than Jovetic or Cavani.. And no to villa..

    And Draxler is much better than Holtby for sure.. hehe.. but Chelsea and MU also running for this guy.. Maybe he is the one TA talk about.. hehe..

    TA.. you haven’t give the name..??

  36. davidcougarman says:

    Now i know some of arsenal supporters like james are fools,nacho is quality thats all..when you have quality there is potential but u need to work hard and that is where arsenal players are lacking…..d team needs commitment from every player like wilshere does.
    think b4 u talk

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry,

    Do you love the price of Lewandowski more than Cavani? Or the skill and ability? I sincerely hope it’s the former or else I might as you to actually watch Cavani play hahaha!

    And thank you, I spend a lot of time watching La Liga and scouting the top talent they produce; there are so many of them!

    I think Wenger will look to Amorebieta on a free transfer this summer. He’s basically Mertesacker with better ability on the ball, more pace and is more assertive in the air. He’s a vocal presence on the pitch and does a good job of organizing the back line at Bilbao. There were rumours that he would see out his contract at Bilbao before moving on to a new experience this coming summer.

    My number 1 priority would be Benat of Real Betis. He’s a fantastic deep-lying playmaker and his over the top ball are scintillating. He’s also not afraid to commit to a no-nonsene tackle, plays with extreme motivation and passion and his very aggressive defensively. In typical Spanish fashion, his ball control is excellent and is set ball ability is fantastic. He’s considered the next Xabi Alonso and we’d do well with acquiring his signature early this coming TW.

    Enjoy πŸ™‚ : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF_bqmggbz0

    Though it would somewhat pain me to see him go (since Bilbao are my second team), Muniain would be a fantastic signing for Arsenal. His statistics this year have been underwhelming, but they’re misleading and he’s truly a fantastic talent. He has the pace, close ball control, dribbling, passing and strength to excel in the PL and is an upcoming Spanish talent to watch. Bilbao have suffered this season due to a falling out with Bielsa and the board where he had offered his resignation before the season began, but decided to stay in the end. Llorente’s been a distracted man all year and his play and goal scoring has been indicative of this. The club has also not recovered from the loss of Martinez this summer and have had trouble bringing in new players due to their policy of only bringing in Basque-born players.

    Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad is another player that I like, as is Benat

    If we choose to go in a different direction in strikers this summer, I can see Wenger taking a serious look at Negredo of Sevilla and Soldado of Valencia. Like all Spanish players, they exhibit great ability on the ball and are very good passers and at linking up with teammates. They can both finish quite well and are proficient in aerial battles too.

  38. Highbury Harmony says:

    Benat is my best kept secret and was hoping that if I didn’t mention him he wouldn’t blow up over the net and that his price wouldn’t get inflated hahaha! TA, you will love him if we can find a way to bring him to the Emirates (Santi, Nacho, Arteta that’s your cue to constantly call and nag him wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

  39. marcus says:

    James,
    I never said he’s better than Cole. I said he’s the best in defending SINCE cole. But I appreciate your contribution nonetheless..

  40. marcus says:

    Boomer,
    I know what you mean, and I did include that in the post. Gibbs is far much better than Nacho going forward. But defensively, Nacho comes out on top. Sometimes Gibbs gets caught out of position, though I do understand that he is still developing and he keeps getting better every season.

  41. marcus says:

    Harmony,
    Thanks mate, I must not have seen the article then..

  42. marcus says:

    Milo,
    I do agree that Gibbs has improved immensely. He is one of the few who is surely living up to his potential. All I’m saying is that defensively, he isn’t the finished article yet and in that respect, Nacho is better.

  43. marcus says:

    I think I need to point out that I did not say Nacho is better than Cole. I said he is the best LB we’ve had (defensively) since Ashley Cole.

  44. marcus says:

    Twig,
    I agree. Its still early. The reason I wrote this post however is because of the odds he’s overcome to put in such strong performances. It does give you a clear insight into his top quality.

  45. marcus says:

    TA,
    Thanks mate..

  46. Gerry says:

    Marcus, you do have a lovely style of writing about players you clearly appreciate. I bet you could do a similar piece on Gibbs, highlighting his best points too?

    Unfortunately, the title of the article has left you wide open for criticism? It is one thing to be full of praise for the newcomer, but to then compare him with such an accomplished left back after so few games was surely a mistake? The opposition we have faced have hardly been top drawer have they? Not that I am saying he will not come through Sunday’s encounter with flying colours, just that your enthusiasm has got ahead of you?

    I think you may be right in the main thrust of the article, in that he is a more fully equipped full back than Gibbs is at the moment. I wouldn’t want to go there, being a staunch supporter of Gibbs throughout his troubled times. In fact, in a way, I have greater admiration for him for being as full-blooded as he is each time he comes back. I think he clocked his 100th appearance recently, which is not bad for somebody who has been so unlucky?

    On a skill level, there are not many in our squad that can kill a ball that is fizzed at him either. I have made the point before about the ‘team’ using Gibbs as a wide attacking player, then it is up to the ‘team’ to defend better, or at least hold it up until he gets back?

    Nacho, with his experience is possibly going to venture forwards quite so often, especially against a strong right-hand threat? That defensively makes him a better player, perhaps. But at the same time it may cost the team the ‘balance’ in attack in our usual 4-3-3 formation, which could make Gibbs more useful??

    Hey, it is all about opinion.

  47. Gerry says:

    Henrychan – The Draxler was the next ‘?’ during last season, but it has been a lot quieter since then. He is, though the sort of player that AW would keep tabs on. I have not seen him play this season to know if it is just his team that are having a quiet spell, or him still developing?

  48. Gerry says:

    HH – I am sorry to say, I think Amorebieta might end up elsewhere. He is on a ‘free’, so signing on fee will play a big part, but so will playing full time. If he comes he will replace Mert, yes? Which makes it an expensive purchase for somebody who is a bit better than who we have got? We know AW does not like getting into auctions, and I think as long as it was just Arsenal doing the talking to his club and agents, then fine. But any of the three Italian clubs would make his personal terms much more crucial = expensive?

    Personally, I think if there is a purchase here, it will be someone to play alongside Mert, and possibly at RB too?

    I too, like Bilbao, and during their great season Muniain was like Jack on acid!? But like Jack and Santi, he is a tad on the small side, and I think you can have too many of those in one team?

    Alas, your secret is out. No doubt should anything be even remotely close to an interest, it will be all over the gossip columns very shortly? It will be interesting to see which of us gets to see ‘their’ man at the Emirates, eh?

  49. Gerry says:

    Oh,before I disappear until midday, did anybody else read the comment about Benek Afobe (Milwall)? ….’On the wing he is average. Stick him down the middle he is top class. He has pace and strength, and a great shot’

    Lessons to be learnt perhaps?. Whether he makes it back in an Arsenal shirt is another matter. He looked good in pre-season, but with Giroud in the side he was never going to occupy that central position was he? More importantly, not going to show much in training out wide either?

    Let’s hope he finds his niche now.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Gerry and other fine Gooners πŸ™‚

    Please all note that I chose the title for Marcus article, as I thought that Marcus view that Nacho is arguably the best defender since Cole was the most interesting part of his article. It seems like a lot of bloggers have not understood the meaning of the words ‘arguably’ and ‘since’.

    However, blame me for the title and not Marcus, who has written a fine analysis of Nacho’s first contributions to our team and what he could mean for us going forward. πŸ™‚

  51. VCC says:

    Fine post Marcus…..Already we can see Nacho is a better defensive left back than Gibbs, but offensively we will have to wait and see. Although his pull back for Santi was sublime.

    Highbury Harmony nails it for me in his two comments = 23:21 and 23:27.

    Sundays test will answer many questions.

  52. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry,

    While Amorebieta certainly has the ability to sign anywhere, we also know that Arsenal is an option. Henry was simply asking me who I though AW should target from La Liga and he is a player I’ve liked at Bilbao for quite some time. Perhaps our Spanish invasion can help to persuade Amorebieta to sign on with Arsenal as it’ll likely be his last contract and only chance to ever play in the EPL.

    Muniain was brilliant last year and Bilbao finally showed the world their quality and the bed of talent that The Basque region has and still is developing. Jack on acid is a very appropriate comparison! I don’t have an issue with small players since Muniain plays every game with passion, heart, determination and spine. His never say die attitude is contagious and that together with his creativity out wide is exactly what we need.

    Benat is one of my best kept secrets but the world is slowly catching on! Liverpool targeted last window but Betis did not want to sell and he wasn’t fond of moving there either from what I remember. La Liga talents still remain relatively unknown to the rest of the world, but boy is the lad talented and just entering the prime of his career. He could solve our issues in the Makalele role!

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, now the secret it out you might as well write a post about him! πŸ˜›

  54. VCC says:

    HH. ..I have a plan on how you can camouflage your scouting prowess for us BKers.

    Enter the player details under the name of GLiC. We will know the code, but other teams managers that read this blog will laugh at it, as they all know he talks shit.

    John has a long moustache.

  55. henrychan says:

    @ HH.. I never see Italian anymore seen I loss my appetite after the scandal.. twice.. hehehe..
    So I don’t know who is Jovetic or Cavani.. I watch Cavani several times when he played for Uruguay.. But I prefer Suarez and Forlan more..
    I watch Lewandowski a lot.. for I love Dortmund.. hehehe..
    And as TA said.. Szesney may influence Lewy to come to Emirates..
    just look at this.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH7hV8Gkwv4

    Benat..?? From the video.. he look okay.. but I prefer strootman.. moreover he is a dutchman.. I love to see a dutchman in Arsenal..
    You can watch this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaKyemVPnYw

    @ Gerry.. I’m not a Draxler’s fan.. But as I often see Bundesliga.. I know he is a good players.. and he has a cute face.. hehehe..
    take a look at this one.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPhHd09Ka8c

    I hate the news that Sagna can’t play.. I hope Jenkinson can do the job well..
    Go Gunners..

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry,

    It is really hard to determine who ‘the one’ would be, but I feel he would have to play as a CB or DM. If I had to make a choice I would go for Schweinsteiger or Alonso, or Hummels; and I also like the look of Capoue and Wanyama, and maybe Strootman could be the one. But it all remains to be seen whether any of them could add that extra dimension to Arsenal.

  57. tam says:

    he’s only been with us a month. quite silly to be writing such an article now. in fact it’s ‘impossible’ given the amount of data at your disposal.

  58. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, πŸ™‚

  59. Red Arse says:

    Morning Marcus, πŸ™‚

    As Gerry said you have a very nice writing style, and I enjoyed the points you were making.

    Like the majority of Spanish players who make it into professional football, Nacho has a lot of the necessary skills and professionalism that is so necessary to succeed.

    For me, he has made a good start to his Arsenal career, but it is usually in the following season, after a player’s debut, that the real test comes, when other teams work out, and play to, any weaknesses he might have.

    A very promising start by Nacho, and given Gibbs’s injury record, let’s keep our fingers crossed that you are proved correct in your assessment of his ability.

    Thanks for the Post! πŸ™‚

  60. VCC says:

    TA. 09:10…….You asked for one signing? your post 09:10 is confusing. The last time I went to school that count came to 6?

    πŸ˜‰

  61. VCC says:

    Hi Guys. …It’s that time of week again where I am forced to chase some guys for their UMF 1 entries.

    Total….Rocky….Herb…PPP…..TMHT….Oz…..Red Arse…..Highbury Harmony.

    Can you all get your fingers out and post selections PLEASE.

    GLiC…..Alex…..Henry…..Gerry and of course VCC ( πŸ™‚ ) go to the top of the class.

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Vickers πŸ™‚

    Hi Redders πŸ™‚

    Here are my UMF’s:

    Everton, Stoke, Swansea, Aston Villa all draws and Arsenal away win πŸ™‚

  63. marcus says:

    Gerry,
    Like TA said, most people don’t seem to understand what the title means. I wasn’t comparing Nacho to Ashley Cole at all, what that title means is that ever since Ashley Cole left we’ve had a number of left backs and Nacho is the best of the lot. In other words, I was comparing Nacho to Gibbs, Clichy, Santos and any other person who has played at LB for Arsenal since Cole’s departure.

  64. Red Arse says:

    Hi Vicky, πŸ™‚

    I will get my UMF’s in first thing tomorrow, if that is OK?

  65. Red Arse says:

    Marcus,

    Perhaps the title that TA put up should have read;
    “Nacho is the best LB since Sliced Bread” πŸ˜€

    Now that would have caused some confusion, it seems!! πŸ™‚

  66. marcus says:

    Oh, and by the way, this article is by no means an attack on Kieran Gibbs. In an earlier article I wrote, I mentioned him as one of the players responsible for our turn around in the league. I believe in him. I even go as far as to point out that he is better than Nacho going forward. Its in the defensive duties that I find Nacho to be above him. In fact I will write an article on Gibbs soon..

    Thanks Red Arse..

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus

    In hindsight, it would have been better to pose the title as a question: Could Nacho Monreal become the best LB since the departure of A Cole?

    But let the title not take away from you writing a fine, early analysis of what Nacho is bringing to us. I loved it. πŸ™‚

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Exactly Redders – in some countries they don’t even do sliced bread! πŸ™‚

  69. VCC says:

    Total, thanks, your odds are = 829-1……did anyone mention the idea of this game is to get as many right as possible. πŸ˜‰ Unlike GLiC’s selections????? πŸ™‚

    Red Arse that’s fine…..I Love You xxx.

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Vickers haha – as RA pointed out the other day two draws is worth more than five wins, or shall I put it like this: shots on goals are worthless, what matters is passing the line my fwiend.

  71. VCC says:

    Marcus….Don’t worry, that was a fine balanced article. Early signs are good for our newly acquired left back.

    He can defend (better than Gibbs)
    He is good in the air (better than Gibbs)
    He can cross a ball (better than Gibbs)
    He can attack ( on par with Gibbs)
    He is handsome ( better than Gibbs)
    He has a large todger ( bigger than Gibbs, just ask GLiC)
    He can speak Spanish (better than Gibbs)
    He has sexy legs ( better than Gibbs)

    What seems to be the problem?

    COYG

  72. VCC says:

    TA. you still haven’t grasped the concept though.

    Five draws (your last weeks selections) worth three points IF correct. You scored Nil pwoint.

    One home win correctly selected wins One pwoint.

    Simples Cloggenstein πŸ˜‰

  73. marcus says:

    We’ve recently been linked with a few players and I do have an opinion of them. These players are Jovetic, Gotze, Capoue/Wanyama and Amorebieta. Here’s what I think:

    With Jovetic, I believe we would acquire a real addition of quality in the squad. Thing is we would have shell out a lot of cash, especially following his performances this season. He is very much attainable, so long as we are willing to spend.

    Amorebieta is a no brainer. Not only is he class and FREE, he would add that tenacious, aggressive side our defense lacks. Like I said, no brainer.

    Capoue/ Wanyama are also no brainers to me. We need proper physical DM’s and they both fit the bill. Given the choice I’d go for Wanyama purely because I know more about him than I do Capoue. We’d have to spend like 15-20M for him but since wenger said he’s got the money and the will to spend then this is it.

    Gotze now is the complicated one. First of all, half of Europe is on his trail. Secondly, he is fiercely loyal to Dortmund. We do have a few things going for us. One, Dortmunds top players and coach are all being hunted. Lewandowski is already leaving. This could convince him too to move on. Secondly, he signed a contract with a 30M release clause on it. I know you think that it is a lot of money but based on his performances, age and admirers, he could easily fetch 40-50M. so believe it or not, 30 is a bargain. This would be a difficult one to pull off but I think that if Wenger is determined to turn this squad around, he can get him.

  74. Red Arse says:

    VCC,

    Your supporting analysis of Nacho/Gibbs — brilliant!! πŸ˜€

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    True Vickers but life is not a single snapshot, and if you analyse my weekly scores, you will have noticed a significant improvement since my all out draws strategy And one week it will all work out and catapult me forwards, right ahead of your shiny silver zimmerframe πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  76. Red Arse says:

    Marcus,

    I saw the Bayern v Dortmund game the other night, and I have to say that I was not too impressed with Goetze, and apart from anything else, he looked a pedestrian, fat assed podge!! πŸ™‚

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Vickers – fine comparison. πŸ™‚

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    I like the sound of Capoue or Wanyama, obviously! One of them is a must this summer.

    But I like what I am hearing of you, HH and Merry Gerry re Amorebieta – the clue is in the last two letters: could he be our new TA? πŸ™‚

  79. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Thanks for your perspective. Well done for handling unconscious minds. It must be so frustrating correcting people or convince them something you have written is not how they perceived. Fair enough some ample souls need a little help to understand, still it creates good responses from your good selves.

    I was really settled and happy with out left side. Gibbs, Poldolski, Wilshire and Cazorla produce some magic stuff down that side. Some have stated we haven’t seen that for a while for obvious reasons but seeing Nacho is very encouraging. I can’t see it being any problem with our team and for any individuals, Nacho’s introduction shouldn’t have any negative impact all positives. Is Spain the place to be for acquisitions to bring in to compete/helping foot with our British core? Get them at the right age like Santi and Nacho (of course Arteta) and hand down their knowledge etc to the British crop? Nacho Gibbs, Santi Wilshere, Arteta Ramsey.

    Wise men give me your short list to company Theo, Jenkinson and The Ox

  80. allezkev says:

    It’s a shame that Conor Henderson is leaving this coming summer.
    He is a neat, tidy and skillful midfielder, but as with Afobe and Frimpong, has suffered awful luck with a serious injury.
    The last few years have been quite amazing. I cannot remember another period when Arsenal have been so ravaged by serious injury after serious injury.
    We have near perfect playing surfaces now, so it does make me wonder?

  81. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Can’t forget our Pole. Iker anyone?

  82. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Marcus

    Nacho looks a good player and it should turn out to be a nice fight between him and Gibbs for the shirt. Personaly, i hope its a battle that Gibbs wins. Hes homegrown and English so i have a soft spot for him.

    Vics, here are my five. Its definatly a full house for me this week so i suggest you all remortgage your homes or go to an unscrupilous loan shark and raise some cash for the bet. hahaha

    Arsenal 5-0
    Chelsea
    Everton
    Utd
    Swansea – Geordies, draw

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gooner4eva – agreed that we were looking strong on the left, but we did make a dip if and when Gibbs got injured. The relationship between him and the Pod has been great – one of the few relationships that has worked from the start.

    There is a fine core of players now and they have growth in them. We just a bit of steel at the back and the middle and to make HH and Glic happy, another fine striker. πŸ™‚

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Allezkev,

    I guess from now on only the very best youth players will make to the first team, as we have the money now to buy already established, quality players.

  85. marcus says:

    TA,
    Which is not to say Amorebieta doesn’t have a bad side. Like I pointed out earlier, he is very tenacious and aggressive. So much so that he averages about 3 red cards a season and a truckload of yellows. This means that he misses about 10 games every season through suspension and gives away his fair share of penalties. Granted that lately due to his experience his tackles are better timed (and judged) and these stats have greatly reduced, this could pose a bit of a problem.

  86. marcus says:

    Red arse,
    If there is a player I know well and have watched extensively it is Gotze. Here is the thing, you are right. He sometimes disappears in the big games but I think I can explain that. I think it is purely down to his inexperience. Dortmund have built this side around him and have been doing very well. You realize these two factors combined can place a great amount of pressure on any player, let alone a 20 year old. When they are not doing well, they look to him and lewandowski to bail them out. Not every one is Jack Wilshere (that magnificent boy) you know. But here is the flip side, he can. I watched a game where they were 2 nil down against bremen at half time and he LITERALLY and SINGLE-HANDEDLY dragged them from defeat to victory. He is a devastating player who in the right set up, opponents can not live with. In the champions League game in dortmund even we couldn’t. Mancity and Real both couldn’t either. Trust me when I tell you Gotze is super class. especially when played on the wing with the freedom to cut in.

  87. VCC says:

    Terry….cheers, your odds are = 30-1. Good luck.

    How was Brentwood last week? Did you meet some nice Essex girls?

  88. Gerry says:

    Hi Marcus, I saw all the other early replies that appeared while I was writing … sorry to have added to the list.

    I will look forward to any future post on Gibbs. Alas I am more worried about this latest blow more than any other. I think I am correct in thinking this is the very first time he has repeated the same injury? Amazingly all his other ones have been different types in different areas.

    Given the way these occurred; one running flat out putting in a cross; the other, from a standing start on tacky ground. It makes me think it might be a skeletal problem, like the leg pulling out of the hip socket, thus tearing tendons attaching to the bone? I hope I am wrong, after all the physio work he has put it, and I could well be. It is not disastrous in the sense he is doing it all the time, but at the same time, if that is the problem it is hard to fix, other than by greater breaks between matches perhaps? I guess in the state of the art sick bay they have there, they could check him out after every couple of games with a heat scan or something. Prevention is better than cure as they say?

    I know he was hoping to be fit for the return Bayern game, so hopefully this one was not as bad as the last one? I wish him all well in any case.

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, some healthy agression at the back would not go amiss, and Wenger would get him to ease up a bit as well. For me, the key is that he organises defences, is strong in the air and on the ground, and passes the ball well, including forwards. If that is the case, he is our man.

  90. Red Arse says:

    Marcus,

    I agree that you are right about Goetze.

    Judging any player on one match is not sensible, and I did not intend to do that, because as you say, he played very well against us in both legs last year.

    I had not seen him for a while, and my impression in the Bayern game, was that as he has matured he seems to have put on some weight — especially around the rear — a bit like Nasri did!

    A fine player and I would not mind him coming to Arsenal — but I do not think for a moment that he will.

  91. marcus says:

    TA,
    True. I forgot to mention how he is not the kind to accept defeat quietly. He has a fire that so far only Wilshere in our current team has. Like I said, no brainer really.

  92. Gerry says:

    TA – He may be your, and Double H’s man, I just don’t think Arsene will go into battle if it is an auction.

    HH – Players have been known to change their preferences you know?

  93. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Yeah, it was realy good Vics. The women were all over me, and some of them were even under 50. hahaha

  94. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry,

    I’ve seen Lewandowski play a lot at Dortmud since they are my favourite Bundesliga team. He’s good, but much like Podolski can fade in games and become a non-factor. Still, he’s more refined than Giroud and has more room for improvement since he’s been a better finisher at a younger age.

    I’ve also seen Strootman play a decent amount of times and have come away either impressed or indifferent. Some games he is tenacious, skillful and takes over the game with passion and others he is lacking motivation, invisible and a non-factor. Very inconsistent and not a great defender. He gets beat quite often and mistimes his tackles, missing the opposition altogether. Further, his positioning in tactically defending is not disciplined either. He’s a work in progress for sure, but I would not sign him as our true DM. Offensively he has a much higher ceiling as his surging runs, over the top balls and ball control are big positives to his game.

    To be honest, I haven’t been impressed with any Dutch players lately. Maher could be a talent but is still very raw and unproven. He could be a good acquisition but I feel AW will want slightly more proven talent to not completely block the rest of our youth and to try and win something before his contract ends.

  95. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, you are missing my point my friend. I am saying that Amorebieta has no preference right now and that it’s a wide open playing field. For all we know, he could resign with Bilbao. However, we were linked with him in the January window so there’s a possibility we have interest again (I believe it was BBC or Sky that reported the source claiming that we offered for him but Bilbao refused and said the player and club would decide his future in the summer).

    Again, all I was saying about Amorebieta was that he was a player I liked re: henrychan’s original question.

  96. Red Arse says:

    Hi Vicks,

    Thought you and Glic might like to see the following warning! πŸ˜€

    I thought you would want to know about this email virus. Even the most advanced anti virus programs cannot take care of this one. It appears to affect mostly those who were born prior to 1955 …

    The tragic symptoms:

    1.. Causes you to send the same email twice.. (I’ sure you’ve done that!)

    2.. Causes you to send a blank email. (That too!)

    3.. Causes you to send an email to the wrong person. (Yep!)

    4. Causes you to send it back to the person who sent it to you. (Ah-ha!)

    5. Causes you to forget to attach the attachment. (You must’ve done that!)

    6.. Causes you to hit “SEND” before you’ve finished. (Oh , no not again!)

    7.. Causes you to hit “DELETE” instead of “SEND”. (You must hate that!)

    8.. Causes you to hit “SEND” when you should “DELETE”. (Oh No!)

    IT IS CALLED THE “C-NILE VIRUS”

    Hmmm hope it’s not catching …… have I sent this to you already, or did you just send it to me?

  97. VCC says:

    Red Arse. ..hahaha. 1-8 is me alright. I must be C-Nile.

    The worse thing of all happened to me today. Went up stairs and stopped half way. Wondered for a minute, then it came over me……..was I on the way up, or on the way down. LMFAO.

  98. VCC says:

    Terry, can I come with you next time. πŸ˜‰

    And if there were any with white sticks, perhaps we can take GLiC, Lol.

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Those stairlifts make you go to sleep, Vickers! πŸ˜›

  100. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, here are my UMF predictions:

    $hitty away win
    Liverpool away win
    Manure home win
    Swansea vs. Newcastle draw
    Stoke vs. West Ham draw

    Also, VCC @ 8:20 haha πŸ™‚

  101. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC @ 15:44 hahaha, I hope there isn’t transference of your stair incident to when you watch Arsenal games!

    I can just imagine this being your process of thinking:

    *After the game ends*…wait, why am I sitting here again? oh right, I have to turn on the Arsenal game. wait, didn’t I just watch them play? what was the score? no wait, that was last week right?

    something is building up inside of me and I can’t shake this feeling…*passes gas*…phew, now I feel better!…wait, why am I sitting here again? hahaha

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha HH, you just described VCC perfectly! πŸ˜›

  103. Red Arse says:

    Now the question is — where is Glic? Up to mischief I suspect!! πŸ™‚

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Up and down to Orcland, Redders. He had a whole day to think and god knows what he will come up with later today! πŸ˜€

  105. VCC says:

    Highbury Harmony, you must have sat behind me. πŸ˜‰

  106. VCC says:

    Cheers HH. your odds are = 44-1

    Red Arse is supplying am tomorrow.
    That leaves Rocky/Herb/PP/Oz to come please.

  107. glic says:

    Evening Cumdumpsters πŸ˜†

    Thanks Marcus, but I`m sorry it`s too early to judge him as the best since Cole for defensive duties and besides in the few games he has played some of the reports said he was given a rough ride by the wide men on quite a few occations !. It is early and by your stating , he will probably get murdered by Lennon on Sunday !. hahaha

    One of the funniest thing`s that happened at the Tavern when me and Stretch met Vic`s ( apart from the previously mentioned him chatting up the Hat Stand for half an hour ) was at one point he was on the floor shouting……” Medic…Medic….Medic ! “, me and Stretch run over to him ( after we finished downing a few pints ! ) and said …”Vic`s what`s wrong ?….do you want us to call a Medic ?”………”No !”, said Vic`s, I`ve just slipped over and crushed Me Dick under the Zimmerframe ! “. His missus has since got a jump start on FIFA and already installed “Hawkeye ” goal line technology on her Jack and Danny, to tell whether it is in or out !. hahahaha

  108. Mike says:

    Might be a bit too soon to rate him as the best since Ashley Cole just yet as Cole’s rating is one formed over more then one season of consistently good play.
    But I do think he is good and I think his attacking play may be even better then Gibbs as he is Much more mature in when he attacks and HOW he attacks

    Gibbs who attacks like a real left winger at times is fast and makes good overlapping runs But often just ruins his great run with a poor and hopeful cross to no one in particular I was worried when he got lucky to have one of those crosses deflected in for a goal he would do more of that when what he should really be doing is looking to see exactly where his team mates are and then decide who the cross is targeted for ether Giroud in the box or maybe cut the ball back (like Monreal did for Carzola) but regardless you have to AIM and then cross not just whip it in the general direction of the goal mouth and HOPE. Sure sometimes that works but it makes it much harder on the player trying to get on the end of your cross to finish it off with a goal. (and you can’t rely the other team to gift you a own goal)

    So far I rate Monreal as better then Gibbs even if Gibbs does get himself into attacking positions more often during a game his conversion rate on that final ball is still lacking I feel Giroud would have a much better goal record if the crosses sent in for him were accurately hit. Cole was VERY good at that both For Arsenal and Against us. 2 Drogba goals come to mind off 2 perfectly hit crosses from Cole.

    I am a HUGE supporter of efficient players those that may not create a ton of chances per game but always seem to finish the few they do create or get with goals better to have a player that created 3 chances and 2 ended with the ball in the net then a player that created 10 chances but only 1 or none ended with a goal.

    Kind of why I was always a Arshavin Fan even when everyone was So down on him as a being a waste in my opinion no attacker that can score or create a assist that is so well hit it takes a real F-up or a great save by the keeper not to finish it with a goal is ever a waste. Arshavin may seem to be doing little but given one chance it was likely to end with a goal. Some people are saying this about Podolski also that he is drifting out of games but I still rate Podolski very highly also he could be another Ljungberg for us who may not have put in a Henry level number of goals in he did score some really important ones.

    So yes Monreal so far has shown he is the real deal but I am not elevating him to Arsenal Legend just yet.

  109. glic says:

    Here it is guy`s , you thought Terry Stretcher was joking about the microwave and his Philliphino boy !. He just goes under a different name of Mike Strutter, but they are one and the same person as Vicky will testify. I give you Terry Stretcher aka TMHT. hahaha

    # Expect Strong Language #

  110. VCC says:

    GLiC…19:31 πŸ™‚

  111. glic says:

    # Warning # Another Stretch at his best !. hahaha

  112. RockyLives says:

    Nice post Marcus.
    He’s made a promising start and his stats against Villa were excellent.
    Big test on Sunday though!

  113. RockyLives says:

    UMF Predictions…

    Chavs v WBA D
    Everton v Reading H
    ManUre v Naaarch H
    Wiggies v ‘Pool A
    Villa v Citeh A

  114. Milo says:

    I’ve seen Benat from Betis play on about 4-5 occasions. Whoever mentioned him on here first is correct; he would be a great addition!!! I’m not sure how big he is though…I think he’s smaller than Xabi Alonso. IF Coquelin could improve his passing, besides his ability to take a free kick, he’d be at a similar level to Benat. Benat was a relatively late bloomer, and I’m still holding out hope for Coquelin. All he needs to be is patient!!! If he wants to improve while in possession of the football, what better place to learn than at Arsenal???

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post πŸ™‚

    HH compares our key players to Manchester United’s and concludes there is a gap, but not a huge one. No doubt we will have some fine discussions in the next 24 hours or so! πŸ™‚

  116. afc says:

    Monreal’s played 3 matches and as a result arsenal have kept two clean sheets and conceeded only 1 that says it all. Happy not to see santos getting ripped apart and vermalaen looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights at LB. Vermalaen looked awful at lb against Bayern M im sure they noticed it and took advantage of it.

  117. shaggy says:

    Please tell me did you have your brain engaged when writing this article or just simply know nothing about Arsenal and football in general.
    If you had never heard of Vermalean i suppose you never heard of Santi or Per actually it would not surprise me if you had never heard of most of the players at Arsenal. And as you quite obviously are not a Arsenal Supporter by no means you could be or a football lover at all.
    Malaga churn out talented players all the time? Really but did you know they were all mainly brought from other clubs around Europe ! Of course you didn’t why would you !!
    I even would go as far as you never even heard of Arteta !! or even Wilshere when he was in our Youth !! you sort of Supporters are the sort that kill football with your lack of knowledge about the subject.
    You even go as far to to say where your info comes from Youtube.com pmsl you should watch other leagues and teams rather than the Spuds!! I watch all teams around europe i stream loads and would rather get info with my own eyes in a game situation.
    Never heard of Sagna seriously wow !! now that actually is scary as you write these comments with no actual knowledge of the game.
    You say Nacho is the only bright player to sing about this year !! Really ?? I would say he has played well and yes he is quality but who got him Wenger !! Santi is the same player Quality who brought him Wenger !! and then you have Walcoott and who brought him and then we of course have Wilshere and who brought him through Wenger again !! Gibbs is in place to be the next England left back as Jenkinson is going to be the right back of England as well and i ask you who brought these players through Wenger !! I had heard of Viera when he came from Cannes and i had heard of Petit and so many players that Wenger has brought in…. Seems i love football more than most !! I say we have a top top striker in Giroud and i think he has proven tht with his stats this year his first year in the premier even doing better than Henry and Van put together in their same period at the club and that is a fact !! he has 14 goals with 14 assists Henry had 9 and 5 assists at the same point and Van had 4 goals and 2 assists !! and that is a fact !! we have a very good team just needed a season together to get the best out of each other i personally think they have all gelled this season and very well indeed. We will see this team finish stronger than even last year they have turned the corner now !! In Wenger i Trust !! who cares what the rest of you no hopers think !!

  118. shaggy says:

    Milo and Marcus !! wow Could nice comes to mind !! Gibbs will replace Nacho when he is fit are you having a laugh !! you honestly think with Kierans injury list and after what happened with Van that he is actually going to stay let alone play week in week out !! Nacho cost Money Gibbs has not cost anything bar time and wages !! I think Nacho is quality and he loves playing football as Santi does also !! and wilshere and so on !!

    But really Gibbs will be here for maybe another season as cover for Nacho and sharing the Burden of games but after that he will be sold !!
    Sagna has been woeful this season and Jenkinson is twice the player Sagna has and would ever be. Koscielny has struggled to repeat his form of last season and Verms look slike a headless chicken this season and the only player in the centre back position that has impressed this season is the every reliable Per not the faster given bit reading of the game second to none and blocking and tackling err hello !! he has been our star in the centre back position this year by far !! but personally i think Diaby is finished as a player at Arsenal and he knows it !! just hasnt the muscle formation in his body to keep with the rigors of the Premier league !! and that has killed our season yet again !! and that has been the same when Song was here as well !! Song never a Defensive midfielder but a good centre back !! would have been as good as any other in the premier league but saw himself playing higher up the field… I had a player like him a few years ago strong tall fit muscles huge and was a quality defender centre back but thought he was a striker !!

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