Gooners, I hope all is well…
My thoughts and ramblings about our new Spanish acquisition..
Nacho Monreal, the deadline day signing from Malaga made his debut on Saturday against Stoke and to say I was impressed is an understatement. The Spanish international was solid, a dependable reassuring presence. I personally felt very comfortable when he had the ball at his feet. His positioning was fantastic; spreading and squeezing the play when we had the ball. He made his debut look effortless.
Arsene on Monreal’s debut “I am happy that we didn’t conceded and the defence looked solid. Nacho had a good start. he got stronger and stronger.”
“There is no better culture shock than Stoke when you come from Spain! They had a very physical game and I think he dealt well with it.”
He is a typical Arsene signing, in regards of being relatively unknown, a fantastic technician and very intelligent player. His arrival gave some fan’s, ‘that buzz’. Other’s just gave them a sigh of relief something was eventually done. If you haven’t seen him play before, sit back, enjoy the ride. I’ve been thinking this for a while, but has our transfer policy has been tweaked? In year’s gone by, Arsene would have went for younger, less experienced talent – Usually just to fend off the ‘European Big Guns’. Like our other incomings this season, Monreal, 26, is coming into his ‘best years’. Has Arsene just realised his mistakes from previous years, or is he just exploiting the current finanical climate?
Nacho played in La Liga now for many years and is a very experienced footballer. He came through the youth ranks with Osasuna. He made his debut for his hometown club, Osasuna at Valencia CF, on October 22nd 2006. The following season he became Osasuna’s first-choice left back. Later on that year he was also selected for the Spanish U-21′s. His steady rise with Los Rojillos secured him a move to big spending Malaga in 2011, where he went on to sign a five-year contract. The transfer was a blessing in disguise for Arsenal – Due to financial problems, owing Osasuna the majority of his transfer fee. They had to sell…
Pelligrini on the sale of the Spaniard – “Monreal’s exit is a very sad moment for the team. It deprives us of a very important player who performed to the highest standards. Unfortunately, the reality of the club is what it is, and there is no way of hiding it. It was an option that came up at the last-minute, and the club thought it was appropriate. I understand they have to try to balance the books, because the pressure is on us from all sides, and we have received punishments. It is a major loss to us in sporting terms.”
For me, the most promising thing about Nacho Monreal – He is actual full-back. NOT a converted winger. Like the fantastic Jordi Alba. It’s no surprise then that he has very strong defensive skills. All the key ingredients. He’s physical (As Jonathan Walters discovered), tactically and positionally astute, and his ability to read the game and the necessary tackle is great. He also has fantastic speed to allow ‘recovery’ incase of any errors made. As we saw on Saturday, Monreal is very good going forward. He can link up well with the attack and once he gains the confidence of his team mates he will excel and be a fine player for Arsenal.
Im not usually a fan of stats because I feel they can cloud your judgement and prevent you from creating your own opinion on a subject, and generally I feel they don’t tell the whole story… But, these make for some great reading and back up my points.
Nacho Monreal’s: Stats against Stoke: 85% pass completion, 3 aerial duels won (+ 1 bludgeoned Walters), 1 keypass, 2 interceptions, 5 clearances, 1 dribble, 3 crosses and a final match rating of 7.33 (Via WhoScored)
Plus – 34% of our attacks went down our left hand-side and as expected he spent most of his time ‘hanging around’ the half way line. Exciting stuff considering it was just his debut..
His intelligence and all round play was the most impressive. He seemed very calm and calculated when under pressure. He made very ‘quick-witted’ runs, a lot inside as well as overlapping, which was very interesting and encouraging. His one touch passing, Keeping it short and simple mentality is something we have longed for, for such a long time. It was very refreshing to watch. One of my ‘bugbears’ with the Arsenal team in the last two years is our inability to keep hold of the ball and dominate possession. Something we’ve lacked since Nasri was sold. Having that man out wide to help recycle the ball. Nacho gave us a kick in the right direction also helping dominate possession and help fill the void. Very encouraging and an enjoyable to watch at points when we had possession of the football. He managed three crosses during the game, very dangerous and equally precise. Very accomplished technician. You could see the whites of Giroud’s eyes light up! Very beneficial – Having that option to play to the frenchman’s strengths is something most gooners would welcome with open arms.
Nacho Monreal on his style of play “Arsenal like to keep the ball, which is beneficial for me and I like this part of the team’s game. I love playing with the ball at my feet, short, sharp touches, and good movement.
I think Arsenal do have certain elements of Spanish football philosophy. The Spanish people know that there are players of great quality in this team and I hope we can play good football.”
As seen on Saturday, Monreal will/did fit easily into Arsenal’s style of football. As like Santi, he has seemed to make the transition look very easy. It was Partly down to Stoke’s negative approach – He wasn’t put under constant pressure like he will be against better attacking units – but still impressive, when called upon.
He’ll be fine competition for Kieron Gibbs and I hope his arrival will put pressure on Kieran to improve his game and ease the pressure off him also. If Nacho can build up a relationship with Podolski, as Gibbs already has, we are in for some serious combination play. We have two very good left backs….
Cheers For reading,