Martin Keown says Arsenal centre-backs should be embarrassed that Nacho Monreal is starting ahead of them.
Monreal was picked alongside Laurent Koscielny in a centre-back pairing against West Ham on Wednesday, in the Gunners’ first use of a back-four this league season. Keown clearly wasn’t impressed with the decision.
“Monreal simply is not a central defender. If I was to be on the bench tonight and I was a specialist centre-half, I would be embarrassed a little bit. Monreal is a very good full-back, but he’s not a central defender.”
In the end, Monreal was the least of Arsenal’s worries. In fact, having him on the pitch probably helped more than it hurt, since the Gunners ended up parked outside the West Ham penalty area trying and failing to make something happen.
I can’t imagine Rob Holding, Calum Chambers or Per Mertesacker being able to provide much more help than the Spaniard in that regard. However, even though they managed to keep a clean sheet, Arsenal were still shaky at the back.
Javier Hernandez was unfortunate not to score late on as the ball bounced back off the bar, and Monreal was culpable earlier in the move as he hesitated waiting for Granit Xhaka to clear, rather than going straight for the ball himself.
There was also an offside goal where neither player got close enough to Marko Arnautovic, but they were saved by a stray leg when the ball was played.
You’d have to think the likes of Chambers and Holding will be very disappointed if they’re still not in the team at the weekend.