i Newspaper journalist, Jonathan Liew, has written a great piece on the unsung Arsenal hero that is Nacho Monreal but he’s got one fact wrong…
Liew has finally noticed what Arsenal fans have been harping on about for years now: Monreal is a really good player and a massive part of the Gunners’ starting line-up.
The journalist wonderfully describes the 31-year-old’s versatility and what he brings to Arsene Wenger’s side after the initial apprehension Arsenal fans felt towards him when he first joined from Malaga in 2013.
“So when Monreal emerged at the very last minute out of a fog of inaction, Arsenal fans were unsure how to react,” Liew writes.
“This was not the marquee signing they craved. Few, indeed, had heard of him. And yet, this was real money, being spent on a real first team player, a signing for the present rather than the future. Monreal was thus greeted with a curious cocktail of emotions – instinctively underwhelmed and yet secretly quite grateful.
“That precarious balance would sum up Arsenal fans’ response to Monreal over the following five years: broadly positive, few complaints, and yet were Arsenal to splash out on an expensive replacement, few would mourn. He would do for now, until someone better came along.”
The only part where Liew and I disagree is the journo claims the Spaniard has only hit this kind of form over the last “few months”, which isn’t true at all since Monreal has probably been one of the Gunners’ most consistent players for two or three years now.
“And yet, over the last few months, Monreal’s performances have begun to upset that precious balance,” Liew continues. “His versatility was a big part of making Wenger’s switch to a three-man defence work.
“Maybe there is less focus on him because he is not English. Or maybe he is not enough on social networks and a big part of why Wenger has switched back to a four in recent weeks. He offers solidity in the centre, creativity on the flanks and physicality in the air.”
Liew goes on to reiterate what Wenger recently said about Monreal being a silent leader. The type of player who comes to work, does his job well and goes home without expecting a pat on the back.
That’s the type of player youngsters should be trying to emulate.
And he’s right.
If every player coming through the ranks took their job as seriously as Monreal or played with as much passion as he does, Arsenal would be unstoppable.