On Saturday I spoke about people moaning after a win. And that when you win, you should be out on the booze, enjoying yourself, rather than moaning online till midnight from your keyboard, this still does not mean that you can criticise constructively. and there is one players form this season that has been particularly worrying. That of Nacho Monreal.
Even before the weekends performance, where the defence looked ropy, there was already some concern around Nacho Monreal.
Not blessed with the extreme pace many a full back now has, he has always been more of a Bacary Sagna of the left. Strong defensively, strong positionally, and the ability to pass and cross. but this season he has struggled.
He has been beaten numerous times too easily on the outside. Average wingers seem to be blasting past him without much effort. And he seems to be diving into challenges with poor decision making. Perhaps a sign that he lacks confidence in himself. Committing early on to the challenge in the hope if he does not win the ball, at least he is being beat high up the pitch.
This leads to situations like the weekend, where he was beaten all too easily by some winger who I have never heard of, will never hear of again, and can’t even bother to Google who he was. The result was a simple tap in.
Some of the blame must be pointed to the man ahead of him, Alex Iwobi.
Iwobi has shown a lot going forward this season, and is fully deserving of a lot of hype and praise, but defensively he does not offer much. Monreal has been spoilt for the last two years having Alexis Sanchez ahead of him, and Iwobi needs to do a bit more.
But ultimately, it comes down to Monreal. He has had some average points in a decent Arsenal career so far, but recent performers show why Arsenal did consider signing a new left back in the summer.
I fully expect Kieran Gibbs to get a run out mid week in the Champions League.
No matter how the press might report it, Arsenal are in the title race. And what a title race it is looking to be.
If Man U beat Liverpool tonight, there will be 3 points between 1st and 6th. It might only be 8 games in, ad without going down the Sky Sports hyperboil, we could be on the verge of a legendary title race.
It is the usual 6 suspects who are up there, but they would have got there in different ways, and can be cut into two groups.
Firstly you have the darlings. These three teams have been “setting a thrilling Premier League pace.” Man City, Spurs and Liverpool.
Had you been on holiday to a far flung place where you get newspapers 2 weeks after they were printed, you’d think Man City were running away with it. That they were Champions Elect. But people have short memories. Last season they won their first 5 games. They finished 4th. This year they won their first 6 games. And have already been reeled back in.
We have that lot up the road. Unbeaten. Only conceded 1 goal from open play. The media are willing them on. Talk of an invincible season after just 8 games. Yet they sit 3rd.
Then we come onto Liverpool. Victory tonight sees them join the top 2 on 19 points. But the way the press have been going on, you would think that they had won 7 from 7 so far. They haven’t. They lost against Burnley…
We also have 3 crisis clubs. Although they are not really in a crisis.
Arsenal sit 2nd in the league on goal difference (joint top?) and continually to frustrate the bitter critics. Rumours last week were that Antonio Conte was about to be sacked. They are 3 points off top. And with all the talk of Jose Mourinho having an imbalanced squad and a useless captain who should be dropped by club and country, they could find themselves just 3 points off the lead by bedtime.
It is hotting up at the top.
Liverpool v Man U
Bit harsh of the Premier League to schedule a Monday night game during a Champions League week…
With all the BS in the summer, one man got me a bit more excited than the other many, many men. That was Mauro Icardi. His age, his ability, his leadership, his playing style, he looked perfect for Arsenal. The deal was not done and Icardi is still an Inter player. Still Inter Milan’s captain.
His recently publish autobiography (he is 24, why does he have a book out? At least we now know it isn’t just an English problem) slammed the Inter Milan Ultra’s and put his future at the club in jeopardy.
Signing someone of Icardi’s talent in January could be a game changer. Could make Arsenal champions.