It took a while for Spanish international defender Nacho Monreal to nail down a first-team spot at Arsenal. He had to job share at left-back with Kieran Gibbs for a relatively long period.
However, Monreal is now one of the Gunners unsung heroes. The Spaniard may have made an error against Everton in the 5-2 win at Goodison Park in the Gunners last Premier League game, but apart from that mistake, he has barely put a foot wrong this season for a player playing out of position.
Playing as a centre-back
For much of his career, Monreal has played as a left-back or a wing-back on occasions. However, this season his primary role has been in the heart of the defence. Despite playing out of position, Monreal has got on with his job, with the minimal of fuss.
Monreal has always come across as a very good professional, even if he is not the most technically gifted or high-profile player at the club.
The role of centre-back seems to come naturally to the former Malaga star. He is not built like a centre-back, but his positional play and reading of the game make up for his lack of height.
An attacking threat
Monreal has not always been the most productive attacking full-back that Arsenal has had in recent years. He has weighed in with the odd goal or assists down the years, but he has not been that effective in attacking sense.
However, despite playing at centre-back, Monreal has now scored goals in two of his last three Premier League appearances for the Gunners. It seems Monreal playing as a centre-back is good for the Gunners at both ends of the field.
A crucial member of the Arsenal defence
While Arsenal have been inconsistent in defence this season, Monreal has been one of their better performers in the backline. The fact that he has performed better than natural centre-backs Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi at times this season shows his importance to Arsenal’s team, especially when the Gunners plays three at the back.
He may not always get the credit he deserves, so that is why I felt the need to recognise the Spaniard, even if he did produce a bit of a nightmare error at Everton in his last league appearance.
For me, Monreal has been one of Arsenal’s more steady performers and hopefully, he can continue his good displays for the rest of the campaign.
Is Nacho Monreal one of Arsenal’s unsung heroes?