Tag Archives: Nacho Monreal

Confessions & Cravings of an Amateur blogger

Now, I know in advance that this will end up as a low-interest post because I’m not offering a splashy title about whom we’re going to splash some cash on in January, but maybe that’s because I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too. If you’re here reading this and read beyond this point, you might actually visit this little blog o’ mine more than occasionally, and you are therefore more inclined to give me the feedback I seek. If you’re not here, all the better for me because I’m therefore somewhat less likely to get the kind of feedback I don’t like. With that in mind, I’ll offer a brief, brief history of why I’m here (while you reconsider why it is exactly that you’re here) and then ask you to weigh in on a few issues. Let’s get to it, shall we?

I started this blog in frustration on the day after we signed Nacho Monreal—31 January 2013. He was our only signing of the winter window, and I was  angry. I didn’t realise at the time that he’d be La Cabra. Perhaps more importantly, I was miserable at work and needed some kind of outlet. Things were going well, so well, in fact, that this blog was nominated to two “Best New Blog” competitions. Mine was the only one-club blog in both; I was competing against numerous committee-blogs that covered numerous clubs. Despite those long odds, I finished second in one and never found out about the other because they apparently never announced a winner. That could have been my big break. Ah well. Anyway, I found a new job and found myself with less time to write. That coincided with the last few years of Wenger’s tenure and all of Emery’s. Maybe feeling inspired by where we are now, I started writing again in mid-October. 

There. I hope that was as brief as I led you to believe. Here’s where I want your help. Below is a Google Form with a few questions. It won’t collect your email or any personal information, but I do hope you’ll give it some thought. If there are other suggestions or critiques that come to mind, leave those in the comments-section below. Be tough but fair.

That brings us to this brief Google Form. It won’t collect anything from you beyond the responses you provide. In addition to the five questions, I hope you’ll consider offering any other thoughts, suggestions, or critiques that come to mind. Thanks in advance! Oh, you can view results after you finish, but you may have to scroll back up here after submitting your responses.

Forget Laca. Forget Auba. When we need a goal, it's La Cabra!

Image result for monreal goal west hamLa Cabra has struck yet again, delivering a crucial equaliser that re-seized the momentum as we won us our first match of the season. His goal, coming minutes after Arnautovic opened the scoring for West Ham on a day when we looked just as likely to score as to concede. What’s remarkable, though, about Monreal’s fourth goal of 2018—third-best in the squad after Aubameyang (10) and Lacazette (6)—is that each and every goal that Monreal has scored for Arsenal has lifted us out of a draw or brought us back to level terms. That’s a stunning stat that shows how vital Monreal has been going forward.

Before we get to the stats, I have to take a moment to apologise to Mr. Monreal. It was after his signing that inspired me to take to bloviating in the first place. To see him establish himself so firmly in our XI (and, sadly, to see that Gibbs has been sold to West Brom, relegated to the Championship) means I know even less that I pretend to know. So it goes.

At any rate, here’s a quick rundown of those notable goals:

  1. 16 March 2013—scores to make 0-1 at Swansea. Arsenal win 0-2.
  2. 9 March 2015—scores to make it 0-1 at Old Trafford in FA Cup quarterfinal. Arsenal win 1-2.
  3. 23 April 2017—scores to make it 0-1 vs. Man City in FA Cup semifinal. Arsenal win 2-1.
  4. 1 October 2017—scores  to make it 0-1 vs. Brighton. Arsenal win 2-0.
  5. 22 October 2017—scores to make it 1-1 at Goodison Park. Arsenal win 2-5.
  6. 20 January 2018—scores to make it 1-0 against Crystal Palace. Arsenal win 4-1 (Monreal assited the second and third goals, but that’s another story for another day).
  7. 30 January 2018—scores to make it 0-1 at Swansea. Arsenal lose 3-1.
  8. 15 February 2018—scores to make it 1-0 vs. Östersunds FK in Europa League knockout. Arsenal win 3-0.
  9. 25 August 2018—down 0-1 to West Ham, Monreal scores the equaliser. Arsenal win 3-1.
Not too shabby, eh? If not for the one loss to Swansea (goal #7), we could really go out on a limb to say that when Monreal scores, Arsenal win; therefore, we should simply redeploy the man as our striker and keep feeding him cross after cross after cross until, inevitably, he scores. Still, his habit of scoring vital goals should be overlooked. Of those ten goals, seven established a lead and three brought us back to level terms, and a record of nine wins, no draws, and just one loss from those ten games is more than you can shake a stick at. There’s no secret to it; scoring first dramatically increases your chances of winning. Still, a fullback who can find a goal that often is a precious asset.
If we can sort out our defensive issues, which looks possible if Guendouzi can continue to impress and Torreira can stabilize the defensive midfield, this should afford both Monreal (and Bellerín) to get into those dangerous positions that much more often. The issue isn’t so much down the flanks anyway. Where we’re still getting exposed is through the middle—witness the goals scored by Arnautovic and Morata, both of which came through the heart of our defence, not to mention the numerous opportunities that Man City, Chelsea, and West Ham found down that same path—so let’s hope that Mustafi, Sokratis, Torreira, Xhaka, and Guendouzi can bed in.

After all, with a bit more steel and structure through the midfield, Monreal, Bellerín, Kolašinac, and Lichsteiner should find more opportunities to cross, to assist, to score, all without exposing us to counters (fingers crossed). 

Arsenal 4:1 West Ham—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

In a strangely subdued performance, one that in no way reflected the significance of a week in which a manager of 22 years announced his retirement, Arsenal labored for 80-odd minutes before finally rising to the occasion. Nacho Monreal opened the second half with a scuffed finish from Xhaka’s corner, but it wasn’t until the 81st minute that we could feel at all settled. Ramsey sent in a cross that Aubameyang dummied a header for, bamboozling Hart (who had been excellent). Late on, Lacazette found a brace that left it at 4-1, and we could sit back, relax, and enjoy it. Well, let’s get down to the poll!

Östersunds FK 0-3 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal strolled to a comfortable, cozy win over Swedish hosts Oestersunds FK, braving the frigid temperature to waltz away in the first leg. Goals from Monreal, OG, and Özil eased jangled nerves. Pity that the OG stands for “Own Goal” rather than Olivier Giroud. The away-goals should be more than enough to carry us through the second leg in the event that we somehow out-Arsenal ourselves by succumbing to a massive comeback from the visiting underdog. I wouldn’t put it past us, much like Ospina wouldn’t let Oestersunds put anything past him. Aha. Ha. Let’s move on and get down to the poll…

Swansea 3-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Well, that was unexpected. After all of the hype and excitement of adding Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, Arsenal arrived at Liberty Stadium and promptly laid an egg against the Swans. At least it wasn’t a goose-egg, if you don’t mind my mixing metaphors. Monreal salvaged a tattered scrap of dignity by briefly putting us ahead. However, horrific defending allowed Swansea an easy equalizer—and without suggesting any blame—Mkhitaryan came on and bore witness to a god-awful comedy of errors as Čech squibbed an easy clearance directly into Ayew’s path, and it was 2-1. We never really showed any fightback after that, and we deserved the result—the beating, really. I just hope the ink is dry on Auba’s contract. He might be reconsidering his options. Feh. Let’s get down to the poll.