Perhaps having been virtually invisible the past two seasons had been a blessing in disguise; we all have that co-worker who goes about his daily routine in what seems nothing short of auto-pilot mode, cruise control if you will. Not necessarily in any spotlight nor praised for his consistent contributions to the goals of the company yet never seems to do quite enough to earn his name on a plaque or even a shout out from the boss at the annual retreat. As fate would have it, however, he’s always there for your convenience. Need a stapler? Count on him, your computer froze and you didn’t save your files? He somehow knows a hack to retrieve them, can’t find your wallet during lunch break? He packs an extra sandwich seemingly for this very occurrence.
His name? Ignacio Monreal Eraso, Nacho for short. He provides the quiet stability which is essential to defensive camaraderie, particularly in a back line which has seen it’s fair share of shakeups. Often overlooked are his timely tackles, key interceptions and frequent dominance against opposing wings.
His provisions however aren’t enough it seems to overshadow what seems so be a major deficiency in the grand scheme of Arsenal which may very well cost him in the coming days just as it has in the past, both within the club as well as internationally. Offensively he’s shown strong capabilities going forward, however, compared to the glaring contrast of attacking prowess showcased on the opposite wing by his countryman it’s obvious he’s not nearly as productive in that area.
Aesthetics aside, he’s more than earned his place as a starter as you’d be hard pressed to find a more reliable left back in England, which seems to be key in Wenger opting to play him more than Gibbs whom while a talented defender and better in the attack, specifically on counters still remains in somewhat of an enigmatic phase.
We’ve seen enough performances out of Nacho to justify him keeping his place, fans however and rightfully so are drooling at the idea of having Ricardo Rodriguez take over that role as he is undoubtedly more suited for the attack and provides other dimensions which can’t possibly be overlooked. Good dilemma? It’s a dilemma nonetheless and the mercurial pundits and fanatics alike from Gunners support groups worldwide will take no prisoners in the event Rodriguez doesn’t quite fit as projected, which to be honest never seems to faze “Lé Boss” nor does it add any noticeable pressure towards his decision making. It will be interesting, however, to see where he goes with this, both from a fans perspective as well as just a purely footballing one. One thing is for certain, however. No matter who receives the nod, someone will be undeservedly left back.