Kieran Gibbs' time to seize the moment at Arsenal

Kieran Gibbs finds himself likely to be starting in Arsenal’s back four when the season kicks off.

Nacho Monreal could miss the start of the new Premier League season with a back problem, which adds to Arsenal’s defensive worries but creates a great opportunity for Kieran Gibbs.

Arsenal’s defensive problems have now escalated with this news adding to the news that Thomas Vermaelen will miss the start of the season, which puts the rest of the defensive unit under immense pressure.

Gibbs may have been fearing that he’d be pushed further down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium following Monreal’s arrival from Malaga and the positive impact he produced in his first few games for the club, but he fought back to play a big role as the pair were rotated by Arsene Wenger.

Competition will help him to raise his performance levels through the rest of pre-season and ensure that he is in with a shot of being Arsenal’s primary left back heading into the new campaign.

Monreal's presence was supposed to give the Gunners new options with Gibbs' tendencies to pick up an injuries, but instead it is the Spaniard who is at risk of missing the season's kick-off.

It’s not a huge gamble on the part of Arsene Wenger because Gibbs made 15 Premier League starts over the 2011/2012 season and 23 starts last season, so he has experience of playing regularly at the top level for the Gunners, and was even called into the England squad.

There have been questions in previous seasons raised over his defensive quality, which he began to answer last year, and going forward he’s as good as any other left back in the division.

His pace and decision making in the final third of the pitch are both superb and both ensure that he is a vital attacking component for Arsenal as they look to maintain pressure over the opposition, pinning them inside their opponent’s final defensive third.

His assist count ended at three assists last season, which was an improvement on no assists from the season before and that’s one area of his attacking game which he should be looking to improve.

He’s still only a very young man at 23-years-old and the club are fortunate he’s playing alongside one of the best defensive units in the Premier League, which helps along the defensive part of his game.

After all, he’s in the squads and in the sides as a defender so that’s the job he needs to be looking to do properly first and foremost.

He can’t let his natural attacking tendencies at full back detract from his basic job as a left back because it’s important he helps the back four to retain their shape, retain their organisation and generally be much harder to break down.

Monreal would have started the season at left back ahead of Gibbs so it’s now down to the England man to prove that he can mix it in the Arsenal team and go on to challenge Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines at national level.

Do you think Gibbs can step up and fill the void?

image: © Ronnie Macdonal

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