Injuries to key players forced Arsene Wenger to think outside the box in relation to his defence for the Champions League match against Anderlecht last night.
He made the decision to move Nacho Monreal onto the left hand side of central defence with Kieran Gibbs playing the more conventional left-back role.
When Andy Najar put the Belgian side ahead it looked like the enforced change had failed but two late goals stole the three points for Arsenal as they backed up a victory against Galatasaray.
So how did Monreal get on playing as a centre back?
|Position||Team||Outfielder Block||Total Tackle||Effective Clearance||Aerial Won||Accurate Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
His positioning was spot on and that allowed him to make three key outfield blocks during the game, complimenting his timing which was also great with five tackles over the 90 minutes.
He also won key aerial challenges and while that’s never going to be his main strength, he got stuck in and defended well when Anderlecht’s attacking players drifted onto him and looked to exploit Arsenal in the air.
It’s difficult for any player to perform in a position that he’s not familiar with, but Monreal took the sensible option of going with no nonsense defending and his six effective clearances suggest he did his job properly.
His accurate passing stats were also quite high, but that shouldn’t be a major surprise considering he’s a Gunner, with Arsenal preferring a heavily pass based game in the Premier League and in Europe.
In conclusion, it wasn’t ideal but he played sensibly at centre back and Wenger shouldn’t hesitate over using him again there in the future.