STATS: Forget Alexis - Versatile defender was Arsenal's outstanding player v Sunderland

Spanish defender Nacho Monreal shone during Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal put in an impressive performance as the Gunners downed Sunderland 2-0 at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Gunners went into the match with a number of problems as various injuries plus their league struggles have accounted for a lacklustre start to the campaign.

The North Londoners, however, managed to put their troubles to one side as they claimed a credible 2-0 victory thanks to a brace from Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean international was superb throughout, but arguably the real star of the day for Wenger’s side was makeshift defender Nacho Monreal as the Spaniard impressed at centre-back.

The natural left-back has often found himself on the bench in recent months deputising for first-choice full-back Kieran Gibbs.

Due to a number of injuries ahead of the clash at Sunderland, the former Malaga man was forced to step in alongside centre-back Per Mertesacker in place of the injured Laurent Koscielny.

  TeamPosTackles WonInterceptions WonEffective ClearancesErrors Leading To ShotsPass CompletionAppsMins
Nacho Monreal Arsenal DF 1 5 9 0 80.6% 1 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Monreal performed well throughout and contributed both defensively and in possession.

He made just the one tackle but also provided five interceptions and a whopping nine clearances – more than anybody else on the pitch.

Following the injury sustained to Gibbs, former Barcelona youth product Hector Bellerin entered the field and Monreal slotted back into his natural left-back position without fuss.

The 28-year-old has long been linked with a move back to La Liga following his absence from the Arsenal XI and Basque outfit Athletic Bilbao are said to be keen admirers.

His use in the Gunners’ squad though is evident and with his ability to perform at centre-back when needed, it gives Wenger valuable cover in more than one position.

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