Nacho Monreal highlights what has helped halt Arsenal slump

Nacho Monreal

The Spanish full-back says the Gunners have started building from the back as a team in recent weeks.

Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal has told the club's official website that it is the team's improvement in defending as a unit and building from the back which has helped to get the club back on track.

The Gunners had won just two of their last eight Premier League matches after the home defeat to Swansea City on 2 March, before battling back to draw 2-2 with rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby at White Hart Lane.

There were more setbacks after that result, with the club losing in Barcelona to confirm their Champions League exit and crashing out of the FA Cup with a home quarter-final defeat to Watford.

However, an assured performance saw them finally return to winning form before the international break with a 2-0 victory at Everton as they look to make up ground on Spurs and league leaders Leicester City.

Monreal believes that improved result was a consequence of the team's work on defending as a unit and turning possession over for their gifted attacking players.

The Spaniard told the club's website: "You need to be a complete team across the board and when we don’t have the ball we have to put the hard work in, defend as a team and stick together because then when we recover possession, we have players capable of bringing out the magic inside them and making us a really dangerous side.

"In that regard the match [against Everton] was perfect. The first half was fantastic in every sense - we performed very well both with and without the ball. We barely gave them any chances, as soon as we lost the ball we were able to win it back straight away because our positioning was good and we were pressing really well.

"We study our opposition closely throughout the week to identify where we think we can hurt them. Aside from keeping possession and taking the easy option, you have to try to target the opposition’s weaknesses to work a scoring opportunity and score the goal that makes the difference and secures you the three points."

When Premier League action returns this weekend after a two-week break, the Gunners will resume 11 points behind Leicester, albeit with a game in hand over the league leaders.

They face a rematch against Watford at the Emirates on Saturday as they look for some form of vengeance for their FA Cup exit, before making the trip across London to Upton Park to play high-flying West Ham United.

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