The season’s impression: two for the left

By Walter Broeckx

Continuing our series where we give our impression on the different positions and the players linked to this position we move over to the left.

And there we find one player who played most of the matches and that was Kieran Gibbs and his back up was Nacho Monreal. Let us start with Kieran.

Despite being called injury-prone he had a rather fine season. And despite Arsenal having many, many, many, many, many….injuries it was a relatively injury free season for Gibbs. In fact when we look at his starts and sub appearances he had the most ever in his career. 24 starts in the PL and 4 times coming on as a sub. And if we include the FA cup matches and European matches to this he had a total of 34 starts and 7 times he came up as a sub. So being involved in 41 matches is new ground for Gibbs.

Gibbs is playing at a position that for some inexplicable reason I just love. I love seeing left backs running up and down the line and causing problems for the opposition. I like it much more than right backs. Even though I am right footed myself I can’t find any obvious reason to like the left backs more than the right backs. But for me there is nothing more beautiful than the left back joining the attack and assisting other players to score.

Gibbs has excellent technical ability, he is quick and he defends rather well for a converted midfielder. One of the names that is not really likely that you look for when the team sheet is out but when I see his name I feel confident. The London born lad will do his best each time we play.

He loves going forward. And at times you can be critical about it when we get caught on a counter attack. But his runs forward on the other hand cause usually a lot of trouble for the opposition. And I like a left back that attacks. As I like attacking football.

Is there anything bad to say about Gibbs? Yes there is. And this is something that is related to not just him but to most left footed footballers. They don’t use their right foot. Unless it is used to run around a bit of course. You would be amazed how much better you can run using both feet compared to just using one foot. I know one of our readers will nod in agreement and say that he has said it a dozen times before. And I agree with him.

Like in the FA cup final Gibbs could have saved us from extra time. He only needed to use his right foot and side foot a ball in to the goal but he wanted to take the ball to his left foot, giving the defenders time to close in on him and the keeper time to come rushing back to him and then he had to hurry his left foot shot and put it over the bar. I think he will have seen that moment running over and over again whenever he closed his eyes in the days after the cup final. He could and should have been the one that brought us the FA cup.

I wouldn’t be surprised if last summer Ramsey had been practising his finishing all the time. Maybe Gibbs could use this summer to kick the ball only with his right foot and make him that little bit better with that weaker foot. And then he would be awesome as it would make him much more difficult to defend against.

The other player at left back that we used was Monreal. The Spanish left back only had 13 starts in the PL and came on as a sub in 10 other matches.  Including all the matches he had 20 starts and 16 times he came on as a sub. So that makes that he had playing times in 36 matches last season.

Not bad for the second choice left back. As it seems that for the moment the balance has swung in favour of Gibbs at that position. I think this is because Gibbs offers more attacking wise. Monreal will not do too many stupid things and is also rather reliable in his defending. And he isn’t afraid to take a card for the team when it is needed.

Monreal is also a bit slower than Gibbs. But I think he knows it and so he doesn’t move up field as much as Gibbs usually does. But that then results in less attacking movement on that flank. Not that easy to decide who to play but the preference seems to go to Gibbs most of the time and that is by coincidence a choice I agree with.

But with Gibbs needing a rest from time to time we have a good backup ready in Monreal.

Finally both players have been ignored by the manager of their country. I can imagine that both players wanted more and wanted to be with their national team. But me as an Arsenal supporter I can only be happy with this. This means that certainly in the case of Gibbs he will be fit and fresh and he will benefit from this break in the next season. That is something I am rather sure of. And maybe he could use that extra spare time now to practice his right foot.


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14 Replies to “The season’s impression: two for the left”

  1. He’s another one who started as a left winger and loves to get into those forward positions. He may never have come to us if Wimbledon had not moved to Milton Keynes and disbanded their academy.

  2. It would be a great invention Ollie 🙂

    I sure would pay for it.

  3. Also off topic: the club have announced officially (BBC Radio 5live) that they will not be bidding for Cesc, although I can’t find anything on the dot com about it.

  4. It’s not even the arsenal negativity The vast majority of commentators/pundits say so much, yet say nothing at all.

  5. Apparently no cesc or aurier. stated by Ivan apparently oldgroover.

  6. So that will be it then. As it has been the habit of Gazidis to say who they are targeting to supporters on supporters meetings….

  7. Maybe not such a bad thing about Aurier, as he would be off to the ACON next year.

  8. Walter,
    Not for the first time, your summing up of Gibbs was masterly.
    If he could use that right boot a bit he would surely be in the England party en route for Rio.

  9. I can assure you that Monreal was “absolutely devastated” to miss the World Cup. A regular in the squad for the last 2-3 years but eased out at the last minute.

  10. Gibbs is a boss LB. I also do feel a little more sure when he is playing, although Monreal is not a bad backup either. Hope they can share that position all season, giving each other a rest when needed.

  11. When I think of the players we have for that position , I quite satisfied that we have quality in depth . Even TV is an accomplished player in that position ,that is if he stays .

    @ Ollie Hackney June 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm – I do hope that it’ll be in millions of Arsenal fans’ Christmas stockings !

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