Monreal vs. Gibbs: Who Should Feature Regularly In Arsenal Starting XI?

Arsenal fans are filled with joy as they finally beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, the 2-1 win in the FA Cup would be sweeter as ex Man United striker Danny Welbeck scored the game-winning goal but the other goal was scored by Nacho Monreal who has often played out of position for the Gunners.

Monreal was another star last night, but most of the Arsenal team were, the other defender, Kieran Gibbs had another stellar game for Arsenal and once Debuchy is fit enough to take over the right back slot, the question that would probably vex Arsene Wenger would be that which defender should play in the left back position and which defender to drop on the bench?

Did Monreal did enough?

Almost inseparable

Normally when we compare players using Squawka, one player often has played more games than the other and the averages of their performances in various parameters are taken, comparing Gibbs and Monreal is rather easier as the players have each played 20 games.

In terms of the defending aspect of the game, Monreal is a slightly superior player, at least based on the stats. In terms of tackles won per game, Monreal shades the stat in his favor with 1.5 tackles won compared to the 1.4 tackles won per game from Gibbs. The same trend continues in terms of interceptions with the Spanish defender edging out the Englishman by averaging 2.96 interceptions per game to just 2.25 per game from Gibbs.

The major difference in the numbers comes in the fact that Monreal wins more challenges in the air when compared to the rather lightweight (it seems) Gibbs. Monreal wins 2.9 aerial duels per game on an average while Gibbs lags behind with only 1.35 wins per game; this just shows that Monreal is the real deal when it comes to defending from the opposition and Gibbs needs to work on this aspect of his game a lot.

Arsenal players love to pass the ball around and that is no different for their defenders but here as well Monreal fares better than Gibbs. Monreal completes close to 30 forward passes per game but Gibbs only does about 22 forward passes per game on an average, this proves that Monreal provides more passes up the field to the midfield or attackers, while Gibbs provides fewer outlets to the other forward members of the team. Even in terms of pass completion, Monreal scores 85% per game while Gibbs scores a shade lower, 81% per game for the Gunners.

The one stat where Gibbs actually does do better than Monreal is in the chances created as the English defender creates 0.7 chances per game when compared to the 0.45 chances created by Monreal. Gibbs also is sturdier on the pitch as he loses out on just 1.45 tackles per game while Monreal losses around 1.65 tackles per game, indicating that he isn’t the best in one on ones while the ball is on the ground.

The decision would be a tough one to make but purely based on facts, Monreal should get the nod to start more games as left back for Arsenal, however, Arsene can continue playing the pair on opposite sides as it doesn’t look to be detrimental to his side at this moment.