Monreal returns to first team training

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Nacho Monreal took part in first team training this afternoon leading to suggestions he could be part of Arsenal’s squad to face Manchester United tomorrow evening.

The Spain international has been suffering from a hamstring problem and hasn’t been seen in action since we beat Fulham 5-1 at Craven Cottage in early October.

11 days ago, Arsenal’s medical team ruled the left-back out of action for a further two weeks.

Given the busy schedule, we can only hope that Nacho has finally overcome the worst of his fitness issues and can provide support to Sead Kolasinac who, in his absence, has produced both very good and slightly dodgy performances.

Unai Emery knows he’ll have to slightly rejig his starting lineup at Old Trafford with Granit Xhaka suspended. It could mean a start for Matteo Guendouzi alongside Lucas Torreira.

After their impressive cameos off the bench against Sp*rs, both Aaron Ramsey and Alex Lacazette will also be hoping to pile the misery on Jose Mourinho’s underperforming Red Devils.

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Romford Pele
Romford Pele

Mr. Consistent

Pedant
Pedant

If we keep three at the back then I’m happier with Kolasinac.

Especially, we need Monreal for the rest available of the season. So let’s not rush him back against a mid-table side.

yen
yen

Monreal is also a good back up option for the back three! I like the absolute unpredictability of his movement when he decides to go forward from this position, switching his position with LWB temporarily.

PeteyB
PeteyB

Agreed. I seem to recall him scoring a bunch of goals from the LCB position when we played with 3 at the back last year. If he is fit and Mustafi isn’t it could be a good swap… Though I suppose Lichtsteiner, or dare I say Carl Jenkinson could do a job at RCB and then we’d not need to shift Rob Holding.

What’s the latest on Kos? Was he not with the U21s at the weekend?

A Different George
A Different George

It looks like Mustafi is available–not even included in the medical updates (both Monreal and Koscielny are listed as being assessed ahead of Man United). So, when we have a safe lead in the second half, Koscielny can get a few minutes in.

Martin
Martin

Koscielny played for 85 mins in the Checkatrade trophy match against Portsmouth tonight so he certainly will not be considered

High gooner
High gooner

why not play with a back three AND nacho?
A back three of Nacho- Sokratis – Holding with Mustafi on the bench and Kolasinac as wing back? but not quite yet because Mustafi has been ok lately and Nacho has to be eased in to action..

Almunia4Pires
Almunia4Pires

Good. You can’t have enough left backs in a squad.

hosehead75
hosehead75

My favorite current Arsenal player. Glad he is on the mend. Hope he can make the bench.

I would love to see Ramsey start. He likes a winner against that lot.

Richie

I would like to see Lacazette and Ramsey start the match, with Ozil, Iwobi, and Mkhitaryan decent options from the bench.

Santori
Santori

That’s good news.

No Jekinson…he is average.

That said, Kolasinac has been superb.

As mentioned before it has not been an issue of laziness rather he was just returning from lengthy lay off and needed to get to grips with the position. Particularly, he tends not to get the protection when Auba is playing wide left particularly in the more traditional fullback role.

Emery has been doing the sensible thing and playing him as a wing back both to take advantage of his better attacking instincts as well as to benefit Aubameyang with the sort of passes behind the defense from the wide areas.

BUT it also allows the player to build up the confidence so he can revert back to a fullback role better as he builds up his defensive acumen again.

So its beeen an effective and pragmatic measure.

That said, if we play Kolasinac in at fullback in a flat back four, I would strongly consider playing Iwobi on similar flank to offer the Bosnian better protection as he continues to work into the role again.

Ozenal
Ozenal

Maitland Niles’ performances and understanding of playing left back make him suited to take the left sided midfield pivot role that Xhaka has been playing. And also being better able to cover for Sead’s wanderings upfront.

I’d really like to see that happen. Although we could even see a wildcard play here with someone more physical to combat the potential Fellaini show by man marking him wherever he goes, as that cynical manager of his will ensure Fellaini will match up against Torreira or Bellerin. My bet would be Kolasinac to man mark him using his upper body strength to outmuscle him.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

If Fellaini is taking on Bellerin, why would it be a good idea for Kolasinac to man-mark him? You’d end up with the whole of the left side of the pitch empty.

Mesut O'Neill
Mesut O'Neill

🎶 For the first time in forever 🎶 I don’t dread going to Old trafford. We may not win but I the team doesn’t seem scared like they used to

Santori
Santori

Hopefully we don’t do anything stupid tomorrow.

Sokratis has to be careful as does all other Cbacks not to give away silly free kicks (Even if they were frankly soft calls) and Holding has to not dive in in the box. IMagine if they were Mustafi.

Double standards much?

The other thing is hopefully Leno’s handling is better. Again if it were Cech….there would be a lot more criticism.