Pundit: This defender has always impressed me despite Arsenal’s struggles

Garth Crooks singles out Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal for praise

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal Photo: Nacho Monreal/Instagram

Garth Crooks has singled out Nacho Monreal for praise after Arsenal’s 2-1 extra-time win against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.

The Arsenal defender created the assist for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s equaliser in the second half at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Alexis Sanchez scored an extra-time winner to secure the north London side’s place in their third FA Cup final in four seasons under Arsene Wenger.

Monreal has scored two goals in 29 appearances in the Premier League in the 2016-17 season so far, making the left-back spot his own.

Arsenal have struggled in the Champions League and the Premier League in the second half of the campaign under the management of Wenger.

Writing in his BBC Sport column about Monreal’s performance in the FA Cup semi-final and over the course of the 2016-17 season, Crooks said:

“The player who has impressed me during the difficult times at the Emirates has been Nacho Monreal.

“He always appears to play the game as though his life depends on it – regardless of the circumstances.

“Monreal wouldn’t rank in my top 10 all-time Arsenal full-backs but against Manchester City that didn’t matter. He did what he always does and that is stick to the task. However, what I don’t expect to see from Monreal are big goals in the big games.”

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Arsenal are in sixth place in the Premier League table in the hunt to secure a place in next season’s Champions League competition.

The Gunners lost 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16.

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