Arsene Wenger told 31-year-old Spaniard ‘vital’ to Arsenal defence

Nacho Monreal has been a rock in the Arsenal defence over the past two or three seasons, according to Garth Crooks

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal Photo: Nacho Monreal / Instagram

Garth Crooks has hailed Nacho Monreal as a vital component in the Arsenal defence.

The versatile Spain international has been a regular in the Gunners team over the past three or four seasons.

Arsenal have endured a string of injury problems at the back over the past two or three seasons.

Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi have all been sidelined for a spell due to a fitness problem.

However, Monreal has been ever present in the Arsenal team to provide at least some stability at the back.

The 31-year-old was a key player on Saturday as Arsenal secured a much-needed 4-1 win against Crystal Palace at The Emirates last weekend.

Former Spurs forward Crooks heaped praise on Monreal following his composed performance at the back.

“Whenever I’ve selected this player [in team of the week], it is usually because he’s scored a goal,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“However, it would be grossly unfair of me to limit Nacho Monreal’s qualities to his ability to occasionally put the ball in the back of the net.

“The Spaniard has been a pivotal defender for Arsenal for some years now, and his all-round game can only be described as infectious. I’ve described him before as a defender who plays as though his life depends on it, and so it proved against Crystal Palace.”

Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League titles since 2003-04 when Arsene Wenger had the luxury of calling upon esteemed centre-halves such as Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure and Martin Keown.

The Gunners signed Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac in a free transfer from Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 in the summer transfer window.

The north London side finished in fifth place in the Premier League table last term but won the FA Cup to end the campaign on a positive note.

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