Liverpool‘s dominant 5-1 victory over Arsenal was due to many factors, but one that mustn’t be ignored is the poor performances by Arsene Wenger‘s fullbacks. Brendan Rodgers perhaps didn’t even plan to target those areas, but as the attacks and game quickly unfolded, it was both Bacary Sagna and Nacho Monreal who were largely at fault for Liverpool’s destruction of the visitors.
With Sagna’s contract running out at the end of the season, it’s fair to say that he showed little evidence as to why he should be offered a new one, or at least anything longer than the originally reported one-year offer that he supposedly turned down. He was all over the place from the first minute, showing a lack of awareness and urgency to track back.
Per Mertesacker paid for Sagna’s slow start, but the striking point is that his consistency of being out of position endured the entire afternoon. Liverpool could have added several more goals to their tally with Sagna not even being in his own half when the play got going.
Monreal was at his worst since arriving in January last year. His inclusion over Kieran Gibbs has come perhaps of a combination of decent form and the plan to give Gibbs a rest. But today, there was no question in my mind as to who is the better left-back. He was weak, out of position and read the game poorly. Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge thrived upon his poor game and showed up his lack of pace compared to them too.
Gibbs will surely come back into the side on Wednesday against Manchester United. Earlier in the season, he was at his peak of his career with performances that haven’t been seen at Arsenal for many years. Monreal’s character was poor, and you can’t help but feel that Gibbs is far better suited to being the first choice left-back who the club can depend on.
Monreal is a good squad player, but I’m not sure he is anything more than that. Liverpool was a big game at a tough stadium. He failed to prove he is capable to being relied on in such pressure, and his and Sagna’s lack of concentration was a key area in a poor display from Wenger’s side.