- Premier League
Wenger tips Gibbs to take fight to Monreal
Arsene Wenger is backing Kieran Gibbs to step up to the challenge of fighting with Nacho Monreal for the left-back berth at Arsenal.
Gibbs was long viewed as the natural successor to the departed Gael Clichy but a series of injuries halted his progress and Wenger moved to bring in Monreal in the January transfer window.
The arrival of Spain international Monreal led to questions about the position of Gibbs at the club, but Wenger feels the reaction from the England international has been positive and expects the pair to spur each other on in the months ahead.
"I think this season has been, despite the fact that he was in doubt for a while, a step up season for him," Wenger told Arsenal's official website about Gibbs. "He has improved a lot, has put his personality into the games, which was sometimes a bit of a problem for him.
"He has authority, he is decisive going forward, and in games where we were struggling a bit like Swansea in the cup he turned up and was the one who brought the pressure on the opponent.
"He is ready for the fight. I did it because I believe you never know with only one left back. You need two."
Wenger believes that as well as the pair spurring each other on, there is the option of Arsenal deploying them in the same side.
He said: "And as well because both can play one in front of the other, so there's an opportunity to use them both in some games."