Tag Archives: retention

Nacho Monreal – how did he fare on Arsenal debut?

How did Nacho Monreal fare on his Arsenal debut Sportsmail analyses his display

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

23:24 GMT, 3 February 2013

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UPDATED:

08:11 GMT, 4 February 2013

Nacho Monreal made a winning start to his Arsenal career as Lukas Podolski handed Arsene Wenger’s men a slender 1-0 win over Stoke.

So how did the 8.3million deadline day signing from Malaga, who is tipped to replace Kieran Gibbs as the club’s first-choice left back, cope in Saturday’s Premier League debut

Ball retention

Arsenal’s game is all about keeping the ball and Monreal will have no problem fitting into Arsene Wenger’s style. There was nothing extravagant about the Spaniard’s passing. He kept it simple, playing short passes inside to his centre backs or midfielders instead of attempting anything risky or penetrative.

His one-touch game is excellent and he looked comfortable in possession, but would you expect anything else from a Spain international

Team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said: ‘He is very good on the ball, comfortable, technically brilliant and a very good defender.’

Comfortable: Nacho Monreal was happy to receive the ball to feet

Comfortable: Nacho Monreal was happy to receive the ball to feet

Going forward

The 26-year-old was sparing with his bursts forward, but when he did make a foray looked a real threat.

His pace over 10 to 20 yards had Stoke right back Ryan Shotton worried and his combination play with Jack Wilshere before putting in a cross that narrowly eluded Olivier Giroud will fill Arsenal fans with optimism.

Defending

Monreal will have more strenuous tests to come as Stoke struggled to carry a sustained attacking threat.

On the whole he was defensively sound. Competent in the air, particularly for a man under 6ft, and strong in the tackle, he knew when to clear or pick out a pass. Yet at times he allowed opponents too much space to cross.

Rearguard action: Nacho is little but a good addition to the backline

Rearguard action: Nacho is little but a good addition to the backline

Concentration

Intelligent enough to keep things simple on his debut. It was clear he was playing within himself, but there were a couple of lapses of concentration. The first came towards the end of the first half when, under no pressure, he let a routine pass slip under his foot and the ball rolled out. This was repeated in the last five minutes, with his side trying to protect their slender advantage, but this time the error occurred on the edge of his own box.

Physicality

Any fears Monreal would not be able to deal with the rough and tumble of the Premier League were dispelled during a bruising aerial duel with Jonathan Walters before half-time.

In going up for a header, the duo were involved in a nasty clash of heads. The Stoke forward needed treatment to a bloodied gash to his forehead.

Monreal remained on his feet, hardly flinching. ‘To see him win so many headers and hold his own was great to see,’ added Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Delighted: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is pleased Monreal has joined the squad

Delighted: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is pleased Monreal has joined the squad

Wasps 10 Worcester 6: Simon McIntyre scores only try

Wasps 10 Worcester 6: Woeful hosts hold on but Hill apologises for shocking match

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UPDATED:

18:20 GMT, 7 October 2012

Worcester head coach Richard Hill said sorry for a ‘shocker’ of a game that saw Wasps stagger to their third win of the season thanks to Simon McIntyre’s first-half try and a tremendous stint of late defending.

Hill said: ‘I apologise for inflicting that on you. That was a shocker. Neither team played particularly well and we were marginally worse.’

Worcester, who cut Wasps’ 10-0 half-time lead through a penalty and drop goal from Andy Goode, engineered a chance to win in the final five minutes but Goode’s cross kick bounced out of the reach of wing Jon Clarke.

Flying start: McIntyre crosses for Wasps

Flying start: McIntyre crosses for Wasps

Flying start: McIntyre crosses for Wasps

Wasps then stopped two attacking
line-outs through some stern defence and good tackling, culminating in
man of the match Joe Launchbury forcing substitute flanker Ben Cowan to
knock on.

Launchbury, a member of the England Saxons squad, is tipped to be a full international.

The 21-year-old started this match at
blindside flanker but Dai Young, Wasps’ director of rugby, predicted
his best position will be at lock.

‘People talk about him as a star of
the future, but he’s already here. England see his long-term future as a
second row, but with his mobility and skills he can play in both
positions.’

Young also criticised his team’s performance. ‘I don’t think we would have beaten many teams. We know we have to be better.’

High hopes: Marco Wentzel rises to take gather lineout ball

High hopes: Marco Wentzel rises to take gather lineout ball

Wasps started strongly with a try
after only three minutes. Billy Vunipola and Joe Launchbury made big
inroads into the Worcester defence and good ball retention saw prop
Simon McIntyre drive over for the try which Stephen Jones converted.

Worcester then had their first
opportunity for points but Andy Goode failed to take it as his 35-metre
penalty attempt rebounded back off a post.

Back
came Wasps to put the visitors' defence under sustained pressure in
their own 22 and when the Warriors were offside, Jones made no mistake
with an angled penalty to give his side a 10-point advantage.

After that bright opening, the second quarter of the game was a huge disappointment as both sides made frequent unforced errors which prevented any real flow to the game. There were frequent turnovers as the score deservedly remained at 10-0 to the home side at the interval.

Too Goode: Former England international Andy Goode (right)

Too Goode: Former England international Andy Goode (right)

Early in the second half, a handling
error by Andrea Masi allowed Worcester a position in the Wasps' half and
when the hosts were penalised, a Goode penalty gave Warriors their
first points.

Almost
immediately Jones was presented with a chance to nullify that score but
his 45-metre penalty attempt sailed narrowly wide.

With half an hour remaining, Goode reduced the arrears to only four when he fired over a splendid drop-goal from close on 50 metres.

Stung by the two penalties, Wasps resumed their earlier dominance with Launchbury and McIntyre again to the fore with their driving runs. They should have gone further ahead when a clever chip ahead from Simpson should have resulted in a try for Christian Wade but the wing knocked on with the line at his mercy.

Hands off: Joe Launchbury evades a tackle

Hands off: Joe Launchbury evades a tackle

Jones missed another angled penalty
for the Wasps, allowing the Warriors the possibility of an unlikely win.
Inventive play by Paul Hodgson and David Lemi put the visitors into the
Wasps' 22 but Aleki Lutui knocked on and the home side were able to
relieve the pressure.

With three minutes to go, Simpson made the best break of the game, with a sniping run from a ruck on halfway but the supporting Chris Bell was hauled down narrowly short.

This allowed Warriors one final chance but Jon Clarke failed to collect a Goode cross-kick for the winning try before the Wasps withstood four minutes of huge pressure to hang on for a nail-biting win.

Bradford fans set up fund to help redundant staff

Bulls fans cough up to help out staff made redundant by cash-strapped club

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UPDATED:

08:27 GMT, 11 July 2012

Bradford fans have set up a hardship fund to help the coaching and backroom staff made redundant at the ailing Super League club.

Brendan Guilfoyle, the administrator running the financially-stricken club, last week laid off 16 full-time staff, including head coach Mick Potter, in an effort to slash costs and prevent the Bulls from going into liquidation.

Potter returned, along with his assistants Francis Cummins and Lee St Hilaire, on a voluntary basis to prepare the team for last Sunday's game against London Broncos but afterwards stressed the club cannot rely on goodwill alone for the rest of the season.

Generous: Bradford fans have dipped into their own pockets to help staff

Generous: Bradford fans have dipped into their own pockets to help staff

Now BullBuilder, the Bradford supporters' trust, have established a fund which will be administered by the club's pastor Warren Evans to help out the redundant staff.

'We were concerned to do our best to ensure that their commitment to the Bulls' cause would not lead to financial hardship on their part,' said BullBuilder spokesman Mike Farren.

'We guarantee that the fund will be ring-fenced for the specific purpose of helping these individuals and will be returned to the contributor if not used in this way.'

The trust have also agreed to foot the bill for the club's academy team's trip to Hull KR this weekend and the cost of a physiotherapist to ensure the match goes ahead.

Bradford recruitment manager Mark Robinson said: 'This is a fantastic gesture. We have an academy squad that has only lost one game all season and are the envy of many other Super League clubs.

Volunteer: Mick Potter returned to coach Bradford for free after being laid off

Volunteer: Mick Potter returned to coach Bradford for free after being laid off

'Knowing that the fans value them so highly will be a great boost to them and it can only help our recruitment and retention of young players at this crucial time.'

Guilfoyle has extended the deadline to find a buyer from last night to July 27 after a consortium of local Asian businessmen followed up their initial interest.

The administrator now becomes liable for the players' wages and the Rugby Football League yesterday agreed in principle to advance the club their share of television income so that the wage bill can be paid by this Friday.

Guilfoyle has pledged not to sell any of the club's highly-rated players, despite receiving offers from rival Super League clubs, notably England academy captain John Bateman.

Broke: Bradford are trying to slash costs and avoid liquidation

Broke: Bradford are trying to slash costs and avoid liquidation

'The consortium don't want me to sell the young stars,' he said. 'I'm pleased to have someone alongside me to guide me about that.'

The consortium are waiting to receive assurances from the RFL about the Bulls' continued participation in Super League before finalising an offer.

They are also keen to buy back the lease of Odsal Stadium which the club sold to the RFL in January for a sum of around 1.25million.

The RFL board of directors are expected to give consideration to the requests today, when they will also discuss the points deduction facing the club for breaching insolvency rules.