Search

Arsenal star says squad is strong enough to challenge for FA Cup, Champions League and top four

12:11 16 February 2015

Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs (Adam Davy/EMPICS)

Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs (Adam Davy/EMPICS)

EMPICS Sport

Kieran Gibbs believes Arsenal now possess the necessary strength in depth to mount a genuine challenge for success in three competitions.

The Gunners left-back played the full 90 minutes as the FA Cup holders overcame Middlesbrough 2-0 on Sunday to advance to the last eight of this year’s tournament.

Retaining the FA Cup is a major target for Arsenal, who will also resume their Champions League campaign next week when they host Monaco in the first leg of their last 16 clash.

And Gibbs, who was handed a rare outing after losing his place to Nacho Monreal in recent weeks, feels their battle for the left-back berth is indicative of the competition for places that exists throughout the squad.

“I played quite a lot of the first half of the season next to him [Monreal], when Laurent Koscielny was injured,” said Gibbs. “He has done well to adapt from left-back to centre-back, so you have to give him credit for that.

“Since I came back from my injury the boss said that Nacho has done well and given me a good challenge. He wants me to stay focused and the more both of us are on the top of our games, the better it is for the team.

“It is probably the first time it has been like this for a while because normally we have something gone wrong with a player and the team doesn’t pick itself, but it has been easier in the past.

“Now, when you keep everyone fit for a while obviously you can only fit 11 men on the pitch. I have to be patient and it’s important that I take the opportunity when I get a game.

“We need a big squad. We certainly have the squad to compete on three fronts at the moment and this is what we want to do. We are hungry to defend the FA Cup.

“We are not going to think that because we won it last year, it is not in our priorities because all three competitions are. It is a big opportunity for us and we are through to the next round.”

Sunday’s fifth round victory over the Teessiders saw a debut for the most recent addition to Arsenal’s squad – defender Gabriel Paulista, who cost them £11m from Villarreal last month.

The Brazilian partnered Laurent Koscielny in central defence and Gibbs was impressed by his new team-mate, as well as confidently predicting it will not take him long to grasp the basics of the English language.

“He doesn’t speak any English at the moment and it was the same with Alexis [Sanchez] when he came,” Gibbs recalled.

“It won’t take him long. We’ve brushed him up on a few of the sayings for him to get used to.

“In training and stuff in the week, [assistant manager] Steve [Bould] goes through it with him with one of the Spanish boys, who then translates for him what it means in English.

“So he understands when it is said to him on the pitch and he knows what to do. One of the biggest things that I’ve realised is that he embraces the physical side of the game and that’s what we want from a centre-half.

“I felt he came in on his debut and did extremely well. He looks like he has been playing at this level for a long time and he has settled in straight away which is good for us.

“At this stage of the season, we don’t want to have any excuses that we fell short from injuries. It is nice to know that we have got a good solid central defence who are all available.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Thu, 11:43

John Ryder admits his career will be at a dead end unless he launches his switch to super-middleweight with a victory next month.

Thu, 07:25

Charlie Heatley notched a hat-trick as Mile End cruised into the fourth round of the Jack Walpole Cup by walloping Hacimac 6-0.

Thu, 07:10

It’s often the case that punters see one side holding home advantage against longer-priced opponents and automatically place bets on what they perceive to be an easy home victory, without taking into account the visitors’ form or other factors, such as their readiness to scrap for a point.

Wed, 17:00

A group of Islington BC youngsters were given first use of the new facilities in the revamped gym at neighbouring Lion ABC, Hoxton.

Wed, 16:05

Pro Touch Soccer Academy youngster Haru Maitani has signed schoolboy professional forms with Fulham’s Under-10 side.

Wed, 11:59

Islington side Access2Sports Under-12s are eager to develop a local rivalry with Torriano Tigers following their convincing 48-2 victory against the Community Basketball League debutants.

Mon, 07:16

Midway through a hard-fought first half at the Liberty Stadium a rainbow appeared. Not just any rainbow, one of those glorious technicolour efforts which make you feel warm inside.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Arsene Wenger played down reports of a bust-up with Arsenal’s in-form forward Alexis Sanchez during his side’s impressive 4-0 win at Swansea City.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now