Arsene Wenger says Nacho Monreal is ready to fight for his place at left-back, with the manager also praising Kieran Gibbs' return to top form for the north London side in recent weeks.

Gibbs has been inconsistent this season, partly as a result of injury issues, but the 23 year old has impressed in recent weeks, particularly against Reading as Arsenal continued to challenge for a place in the top four.

Wenger believes this improvement has come down to the arrival of Monreal who has been vying for a place in the first team since arriving at the club in January.

Kieran Gibbs
Kieran Gibbs will flourish from the competition with Nach Monreal, Arsene Wenger says.

"He [Nacho] is ready for the fight," Wenger told the official Arsenal website. "I did it because I believe you never know with only one left back. You need two. 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."

Gibbs has drawn criticism for some of his performances this season as Arsenal continued to struggle at the back. But Wenger believes that over the course of the campaign the England international has shown he had potential to become a more regular member of the first team.

"I think this season has been, despite the fact that he was in doubt for a while, a step up season for him," he explained.

"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.

"Even at Munich when he had been out for six weeks he came straight back in and had a very decent game. For me he has moved into the top three left backs in the country."