Arteta explains why he didn’t drop Tavares against Newcastle

Many Arsenal fans were surprised to see Nuno Tavares keep his place in the team after his performance against Liverpool, and Mikel Arteta has explained his decision.

The Portuguese had impressed when filling in for the injured Kieran Tierney before the international break, and Nuno was rewarded for his performances by keeping his place in the team. Against Jurgen Klopp’s side however, he made some errors at the back and came in for scrutiny, including gifting Diogo Jota the ball in our own half before going on to score.

Despite coming in for criticism, the 21 year-old still kept his place to face Newcastle at the weekend despite Kieran Tierney having proved himself fully fit during the international break previously, and the boss has answered questions as to the reasoning why.

“It was a tricky one and after what happened at Anfield and some individual errors that we had, we have to be very careful with the messages that we send to our players,” he told reporters at the pre-match press conference (via

“I encourage my players to play with courage, to take risks, to make decisions and to be on the front foot and when they do that, if for any reason things don’t go our way or somebody makes a mistake, that’s when you have to show trust in the player because you want to build confidence and resilience.

“It’s not only for the player that’s playing, it’s also for the player that’s not playing to understand that part of that decision is to support and in their case, if it happens to them, I will do exactly the same thing.

“It’s something that we have to build and with young players even more, because if not, they can get very confused. I have full confidence in him.”

Tavares did extremely well in his most recent outing, but I can’t help but believe that Tierney will be coming in to face Man United tomorrow, although I did think that when we was facing Liverpool…

With us playing attacking football at present, we are probably suited by Nuno more than Tierney, with the former Benfica man’s pace and keenness to overlap with Saka proving frightening for defenders, as highlighted by them combining to break the deadlock at the weekend.

I still believe that Tierney is by far the more important player, with his leadership qualities and all-round game something that cannot be underestimated. With the Red Devils likely to play a more reserved game, you could argue for both player’s qualities to be better for our side.

Could Arteta keep Tierney on the bench again tomorrow? Could there be more to the manager’s decision?


Tags mikel arteta Nuno Tavares


  1. As a lifelong Arsenal supporter, I’ve got to say some of the fans are absolutely ridiculous. Why on God’s beautiful green earth would you bench Tavares, who had a very decent first half against a very dangerous team, simply because he had a lapse in judgement and made an error that lead to the first goal? Nuno Tavares is only 21 years old, which means he can only get better and how would he get better you may ask? (Spoiler alert) by actually playing! You don’t bench a genuine prospect who has risen to the occasion on a consistent basis simply because he made a few errors against a top three team and genuine Champions League contender

    1. Yes, he should be benched for exactly your comments “he had a lapse in judgement and made an error that lead to the first goal”
      He also tends to shoot when there is absolutely no chance of scoring and often he chooses the wrong pass.
      MA needs to decide whether he (we) want to win something or continuously build

  2. most logical commentary he’s made thus far, unfortunately I find it difficult to believe that even he could actually believe some of the things he said, like this gem, “I encourage my players to play with courage, to take risks, to make decisions and to be on the front foot”

    If this were the case, the players would be culpable for every piss-poor borefest we’ve had to endure since MA’s arrival, whereas he would be the deciding factor every time we put in a good performance…another rather disturbing cake and eat it too moment for our novice manager, in my opinion

  3. My greatest worry about playing Nuno against Liverpool was the after effect it could cause on him after the game and subsequent starting positions, cos I knew he will definitely be in all sorts of trouble.

    Just like Balogun earlier in the season I didn’t want Nuno to go through the same fate as well, Arteta prove me wrong by supporting and reinstating him, that was a very bold and sensible decision from the manager… Though I still need to see more of such decisions from other departments on the pitch.

    Other than the mistake I didn’t think he had a poor game against Liverpool.. I hope he keeps his place against United, he will only get better with confidence and game time, and facing better opponents.

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