Do Arsenal really have two first-choice left-backs? (Opinion)

Kieran Tierney was given a rare start of late in the loss to Everton last night, but should the Arsenal man not be ahead of Nuno Tavares? Guest post by Sarah Rohan

Well what a big disappointment last night was. So many talking points regarding the game but I’m going to have my take on the Tierney vs Tavares situation.

I was so happy to see the Scottish left back in the starting line up and he didn’t fail to prove why he was missed. He was a constant problem for Everton with his pace and his passing.

Straight away I felt more confident in his ability to defend and after a while his crosses into the opposition’s box proved to be our biggest strength.

He made four crosses into the box, with two corners and one assist for Odegard’s goal that came of it. His crossing is lethal and always causes teams problems. As well as the attacking, he was also on the ball at the other end of the field.

Unfortunately he was taken off, whether that’s down to him not being fully fit or Arteta’s wrong choice of substitution but the game changed completely.

Once Tavares was on I no longer had confidence in us leaving Goodison Park with all three points. He simply kept giving the ball away and it proved costly. Everton’s first goal was down to his throw in error. I think he is so focused on trying to create chances that his defensive mindset goes out the window.

He did the same against Manchester Utd too. He had so much possession of the ball, but lost it just as much and was also caught out of position on a few occasions, once again leading to a goal for the Red Devils. At some points I had to cover my eyes in dread that he was going to lose the ball once again!

You’d forgive him for his mistakes against Liverpool. It was a huge game for him against one of the best teams so was probably partly nerves, but he redeemed himself somewhat against Newcastle. Can you really compare the two teams? No!

So I thought maybe he just isn’t a big game player and is more suited to playing teams lower down the league. Last night proved that I think he needs to be Tierney’s standi-in or play him in Cup games until he gains more experience.

We have a congested December coming up where Kieran will be key to our first-team. Let’s hope by the end of December it will be Christmas cheers rather than a Xmas hangover.

I think it should be a no-brainer that Mikel Arteta would start who would be my next captain, the vocal Scotsman.

What’s everybody’s thoughts? Should Arteta rotate the two or have Tierney as the main man?

Take care Gooner family!

Tags Kieran Tierney Nuno Tavares


  1. You can’t have 2 first choice anything.

    Squad I’d like to see:

    Tomi Saliba Gabriel Tierney
    White Partey(or proper DM)
    Saka *New CF* Martinelli

  2. Tierney’s long cross worked once. But it won’t be as effective in the next EPL match, since the opponents are already familiar with his attacking style

    I still prefer Tavares because of his inside cuts and aerial ability. However, if Tierney is fit enough to play, Arteta will reward him with another starting place since Tierney produced one assist

    It’s good to have a strong internal competition in the squad

    1. For all of Tavares skills in cutting inside he is still lacking a bit defensively. Thieney in my opinion is slightly better defensively. They are top 2 center backs with different qualities. It’s not Theiny’s fault that Arsenal don’t have a towering CF. In matches with top 4 teams sometimes we need crosses to give us chances of scoring.

  3. Tierney is an excellent LB and whilst Tavares is extremely promising he still has much to learn and he needs to improve his close control and decision making.What amazed me last night was the decision of Arteta to stick with Xhaka for the entire duration when it was patently clear to me that his legs had gone after 60 mins.After that he was barely able to run, and as we all know, he is always in the slow lane.Tavares has the strength, energy and pace to cause teams problems and stupidly I thought he would take over from Xhaka who cannot have attained match fitness after his injury.A midfield trio of Lokonga, Partey, who is not a natural DM, and never will be, and Tavares would have made us more competitive in the vital midfield area which is where we need strengthening for next season.Alas, Arteta who seems to lack imagination in his selections toiled on with Partey, Odegaard and Xhaka and due to our lack of energy and pace we were overrun and lost a game which, like the Man Utd match, was there for the taking.The result at Everton is probably a defining moment in the career of Arteta with Arsenal, and in the eyes of many, there is no way back for him.In practical terms the Board should be thinking in terms of candidates to replace him at the end of the season, and should undertake the appropriate due diligence without delay, to ensure a smooth take over.To do otherwise would be to run the risk of foraging for a replacement in haste which is not how efficient businesses are run.

  4. They are both excellent left backs and I am sure they will be rotated (not for every match) as Tierney is somewhat injury prone. They are both versatile as Tierney can play as a centre back in a back three and I’m sure Tavares will play in midfield at some point. Tavares is also more two footed than Tierney but we are blessed to have two excellent players available. The big disappointment for me in the team is Partey as he is just not cutting it at present.

    1. The system used by Arteta will never get the best out of Partey who is not a DM but a box to box operator.He takes too many risks on the ball to be an effective D M whereas the likes of F abinho and Roddrie keep it simple and are far more effective.The solution is fairly straightforward, recruit a dedicated D M like Sakaria, switch to a 4-3-3 set up and play Partey and Lokonga in the B to B roles.In essence set up like Man City and Liverpool and you might just have a chance of getting Arsenal back on the right track.

    2. Partey has been very disappointing of late. And for those blaming it on Arteta, that is just wrong. I believe Partey had to be less mobile when he was playing with ASL. But with Xhaka back in the team, he had more freedom to roam and was still below par. I think Laca also didn’t give us that focus up front. He was always too deep.
      Arteta obviously showed his lack of experience and the errors were glaring. I thought a sub of Nketiah for Laca would have given us more bite up front but Arteta just messed everything up

  5. As bad as last night’s performance was I haven’t changed my opinion on Arteta or any of the active players in the current squad

    As someone said earlier you can’t have two first choices anyway, KT has the edge because of experience and he now has the starting shirt back, keeping it for the rest of the season will depend on fitness but I would have no problem with Tavares coming back in to that position if that was to happen

    Defensively I think Cedric is better than both at the moment but not too close to their effectiveness going forward

  6. clearly Arteta has a lot of work to do with that Nuno guy…
    He constantly gives away possesion but yet the boss keeps using him. Why?
    When we have the like of Kolasinac, who is a great player with nice pace, passes, strength and ball control…
    I think Kolasinac is still very good option for the gunner not Tavares

  7. Tierney has got into a sideways habit. That is Arteta’s recycling the ball across the back line method. When he attacks the full back is when Tierney shines. Nuno is so fast he could play as a full on winger. Arteta is a poor coach though, and seems to make players play slowly and sideways……ychhhh! Yes we have two good but different left sided players, buy they are buying in to Arteta’s sideways, backwards, slow build up method, which never produces many goals….zzzzzzz. Boring!

    1. That could work, when defensively we was at out best, adams,bould,known,Dixon and winterburn none of them would be considered. Great on the ball going forward, but they done the job
      They was built for, Defending!! The problem these days is they are not defenders but attackers as well. The best Chelsea side was absolutely rock solid defensively. The point I’m trying to makes is I don’t like the the way we are playing from the back, it’s easy to pressurise them ‘ and they are not the best ball players ’ . Liverpool should be the team to copy, not Mancity. Arteta does not know how to be more direct. I want to go back to how Wenger played in the first decade, no one bullied us yet we was exciting to watch, because it was fast and direct. I feel sick watching that cr*p last night, there was no excuses what so ever not to have won, but we did and will do until things change at all levels….

  8. Teirney is a better option, play Nuno as a left DM with Partey and let’s see how it goes!

    He can do two tasks and I think he will do a great job, at least better than Xhaka!

  9. We keep forgetting that Partey is a flop, who is yet to come to grips with the fast pace of the premier league, which affects his fitness and performance. I would rather have Lokonga and Maitland-Niles or Tavares in the defensive midfield than having Partey, who is highly overrated and overpaid. Partey (the fraud) earns 250,000 pounds weekly, which is more than eight times what Saka or ESR earns or two and a half times what Pepe earns, for consistent poor performances against top six teams. In the summer transfer window, Arsenal should cash in on Partey and buy Yves Bissouma.

  10. Can’t argue with Wayne. Was excited as most Arsenal fans when Partey was signed, even though in the few Atletico games I’d seen he hadn’t stood out as anyone spectacular. But we really needed someone special in this position, and the alternatives were the sideways twins. Since then, despite so much good faith from the fans he has been a flop, come on let’s admit it, either making bad decisions on the field or physically not up to the task. At the same time Atletico have gotten along successfully without him. Partey please prove me wrong, but Arsenal cannot stand still and wait for you to finally show up.

    1. Difference is coach..
      Partey was used to coach by Diego Simeone who is 1000 times better coach and manager than Our Mediocre Arteta..
      Coach and Manager makes lot of difference.
      Simeone is world class manager

  11. Very Sad. Everyone saying this or that player is better than the other
    . So long as MA is the manager- it is all doom. Bring Trent Alexander as RB, all the to players, MA will turn them in to Zombies who cant run, think or make a 5M pass. Out with the conman!

  12. From what i saw from the Manu game, Ralf will turn them in to conquering machines, conte has not lost any game since he joined Spurs- yet some idiots expect Arteta to improve after 2 years. It will not happen my fellow fans. All should be United ( especially those in the stadium) in getting the joke that is MA out of our beloved club.

    1. Well said, sir!

      I think it’s a perfect time to bring someone with a clear plan and a bright future for the players sake!

      Under MA Auba, Laca, Partey ..etc are all getting worse, seriously what’s going on?

  13. Come on. Tireny is a top experienced LB who had a temporary drop in form. Tavares is talented but did not show anything other than athleticism. Defensively he cost us a few goals already, his attacking decision making is horrible, his technique in crossess and first tuche is mediocre. There is not realy a question for me that Tireny is the starter and Tavares is groomed and in 2-3 years might be at the right level.

    1. A bit harsh on Nuno but the point is well made.Tierney is the better left back and along with Tomi we have a first class pair of full backs.

  14. Tierney for me is the better left back.
    Take away footballing ability and Tierney has grit and hunger and places a high demand on his peers. He has leadership quality’s, such so there was discussions amougst fans and ex pros that he should be our next captain.

    There is no argument for me. Tarvares is good and I can see why he was brought but he is young in age and experience and so, his performances are erratic!

    This is his first year with arsenal, his main aim is to develop not be worried about being no.1

    Never aim for goals but focus on your structures.
    It’s harder to reach your goals then fall on to your structures!

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