Has Tierney lost his first-team role for Arsenal? (Opinion)

Micah Richards has claimed that Nuno Tavares was amongst the best players on the pitch when starring for Arsenal against Newcastle this weekend, but what does that mean to Kieran Tierney?

The Gunners came away with a 2-0 victory at the Emirates on Saturday, with the Portuguese credited with the all-important assist for the opening goal, having been ever-present in attack throughout the match, and his performance hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Nuno was named in Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week alongside team-mate Bukayo Saka, and Richards also sung his praises on Match of the Day also.

“He was excellent and I’m not just saying that because he’s a full-back, he was genuinely one of the best players on the pitch,” Richards told Match of the Day fans (via Football.London).

“What I liked about him was he just didn’t stay, every opportunity he went forward and he went forward with quality.

“Krafth had an absolute nightmare against him today, he ends up fouling him several times.

“He’s 21, from Benfica. He’s confident now and he’s having fun. He was brilliant today, he really was.”

It certainly was an amazing showing from Tavares, who seemed to be everywhere in both attack and defence, and he definitely deserves credit for the effort shown.

He did show a little of his inexperience by taking on a couple of outlandish efforts from outside the box when we had other options available, with none of those testing the goalkeeper, but his work rate on and off the ball was top notch throughout.

This was the fifth consecutive Premier League match that Nuno has been selected to start, with Tierney’s latest injury opening the door to his younger counterpart. Tavares has taken his opportunity with both hands however, and the Scot now appears to behind in the pecking order.

The former Celtic star returned to fitness during the international break, playing a key role for Scotland, but has been an unused sub in each of our last three outings, and should he stay on the sidelines against Man United on Thursday, I believe Arteta’s choice will have been made clear that he has work to do to get back into the side.

Has Tavares really done enough to displace Tierney in the pecking order?


Tags Kieran Tierney Nuno Tavares


  1. Offensively, tavaras is better, however he is terrible defending. I will like to see Tierney back against Manchester United

    1. I disagree, because Tierney will cripple our left wing. Especially since he hasn’t been playing for a while

      Let him show what he can do first, in the cup games

      1. Tireny was the only player except Saka to deliver offensively in the first half of last season, so he is more than capable offensively. Tavares for me is too raw, and has little to offer except athleticism and spirit. Against United Tireny definitely should start.

  2. Performance wise, Tavares currently deserves to play ahead of Tierney. Tierney should never complain about it until he shows that he is better than Tavares in attacking

    Unfortunately, Arteta will never be able to bench his senior LB for a long time. Because it can ruin the dressing room’s harmony, since Tierney has been playing for Arsenal longer than Tavares and Tierney’s fans will be mad if their favourite player doesn’t play

    Tierney should’ve replaced his old-school attacking style with a more dynamic one. He has surely watched how the top teams’ attacking LBs play in Euro and in EPL

    1. I think TAA and Robertson are still old school fullbacks
      I have not seen anything fancy from Robertson so far, yet he is monster going forward…
      I didn’t see him dancing in Left Flank or cutting inside yet he is absolutely dangerous going forward…

      1. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson produce great crosses, similar to Beckham’s. They’re Liverpool’s main creators

        On the other hand, Tierney’s long crosses are getting worse. His movements are also too predictable to be our main attacking outlet

        1. So it’s not necessary for him to be fancy if he works on his crossing instead of twisting and turning or cutting inside and doing unnecessary fancy things..
          Also his crossing is not that bad…
          He must be in top 5 LBs in the league in terms of quality crosses…
          And being an LB one’s 1st job is to defend…
          His positional sense is far superior than Tavares…
          He might have struggled against Salah but who doesn’t nowadays?

          1. Tierney’s crosses are awful this season

            Left overload tactics require a creative attacking LB. Watch Italy with Spinazzola in Euro and how Man City play this season with Cancelo

            1. I don’t know how you don’t see attacking threat in Tierney?
              Cross to Odegaard in NLD last season which was scored by him..
              Surging run in box against Chelsea and subsequently brought down by James and we got penalty…
              Cutting inside and scoring against West Brom..
              Over the top ball to Aubameyang in FA Cup final which led to clumsy tackle by Azpilicueta which led to Penulty…
              Over the top ball to Aubameyang in Semifinal which was finished by Aubameyang in FA Cup Semi final against Man City

              Also you can’t be dependent only on LB for attack right?
              There are other 4-5 where there is much attacking scope…

              3rd thing you can’t only compare Man City’s LB against Arsenal or Italy’s LB against Arsenal…

              Look at Man City’s Midfield or Italian Midfield… they can cover any space created behind an attacking LB

        2. Also Arteta’s tactics has caused many problems to Tierney…
          In early days of Arteta’s management Tierney used to play much more advance on the LW and Xhaka used to take the position the of LB to fill the void created by forward movement of Tierney.. So in that case you can’t expect Tierney to Mark Opponent RW in counter attack situation…
          Also Initially Arteta gave two way task of being and 3rd CB when we used to loose possession and LB when we have the possession… Tell me such in tactical confusion how it is to play on both front and to defend as well?
          Tavares is very to get pretty stable team at the start of Arsenal career compared to Tierney…

          1. I don’t expect much defending duty from our attacking LB, but he must be our main weapon on the left wing

            1. If you don’t expect much defending then you shouldn’t have made a point that Tierney struggled against Salah, Traore, Zaha…

              Because as per you don’t expect it as LB 1st duty is defending.

  3. Both are better going forward than actually defending which I don’t mind as long as there is cover .
    Tierney is obviously more experienced and and as been one of our better players over the last 2 seasons but like I said last season his injury record isn’t the best and I mentioned getting in another LB because of it ,now Tavares as come in and really is quite exciting to watch and as some kind of engine on him .
    Could they both be accommodated in the first 11 ? I believe so and thats what I would aim for ,but either way it’s a good problem to have having 2 great prospects in the same position.

    1. I think they could both be accommodated Dan and with Tavares being very two footed compared with Tierney, could play in a number of positions.

      1. Agree Declan
        I would like to see him in middle which I’ve been saying for the last month ,he’s got that engine that can drive forward which is something we miss in the centre of the park with Xhaka and Odegaard taking up them positions recently .
        His recovery pace is unbelievable if he were to make mistakes and he with partey next to him I believe he could excel.

        1. For me with the little money spent on him he as been my Best Buy and probably my player of the season so far with the little time we have seen him after Ramsey who as shut me up and probably a lot of other fans .

  4. Honestly have no idea why everyone loves Nuno. From what i’ve seen he is fast & thats about it. End product is shocking. My gran could have laid off Saka yesterday for his goal yet everyones calling it amazing. KT damaged his body for us last season & deserves a lot more respect than this. Great to finally have a bit of depth in this positon now, i’ve spent sleepless night thinking about if Nacho Monreal was fit or not!
    KT has to start against Man United.

    1. Spot on….
      Tierney should replace Tavares because Tierney is sheer quality than Tavares…
      He is much better in defending..
      His positioning sense in defending is far superior than Tavares
      I didn’t see shocker like Tavares from Tierney which was showed at Anfield

        1. I don’t remember Traore has caused any problems to Tierney neither Zaha…
          Basically Zaha plays on LW for Crystal Palace and Tierney is LB so ideally they don’t play against each other because they both are on opposite wings to each other…
          And Salah then everyone struggles against Salah….

          1. Watch Tierney vs Traore on 29 November 2020, and Zaha on 27 October 2019. Zaha moved to the right wing, after having difficulties against Pepe and Chambers

  5. It seems plain to me that TAVARES is gifted when going forward but cannot defend properly.

    It seems pointless to play a non defender at LB and end up with another early stage Bellerin(when he still had his speed).
    Tierney is plainly a better and more reliable defender, so it is a no brainer that TAVARES should be played further forward where his speed and dangerous running will be most effective. So it should not be Tavares OR Tierney but both, but Tierney as LB.

  6. I sincerely hope Tierney comes back immediately.

    If he does not, I fear for ESR going forward.

    He likes short sharp interactions whereas Tavares has fallen in love with long balls to the far post.

    What is worse is that Arteta seems to have fallen in love with Tavares, like he has with Odegaard, Maybe he does need Wenger to give him a dose of reality sometimes!!!

    If Tavares continues to be the first choice left back, then ESR might just as well go elsewhere.

    1. I thought Tavares linked up very well with ESR, at least he plays long cross field passes to the other wing as well as shorter passes to ESR. He also shoots on sight, albeit not accurate whereas Tierney has got a little predictable either getting to the line and crossing low into the box or more recently passing backwards.

  7. Your Gran must be some player wee fella, one for the January window?

    Did you watch the Chelsea game Kedar?

    KT is a fine player but Tavares has the shirt at the moment, there’s not much between them as players in my opinion, if KT comes back in on Thursday or later this season he won’t let us down

  8. Tavares should move up to the midfield for a 433 so Tierney can take his rightful place. He’s too good to stay on the bench and Tavares is alos good but lies playing forward.
    Matinelli should get into the line up for Auba

  9. You guys should stop the “Tavares can’t defend” chant!😲 Apart from the Liverpool game where he had a bad game(everyone apparently), we haven’t conceded any goals via his position. Admittedly, he should have done better against Liverpool but still wasn’t as bad as we claimed, those mistakes clouded his overall performance. If need be, a rewatch of the Liverpool match might cause a change in stance regarding Tavares. I also remembered him stopping a clear-cut chance against Newcastle, one that Tierney got credited for while playing for his country, even if, Tierney’s was far more difficult to accomplish.

    I really do not care about his defensive prowess, in that, he contributes to our attack just like Liverpool’s right back(Arnold), one who does nothing defensive than to attack. As much as I love Tierney, Tavares unpredictability makes him ……… for nw in that position.

    1. In addition, didn’t we also thought he needed rest, Tierney, before getting injured. So, why the shout nw?🤷 Despite, we not missing his absence through injury.

  10. I said it early in the season that tavares was the last piece yet to be utilized by arteta…and fortunately he discovered the gem…

    We probably have the 4th best wingback players in the league currently as Tavares and Tomiyasu have brought real assuring quality to our backline…

    Though I do like the idea of Tavares at LW and Tierney at LB…

    Also martinelli looked so natural and more dangerous like mbappe at RW….a good backup for SAKA than Pepe…

    The team is balanced now and will win a lot of games

  11. I like Tierney but Tavares has been nothing short of a “beast!” The guy is a great talent and probably our best prospect of super star status.

    1. Spot on Reggie, my fear is his loyalty ( taking a cue from bellerin) and long term stay with the team when he finally achieves the stardom…..he is Portuguese, gifted and a rare two footed leftback and the moneybags would always be appealing to him while Tierney could be a Gunner for a longtime….

      1. I do think there will be a time when both are in the team and we can see if it works from there. I think we can rely on Tavares more at the moment, Tierney is a bit like glass and not always available but injuries may force a situation where we find a perfect partnership, we have with a few other players.

  12. Make the story short: resort to a 433 and play Tavares in the midfeld and let Tierney take his rightful place. Non of them shoud watch from the bench. They’re both too good for that Keep Odegaard and Auba out and bring in Martinelli. Period!

  13. I didn’t think Taveres was that great against Newcastle. He looked very raw to me. Obviously he is a real talent for his age He broke down a lot of attacks by picking the wrong option silly shots poor crosses. Ramsdale made a great save from a mistake of his and he almost gave away a penalty. Arteta was right to start him after the Liverpool game but this was against a poor Newcastle side and arsenal had a lot of possession. Tierney should start v utd

  14. I say convert him to a winger and let’s try play without a traditional number 9 as Auba has become less effective

  15. Let Tierney bid foe his time and make grate use of it when he has it. The games left to play in the EPL and the Cups this season ate still very many.

    For now, i think Arteta should continue with Nuno against Man Utd. unless he thinks otherwise.

  16. Let Tierney bids for his time and make grate use of it when he has it. The games left to play in the EPL and the Cups this season ate still very many.

    GoonerP, sorry for my posting thrice

    For now, i think Arteta should continue with Nuno against Man Utd. unless he thinks otherwise.

  17. competition is good. Tierney the more balanced player. He lost his form again, and will be feeling the pressure when he gets a run of games next time. How it should be. Tavares has been really good lately and has been rewarded with gametime as it should be. And for ppl saying he’s bad at defending, I don’t see that. He’s been quite decent, if we take out the liverpool game, which nobody looked good in.

  18. If Tierney were ever put up for sale a host of Premier League Clubs, would come calling, including Man City who are obliged to play Cancello at LB due to prolonged absence of Mendy who is likely to be shown the door for a number of reasons.Cancello and Walker are excellent right backs, and the former is doing a very good job on the left side , but I suspect Pep G , and other Managers, would jump at the chance to acquire a natural left back who can defend and attack, and who has proved himself time and time again on the international stage, which Tavares has yet to enter.

  19. Tierney is much better defensively and has big match experience so I hope MA starts him against United. The point though is , Tavares could be used in the midfield to make deep runs.

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