Should Arteta trust Nuno Tavares against Brighton?

Mikel Arteta’s decision to sub Nuno Tavares after 34 minutes in the FA Cup in January could now come back to haunt him.

The truth is any Arsenal player could have been hacked off for not showing up at the City Ground, but our manager decided to pick on one of the least experienced members of our squad.

He did the same Monday in another game where the whole team inexcusably lacked any hunger, but this time the Portuguese lasted till half time.

He easily could have made an example out of Gabriel who was just as responsible for the goals we conceded, but he seems to treat certain individuals different to others.

It would be counterproductive to think our left back was the only issue at Selhurst Park?

The confidence of your stand-in full back wouldn’t be the manager’s concern, which is until Kieran Tierney was ruled out for the season.

With the Gunners still having to face 4 out of the top 7 in their last 9 fixtures, can we trust the self-belief of a 22-year-old who clearly his own boss doesn’t rate?

The early consensus among Gooners is that Xhaka can be a makeshift full back (although there is a gap in midfield with Partey injured), Cedric can switch sides, or a formation change of 3 centre backs would allow Saka to play as an wing back.

Yet here’s an idea for a coach being paid thousands of pounds a week, why not get the best out of the resources you have?

Why not on the training pitch, teach a youngster where he’s going wrong, put your arm around him and help him find his smile again?

That was meant to be the Spaniard’s strengths at Man City.

He’s a player you were happy to pay 8 million to buy, so you must have seen qualities.

You must also have taken into consideration it’s a young man’s first season in a new country in a more demanding League?

You thought he was prepared enough to allow Bellerin to go out on loan and in January ripped up Kolasinac’s contract and essentially did the same with Callum Chambers.

By the transfer window you had months to observe the talent. If you deemed him not ready, why not bring someone else in, instead of making it a priority to slash the wage bill?

That was the same month we made our attack weaker.

Aubameyang has since scored 7 times In Spain while Laca and Eddie have one Prem penalty between them this year.

That’s the firepower we have to rely on as we go to the Lane, the Bridge, London Stadium and host Man United.

Again that was because our manager was allowed to wash his hands of an asset, either unwilling or unable (or both) to find a solution to a problem.

He did the same regarding Ozil and the worry is the 40-year-old is being taught in his first job that giving up on talent is acceptable.

It’s not.

Part of a leader’s role in various posts is to get the very best out of the tools you have.

If not, bring in those who can do the job better.

Knowing Tierney’s injury record, it’s not acceptable with 9 games left to say we don’t have a quality alternative, because you had two windows to do that. An injury in one position shouldn’t require players being played out of position or change of systems.

Is Xhaka not being in midfield really better then giving Tavares another chance?

Brighton at home is a fixture where there is zero reason why we can’t build up his confidence.

The Emirates has been brilliant this campaign at sticking by the players.

So after 90 minutes and a clean sheet on Saturday there is zero reason why we can’t rebuild Nuno’s mojo.

That’s surely better than just giving up on him.

Who would you play at left back this weekend?

Dan Smith

Tags Brighton Nuno Tavares


  1. Yes and yes. Of course yes Tavares most feature against Brighton. When Arteta bought he his qualities were known and over time Tavares will be unstoppable. Don’t forget prior to being drafted in against Crystal Palace he had been in the side lines for long. He needs game time to reestablish himself and be consistent. So yes.

  2. Pick Tavares, perfect game for him to play himself back into form. Brighton are off form, one goal in seven games, if he cannot manage them then look at the other options.

  3. We’ve all seen his potential when he first arrived, so it’s up to the manager to get those kind of performances out of him.

    Maybe after being here for an extended period of time has changed the way he plays vs what we saw when he first arrived and played how he did for his previous club.

  4. Move Saka to left back and play Pepe at right wing. Alternatevely, play Xhaka at left back and play Lokonga in the middle. Another option would be playing a back 3 of White-Holding-Gabriel. Saka at left wing back, Soares at right wing back

  5. “…is being taught in his first job that giving up on talent is acceptable”

    This is the most fearful part. No team in the world, no matter how rich deliberately pays players to leave, only Arsenal. If Arteta was the manager of Crystal Palace, will he be able to throw away players like he’s currently doing at Arsenal knowing that there isn’t enough money to purchase more? While there have been many good things to cheer about this season, I really fear we would not make the top four cos of Tottenham’s Conte. Backup players need to be given minutes, however little, and Tavares is clearly rusty. But the manager should not have made an example of him, cos like Pepe, his confidence will be severely shot. I still maintain what I’ve said before that Saka and Martinelli were already on a meteoric rise before Arteta came. Odegaard was already superb in Spain with Real Sociedad before arriving. White and Gabriel were already among the best in their positions in their different leagues before arriving. Lokonga seems to have regressed from his time in Belgium. Same with Tavares. Arteta should be developing players like Nketiah, Okonkwo, Patino and Balogun but there is no indication that he can do that himself. Top four should be achievable this season and I want to trust that Arteta can achieve it. But if he doesn’t, he shouldn’t be sacked but should obviously not get the new contract

  6. We have several players who have basically been ignored for two months. Leno Holding Tavares Elneny Lokonga Pepe Nketiah who are all now expected to step up and be in top form 10 seconds after being thrown on in the 75th minute. So give Tavares a chance especially as it’s Brighton at home.

  7. Emery is on the verge of taking Villarreal to the semi final of the champions league, the same coach that losses top4 by a single point and take us to our first European final in 25 years. If we don’t get top4 by the end of the season, Arteta should be sacked.

      1. Are you sure this the same Bayern that always gave it to us back to back?
        How many players in this current Bayern team played in those 5-1 wins against us?
        That’s like saying right now that “This is the same Man United that always used to beat us back in the Fergie days.
        Nearly completely different teams and era etc.

      2. And the score doesn’t do justice to Villarreal!they could have had another 5 easily.what about Coquelin??

  8. Nuno for me is a pure wing back, cant play in 4 just like Kola in an arsenal shirt.

    he may come good a season or 2 but im not convinced at all on him. Ppl raved about him when he covered for KT at teh start but for me he was awful, really cant defend to save his life.

    he has time on his hands to improve, time will tell but for me he wont be good enough for a few seasons if ever.

    He needs to learn to defend and improve his close control as ive seen elephants at the circus have better close control than him

  9. I would imagine Tavares will play on Saturday, at left back

    Arteta said after the game that it was a tactical decision to allow him to bring on Martinelli with ESR and Saka rather than instead of one of them, he took Cedric off a bit later to bring on Eddie (with Laca rather than instead of him), we were 2-0 down and had to have a go, it didn’t work because we lost but we were better 2nd half and if Saka had been awarded the pen or one of our chances had been converted it would have been game on

    But that’s not really what the article was about anyway was it

  10. Cedric at right back and Tomi at left back (assuming he is available) as he is nearly as good with his left foot as with his right.

  11. With Partey out of the midfield that is a huge problem for Arsenal.

    I fear midfield will be overwhelmed, struggle to buildup play, and unable to grab the game by the scruff.

    Even with a healthy Tierney our defenders will be tested as teams go through our midfield.

  12. Arteta has done well so far, but, has failed with his man management and proper rotation of players. Arsenal over reliance on just 13 players throughout season is now taking it’s toll on the team with a plague of injuries. But, all is not lost,as Arteta must now instill new confidence in players like Lokonga,Tavares and Pepe in particular, with his trust and play them. They have shown glimpses of brilliance , but, the lack of game time do affect players readiness physically and mentally. Dropping Tavares from the squad now, would destroy him entirely. Arsenal must continue with Tavares for the next match at least with Souza and Lopez as backups. There should be no reshuffling of players positions, which can compromise our areas of strength. Arsenal just need to replace the injured players with players from the bench or the academy. In sports, you win some, you lose some. Our bad day is gone with the pain and sorrow. We must now focus on a Brighton win, as players must continue to believe and keep fighting.

  13. This is a no brainer.

    Play the same side that started at Selhurst Park,

    Except Eleney in for Partey, and ofcourse if Tomi fit, he has to come in especially with the threat of Shaw cross,

    We shouldn’t go for any form of deviations to confuse the system, remember this is a young team, there understanding is crucial.

    This is a blue print from Wenger, just before he loss his mojo

  14. One of these centuries I MIGHT, just MIGHT, agree with the thrust of what Dan Smith writes. I read this nonsense with increasing incredulity and had to remind myself that DS has been a regular critic of MA and one poor performance at Palace has given DS the chance to pen his latest vitriolic diatribe against MA.

    Total nonsense of course and biased as hell!

  15. White was trash his first few games, yet was allowed to play through. Partey kept playing when even he himself rated his games as a 4 of 10.

    Unfortunately, Pepe doesn’t get that consideration when Laca and Nketiah do FA in matches.

    Can’t expect wonders from players like Lokogna and Nuno when they haven’t played in months.

    1. Was he though? Not saying he was fantastic but the Brentford issue was way over exaggerated. Against Chelsea he played in a 3 and both goals came down the left side not the right and city was not at his door because he had covid. He’d played 2 games at that point. We’re talking about 3 game ending performances from Tavares so odd comparison. From a statistical stand point the most accurate indicator of a result of a game is the worst 2 player ratings faced off against each other. Contrary to popular belief you don’t get dragged up by special players alone, they might gain you a few points here and there. Why Messi/Ronaldo brought home little international silverware between them despite being streets ahead of the rest for a long period. Reality is the worst two players have the largest impact.

  16. White as been overhyped IMO ,especially for the outlay .
    Even read someone say he’s our best CB since Campbell .
    He might have some potential but his rash challenge on Zaha started off our thrashing at the hands of palace Monday night .
    Unfortunately because Arteta spent 50 million on him hes now here to stay no matter what mistakes he makes .

      1. I agree, he has been good, but far from great or living up to the hype many associate with him. He is still prone to ball watching, and gets beat aerially too often to be reliable.

        Actually I feel White and Gabriel tend to get overhyped a bit, considering they are taking over from Mustafi, Sokratis, Mari, and Chambers.

        Not like the above 4 set a high standard before Gabriel and White starting playing as a pair.

        Hopefully Saliba will get an honest chance to compete with White and Gabriel.

        1. We’ll their defensive record playing together thus far is superior to the others mentioned so that should probably count for something. Saliba I fully expect to challenge them.

  17. Tavares is finished at this club. His defending is below average and his shooting and crossing is even worse. He is definitely a stepdown on Kolasinac and nearly as bad as Andre Santos. I’d get rid if it were up to me.

    1. He has a potential, wouldn’t write him off but he’s been shown up defensively now in 3 separate games all that we lost having given up those chances. He’s young, it’s his 1st year, give him time. If it’s like this the season after next then it’s a problem.

      1. He was brought as back up to Tierney, a raw youngster, as lucky as we are to have as good youngsters as we have some will need time. Saka is a rarity (and also goes quiet as expected) and ESR would get more grief if he was brought. Youngest starting 11 in the prem and Tierney is older than Tavares so…..

  18. Maybe in a back three to give him some cover. The only problem is that Brighton will be targeting him like crazy – he lacks confidence so the sharks of Brighton will circle.

    A couple of you said that this would be the good place to try and rebuild confidence. Maybe true, but also a good place to try something different.

  19. Gabriel was not equally responsible at all. The rest of the article is pointless after that. If you honestly believe that you need to write on a different sport. Palace didn’t have a proper open play chance after Tavares was hooked, yes the rest of the team wasn’t on it 1st half but that doesn’t excuse the goals. A lack of finishing punished us 2nd half and reffing was bad as usual.

    1. To add because not everyone will instantly understand what I meant there. 1st goal Tavares ducked, fouled after… Had he competed most likely gets the foul… Gabriel not involved. 2nd goal Tavares is tracking him, Gabriel commits correctly to a reckless slide because Tavares should be covering it, Tavares stops, nobody outside him, no reason, clear cut chance, goal.

      1. 2nd one was why he was subbed it’s ABC. I defended Eboue vocally inside the Emirates prior to everyone else getting on board (I know this because I did it, nobody supported him until he scored 2, name rang out around the stadium not one person spoke up never mind stood up to the loud disagreement on Eboue in the stands that very day.) Defended Wenger as well.

        1. Eboue deserved to get subbed although that only works with the crowd reaction in that particular scenario because it would be too soon otherwise. Eboue still suffered it, didn’t wipe his service before or his potential service after. Eboue was the best squad player you could ask for, no Henry or Cole more relevantly but there to play wherever whenever and to a decent standard. Point being you can deserve to be subbed and come back from it. Shout out Tavares, you had a shit game, use it, get better, still love ya, your a gooner!

  20. We keep saying it,the manager has 25 players to look after not 13.some on here like to compare MA with Pep & Klopp,well look how they manage full squads and not 11/12/13 players.they know that soon or later they’ll need to call on all of them and they make sure that they are ready when that happens.

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