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.
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?