Tierney v Tavares – The fight to be Arsenal’s left back

My Man of the Match against Watford was Nuno Tavares.

The Portuguese left back has been fantastic in the last 3 Premier League games since coming in for Kieran Tierney.

Such has been the level of his performances that against Watford, fit-again Tierney spent his time warming up in T-shirt and shorts.

12 months ago Tierney would have been rushed back into the starting XI when clearly not fit

As it stands, the left back position is in Tavares’s hands and it wil lbe down to the Scot to get his head down, work hard in training and take his opportunity when it arises.

Against Watford Tavares never stopped running up and down the line.

He has the lightning pace which allows him to join any attack, whilst also getting back to cover in defence.

He is also a strong boy, capable of getting involved in the battle.

As for his distribution, he put in a couple of dangerous crossing against Watford and his short passing is also very good.

With Liverpool up next, Mikel Arteta might opt to return to the more experienced Tierney against Mo Salah. This would perhaps be unfair on the younger man; but also a decision I can understand.

If Salah rips Tavares a new one (which he does to almost every fullback), Arteta will be criticsed for playing him and it could put back Tavares’s development.

Another option could be to play Tavares further up the pitch ahead of Tierney to cover Trent Alexander-Arnold.

With the ages of both Tierney and Tavares, it feels like we have the left hand side of the defence covered for the foreseeable.

Keenos

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