Why the rise of Nuno Tavares is the ideal scenario for Arsenal
Adaptation to Premier League life is no issue for Tavares
From SL Benfica outcast to Arsenal standout in six months; the rise of Nuno Tavares in north London has been one of the talking points of the 2021-22 Premier League season for the Gunners, and a problem worth having for boss Mikel Arteta.
At the time of his summer purchase, many viewed Tavares – despite being a Portuguese youth international – as nothing more than a backup option to undisputed first-choice fullback Kieran Tierney.
But through a combination of his own adaptation to life at both Arsenal and in the Premier League as well as injuries that have beset Tierney at points across the current campaign, Tavares has settled exceptionally well under Arteta and the data behind his performances this season only cements the argument further.
Note: Data comparing Tavares (top) & Tierney (bottom)
Despite not featuring in the starting XI across the last four league fixtures for Arsenal, the Lisbon-native enjoyed six consecutive matchday XI appearances before Tierney was fully recovered from injury, and not only did he perform admirably in the absence of the Scottish international, but the data behind his performances measure up to Tierney in a manner that suggests Arsenal are on the cusp of having a genuine scrap for who is to become first-choice under the club’s Spanish headmaster.
And make no mistake about it; this is an ideal problem scenario for Mikel Arteta to have as he looks to rebuild the club’s profile on the pitch both at home and – in the long term – abroad.
To compete in the top echelon in the Premier League, any manager and club worth their collective salt ideally need multiple options at each position that is capable of coming into the starting XI without a reduction in quality either in technical or tactical terms. If the data is to be believed, Tavares has already proven to be just that and more at the Emirates.
Arsenal summer recruitment in the spotlight again
The rise and adaptation of Nuno Tavares is just one of six examples regarding how Arsenal was right on the money in terms of their recruitment plans this summer after the collective efforts of Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar.
The Portuguese youth international has taken his chances well, but the same can be said in equal measure regarding Belgian starlet Sambi Lokonga, and even greater still for the likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, and Martin Ødegaard.
It is rare that a club can boast six signings all settling in good order and performing at or above the standard set forth by the manager inside the first six months of life at a new club, but that is precisely what the newest additions in the Arsenal squad can boast in 2021-22. This fact alone should breathe new confidence in the fanbase regarding the club’s ability to recruit as well as build a squad capable of pushing for the European places both now and in the future.
Currently sitting fourth in the Premier League before the hectic festive week, there is a real chance that the Gunners will head into the new year in the top four. Once bemoaned by the fanbase as not being enough, surely, it will instead be welcomed as a sight for sore eyes.