Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants to see a reaction from youngster Nuno Tavares after he was hooked midway through Monday’s 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace.
Arteta’s side went into half-time 2-0 down at Selhurst Park and marginally improved after Gabriel Martinelli replaced Tavares, but Wilfried Zaha scored from the penalty spot to round off the scoring late in the evening.
Tavares, who turned 22 this season, has endured a mixed maiden campaign in England. He rose to prominence in the autumn before a disastrous performance in a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool seemed to knock him out of his stride. He’s started just two games in 2022 but has now twice failed to feature for more than 45 minutes.
However, Kieran Tierney’s season-ending injury leaves Tavares as the Gunners’ only remaining natural left-back and is expected to feature heavily for the run-in.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Brighton, Arteta revealed he has talked to Tavares about why he was substituted against Palace and wants the Portuguese defender to learn from the situation.
“Obviously I speak with the players and I spoke with Nuno because I care a lot how they feel and we are here to help them, and make their careers better,” Arteta said.
“That was a decision that hurt him, obviously, but he understands that it was for the benefit of the team, that I believe it was for the benefit of the team, and he respects that.
“Now he needs to react on that situation, because it is a great opportunity to learn a lot in that period in your career.”
Arsenal can climb back above rivals Tottenham into fourth place for a few hours at least with a win against the Seagulls, with Spurs taking on Aston Villa in Saturday’s late kick-off.