Arsenal decision on Tierney & Nuno Tavares has new angle

As much as it might have felt determined following events at Anfield, Mikel Arteta still has an interesting decision to make at left-back when Arsenal host Newcastle on Saturday.

Selection headaches are good headaches. If stuck between Player A and Player B, usually that entails that both are deemed valuable options to play the role. The situation with Kieran Tierney and Nuno Tavares remains one such call.

Arteta rewarded form against Liverpool. Despite Tierney being back fit after playing two matches for Scotland, Nuno got the nod and had a mixed bag on another night to forget for the visitors on Merseyside.

An impressive first half performance where he stood his ground and defended well enough against one of the more fearsome right-sided attacks in European football, everything crumbled beneath him after the break in the face of Liverpool’s brutal pressing.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has another selection decision on Kieran Tierney & Nuno Tavares vs Newcastle with a different angle to consider

Enduring a quintessential game of two halves, the experience factor proved to be the defender’s undoing as a lack of calmness and composure saw him relinquish possession in key areas, most notably in the build-up to the second goal where Jota was handed the ball on a plate.

The immediate reaction would be to revert to the tried and trusted and reinstate Tierney in the team. But what messages does that send?

Having rewarded Nuno for the performances leading up to that point, in taking him out of the team for 45 error-strewn minutes does that then have the adverse effect of knocking his confidence entirely? It’s a very interesting call that Arteta has to make with the defence the strongest aspect of the campaign, and one that may be impacted by the fixtures to come.

Newcastle at the Emirates is quite clearly the ‘easier’ of the two upcoming matches. Five days later there is a trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League, one where the value of experience may be a crucial ingredient. Thus, it may be in the manager’s thinking to allow Nuno to respond to his Anfield setback before playing his more trusted Scot against Manchester United.

Knowing mistakes can happen in any game and that three points are imperative against the struggling Magpies to get Arsenal back on track, is Tierney the obvious call? But then again, Tierney’s form as been poor. There are so many variables to consider.

All of which are added to by the volume of matches set to come over the coming weeks: Premier League encounters every three days and a Carabao Cup quarter-final in the not too distant future.

As has been the case in every installment of ‘Tierney or Nuno’, Saturday’s game will present yet another split in opinion. However, for a change, it’s a welcome split. That hasn’t always been the case.