Arsenal face Emmanuel Eboue repeat with Nuno Tavares and Mikel Arteta must act

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta must act on Nuno Tavares’ poor form before it is too late in their quest for Champions League football. Tavares could become the club’s next Emmanuel Eboue if he is not taken out of the firing line.

The Portugal full-back joined Arsenal last summer and initially started his spell at the club okay. He even kept Kieran Tierney out of the team for a number of matches in November after the Scotland star returned from injury.

But 2022 has not been a good year for Tavares so far. He was dragged off during the first half of the FA Cup third-round loss to Nottingham Forest in January.

He was then taken off at half-time of his first Premier League start in over four months against Crystal Palace in early April. Tavares scored his first goal for the club in the 3-1 win over Manchester United last week but also gave away a penalty and was poor defensively.

Tierney being ruled out for the remainder of the season leaves Tavares as the only recognised left-back available to Arteta. However, it is slowly getting to a point where his presence in the team is doing more harm than good.

And that is where the comparison to Eboue comes in. The former Ivory Coast star was equally erratic defensively and a potential calamity at times.

Eboue was a cult hero at Arsenal with some supporters but also hated by others. He was famously booed off in 2008 by his home fans after coming on as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Wigan.

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Arsenal are heading into a hugely important few weeks in their recent history. Getting back into the Champions League would be a huge step and they cannot afford many slip-ups.

The Gunners took the lead against West Ham on Sunday through Rob Holding’s first Premier League goal. But the hosts were level just before half-time.

Tavares gave West Ham too much space down their right on one too many occasions. Vladimir Coufal took advantage before picking out Jarrod Bowen, who grabbed the Hammers’ equaliser.

It’s not just his defensive positioning that lets Tavares down. His passing is poor and often leaves his team in the mire, especially when he has ventured forward.

Arteta doesn’t have many other options at left-back but Cedric Soares is an alternative. Takehiro Tomiyasu started against West Ham after his injury lay-off and Arteta said in his pre-match press conference that the Japan star could even play at left-back, with Cedric potentially then filling in on the right. However, Tomiyasu limped off in the second half which could be a concern.

Leeds are the visitors to the Emirates next weekend. With Raphinha likely to start on the right, Arteta must make a change in that position.

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