Mikel Arteta backs Nuno Tavares amid struggles in first Premier League season

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has leapt to the defence of young Portuguese left-back Nuno Tavares in the aftermath of the Gunners' 3-0 loss against Crystal Palace on Monday, after the summer signing put in a frustrating performance.

Tavares was called upon by Arteta to start against Patrick Vieira's Eagles for the first time since Arsenal's 3-2 loss against Manchester United back on December 2nd, which marked his sixth consecutive start for his new club at the time.

Since then, Tavares had only registered 33-minutes of actions across 15-fixtures, and that bit of rust certainly showed at Selhurst Park. But Arteta continues to show faith in the 22-year-old Portuguese youth international despite his latest performance.

"Throughout your career, you have to go through difficult moments. He had some really good periods when he arrived at the club and he was playing many more minutes than he probably was expecting. And that's the development curve of a player, that especially at that age, is not like that. It is very much with ups and downs and we are here to try to help him and make his career better, and that's what we want."

Tavares to deputize for injured Kieran Tierney

With the news that key left-back Kieran Tierney will be out for the remainder of the 2021-22 Premier League season, Nuno Tavares is set for another extended run in the Arsenal starting XI as the Gunners approach the bookend of the campaign which could end in their return to the Champions League next term.

But Mikel Arteta's men have a cadre of tricky clashes to negotiate before the season comes to a close, including fixtures against Southampton (A), Chelsea (A), Manchester United (H), West Ham (A), and Tottenham (A).

Despite the difficulty factor of what is still to come, Arsenal's Spanish headmaster remains supportive of Tavares. despite the potential blow to his confidence during the Palace loss where he put in a poor shift before being removed at half-time.

"Well his confidence, probably because he was not playing a lot of minutes as well, he wasn't at his best, and he needs that rhythm and he needs the competition, and he needs the understanding with his team-mates. We have to help him to do that. But at the end of the day, during a match, you have to decide if something can change that game and how we can make it better and on Monday we made our decision."

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