‘Quite brilliant’: BBC Sport pundit raves about 21-year-old Arsenal star

BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks singles out Arsenal defender Nuno Tavares for special praise after Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media)

Garth Crooks says Nuno Tavares is on his radar after the Arsenal full-back produced an impressive performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United at The Emirates.

The 21-year-old has managed to keep Kieran Tierney out of Mikel Arteta’s starting XI in recent weeks thanks to his impressive performances in a left-back role in the Arsenal team.

Tavares was at his best for the Gunners as he laid on an assist for Bukayo Saka to break the deadlock in the 56th minute against the Magpies at the Emirates Stadium.

The Portuguese defender played his part in Arsenal’s win as Arteta’s back four kept their fourth clean sheet in five games to continue their ascent up the Premier League table.

BBC Sport pundit Crooks was impressed with the Portuguese defender’s performance in Arsenal’s comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle at The Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

“This kid had passed me by, but he’s certainly on my radar now,” Crooks told BBC Sport. “I’ve always admired full-backs who are not afraid to try and have an impact on the game.

“If Tavares wasn’t running into the opposition’s half with the ball he was trying to put one of his team-mates through on goal. The assist for Bukayo Saka’s goal was quite brilliant.”

Arsenal signed Tavares in an £8m deal from Benfica in the summer transfer window to provide Tierney with more competition for a left-back spot in Arteta’s team.

The 21-year-old has made 12 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal in his fledgling career so far.

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richard highlighted the left-back’s confidence despite completing a move to the Premier League just a matter of months ago.

Speaking on Match Of The Day on Saturday night after Tavares’ performance, the retired England international gave a glowing verdict on the summer signing.

“He was one of the best players on the pitch,” Richards said. “Every opportunity he went forward, and he went forward with quality. Krafth had an absolute nightmare against him.

“What is he, 21? From Benfica? He’s confident now, he’s having fun. £8m, he’s keeping out Kieran Tierney who I really love, he’s started the last five games. He, today, was brilliant. He really was.”

Tavares scored one goal in 41 games in all competitions during his two seasons in the Benfica first team.

The Arsenal defender is yet to earn a call-up to the Portugal national team.

Tavares will be hoping to start his sixth Premier League game of the season when Arsenal take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.

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