Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explains why he made embarrassing Nuno Tavares decision vs Forest

By Daniel Orme

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has suggested that Nuno Tavares’ first-half substitution against Nottingham Forest was an attempt to ‘improve’ the performance of his side.

The Portuguese left-back was hauled off in just the 35th minute of the game, after what was a pretty torrid display and was replaced by Kieran Tierney.

There was no sign of injury to the former Benfica youngster, whilst he also reacted furiously after his substitution, hinting that the decision was entirely tactical.

Following the clash at the City Ground, Arteta explained that Tavares’ departure was for the good of his side - despite the somewhat unforgiving nature of the substitution.

“I just did it to try to improve the performance of the team,” Arteta said. “I understand that (it might create a story) but I have to make the decision to try to improve the performance of the team when it’s not going in any other direction.”

The brave decision from Arteta did not pay off in the end, with the Gunners slipping to a humiliating third round exit at the hands of the Championship side - Lewis Grabban’s goal being enough to see Forest progress and set up a meeting with local rivals Leicester City.

Tavares, 21, has so far appeared on 18 occasions for the Gunners since his summer move to the Emirates Stadium. Ten of those have been starts and it is the first time that he has actually been substituted off by Arteta in his Arsenal career so far.

Whilst the Portuguese was a disappointment, it appears that he was not the only one to disappoint the current Gunners’ boss, with Arteta highly critical of his side’s performance against Forest as a whole.

He continued: “Really disappointed with the performance first of all, not with the attitude.

“How much purpose we have and what determination we showed to change the game when it’s difficult to play against.

“But more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action. Much more, we were not at our level today.”

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