Ian Wright slams Arsenal star Nuno Tavares and hints Emirates future could be in doubt

Nottingham Forest v Arsenal pictures

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Arsenal icon Ian Wright has slammed left-back Nuno Tavares for his reaction to being substituted during the first-half of the Gunners’ humiliating 1-0 defeat by Nottingham Forest. The Portuguese was sloppy in the opening half-hour and was brutally taken off by boss Mikel Arteta before half-time. 

Tavares lost possession a couple of times and overhit a wayward back-pass to Bernd Leno which the goalkeeper could only chest away for a corner kick.  

Arteta quickly lost patience with the 21-year-old’s performance and dragged him off on 34 minutes. Kieran Tierney was put on in his place.  

Tavares responded by throwing his gloves to the floor, which drew ironic cheers from the Forest fans.  

He then appeared to tell Arteta’s backroom staff not to touch him as they gestured to shake his hand. 

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Former Arsenal striker Wright suggested that Arteta has set a precedent for strict discipline and is not the type of manager a player should upset.  

Arteta stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the club captaincy last month and excluded the striker from the first team and also exiled Matteo Guendouzi after he clashed with Brighton player Neal Maupay back in 2020. Wright has warned Tavares that he should not risk similar punishment from the Arsenal boss.  

“He started very poorly. You look at his reaction, there’s kind of like a – he’s coming off and he’s throwing his gloves down,” Wright told ITV at half-time. 

“I think this is the wrong manager to do that with, showing this kind of attitude. He doesn’t want to be touched [by staff on the bench].

“I think the disrespect he’s showing at the minute is something that Mikel Arteta won’t like. He should be acting better after the performance he’s put in.” 

Former Forest midfielder and assistant Roy Keane agreed with Wright. The 50-year-old was in disbelief that Tavares appeared to be shocked by his withdrawal.  

“Why is he upset? He must know [he’s at risk of being taken off],” Keane added.  

“He’s right in front of the dugout and the manager, he’s been sloppy in everything he’s done. 

“Okay, a player can make a mistake but that sloppiness is down to his attitude and the way he started the game and you can’t start a game like that. You’ll get dragged off.”

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It was not just Tavares who was poor at the City Ground. The entire Arsenal team was woeful and failed to have a shot on target.  

Fringe players such as Eddie Nketiah, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Cedric Soares failed to prove that they deserve to be promoted to Arteta’s preferred XI. 

Substitute Lewis Grabban scored the only goal of the game for the Championship side, who now face rivals Leicester in the fourth round.  

It was just the second time that Arsenal had been eliminated at the third-round stage since 1996. Incredibly, the other time was also a defeat against Forest in 2018. 
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