Explosive Tavares shines with debut goal but set-piece concerns highlighted again as Arsenal held by Rangers

Explosive Tavares shines with debut goal but set-piece concerns highlighted again as Arsenal held by Rangers

 

Premier League giants Arsenal rounded out the club’s pre-season tour of Scotland with a 2-2 draw with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers this afternoon.

Emirates latest

Mikel Arteta’s men are of course currently ramping up preparations for the new season.

After enduring something of a nightmare campaign last time out, which saw the Gunners stutter to an 8th-placed Premier League finish, all associated with the club will no doubt have their sights set considerably higher for 2021/22.

To this point in the summer, the vast majority of the chatter when it comes to ongoings on the red half of North London has surrounded potential additions to Arteta’s ranks.

This comes with the Arsenal boss evidently of the opinion that his side remains in need of significant reinforcement, if a top-4 challenge is to develop next time out.

Links, thus far, have revolved chiefly around defenders and central midfielders, with deals for both Brighton star Ben White and Anderlect talent Sambi Lokonga understood to be close to completion:

Gers clash takeaways

It was one of those to have already sealed his summer switch to the Emirates, though, who today got his Gunners career off to the best possible start.

The player in question? Nuno Tavares.

Portuguese left-back Tavares was of course brought in from Benfica last weekend, to act as backup to Kieran Tierney over the course of the season ahead.

And this afternoon, the 21-year-old provided fans of his new club with an insight into precisely what he’s all about.

After being handed his debut with a start in a friendly meeting with Rangers, Tavares quickly showcased all of his attacking traits, surging up and down the wing with pace, vigour and quality.

Such endeavours even culminated in the defender being rewarded with his first goal for his new club inside 25 minutes, when Tavares picked the pocket of James Tavernier, before slotting confidently inside the far post with his unfavoured right foot.

Whilst Tavares’ starring debut proved an undoubted plus for Arsenal on Saturday, though, one concern came in the form of the two goals conceded by Mikel Arteta’s men.

After being beaten from a set-piece in their first friendly outing of the summer versus Hibernian during the week, such woes continued at Ibrox this afternoon.

First, inside the opening quarter of an hour, a whipped corner from the left saw Leon Balogun rise highest to nod beyond Arthur Okonkwo.

And Rangers’ 2nd en route to an eventual 2-2 stalemate too came courtesy of a dead ball, with Cedric Itten this time the benefactor of a dangerous delivery into the Arsenal area 15 minutes from time.

Whilst too much should of course not yet be read into such shortcomings on the part of Arteta’s side, it will nevertheless come as a concern, on the same day that the arrival of a new set-piece coach at the Emirates was confirmed.

 

Arsenal transfer news: Juve see Locatelli bid rejected, Gunners ‘admire’ Jack Grealish & Lacazette sale ‘difficult

Arsenal line up £10 million offer for Hector Bellerin replacement Muldur