Nuno Tavares scored his maiden goal for the club in his first start after bursting into the box to fire home a right-footed finish against Rangers.
Nuno Tavares enjoyed a dream start to life at Arsenal with a memorable outing in a friendly. The Portuguese left-back joined the Gunners recently from Benfica and was handed his first start by boss Mikel Arteta for the friendly against Rangers on Saturday. The 21-year-old left-back wasted no time in demonstrating his athleticism in a positive first start. He capped his dream debut with the first equalising goal – just 23 minutes into his Arsenal career. In his first start, Tavares ran into the box to fire home a right-footed finish against Rangers. Then, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came close to giving Arsenal the lead before the Scottish club scored again from a corner in the second half. However, Eddie Nketiah smashed home through a crowd to end the friendly match 2-2.
Later, Nuno Tavares revealed that he possesses a dangerous right-foot shot, despite being left-footed. Even though he was replaced at half-time at Ibrox Stadium, Tavares was delighted with his non-competitive debut. “I felt good. It was a good game for me and for us. A good test. I think we had a good match and we learned a lot,” he was quoted as saying by the club’s website. “I feel very happy to score my first goal with Arsenal. I’m so excited for this and today I did it.”
He also opened up about his experience on playing alongside Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe. “It’s good to play with the best, like Aubameyang and Laca. They’re very good players and to play with them, it’s so good,” he added. “Of course. I’m so excited to play with fans at the Emirates. I can’t wait for this. We will see.”
Revealing what manager Mikel Arteta wants from him, Nuno Tavares said, “To play free, not be scared, do my job and that’s it.”
Meanwhile, Arteta saw many positives in Arsenal’s second pre-season friendly in Scotland after the club twice fought back to earn a draw against the Rangers. “Overall I’m really pleased with the performance,” he added. “I think we dominated the game, we created so many chances – I counted about eight or 10 clear chances to score – but this game is decided in both boxes. We weren’t clinical in the opponent’s box and we conceded two goals from two corners, which were the only chances they had apart from the counter-attack from our own corner.
“It’s much better from the other day and you tell that physically we were already better in the second game, the organisation was better, individually they played better, but I really liked the collective understanding of the game and how we executed a lot of things we’ve been working on in the training pitch.”
Speaking on Nuno Tavares’ outing, Arteta said, “A great debut with his right foot as well! He’s only been with us a few days but you can already see his qualities, his physicality and then the quality on the ball that he has. He’s integrating with the lads really well, so it’s a good start.”