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Arteta defends his use of Xhaka at left-back over Nuno Tavares

Mikel Arteta has defended his use of Granit Xhaka at left-back for Arsenal over summer signing Nuno Tavares.

Xhaka featured as an auxiliary left-back during the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Brighton last weekend, as the North Londoners look to cope with the absence of Kieran Tierney.

 

The Switzerland midfielder produced an indifferent performance as Arsenal’s hopes of a top four finish suffered a setback, with Arteta questioned over his decision to select Xhaka ahead of Tavares.

The latter had struggled at Crystal Palace in the club’s previous fixture but is a natural at left-back, though Arteta has defended his decision and praised Xhaka’s displays in the makeshift role.

“When I put a player on the pitch I see he’s in the right position to do that,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Southampton.

“Look at the stats when Granit plays at left back. You don’t get much better than that.

“When I’m convinced to do something that I believe is best for the team I do it.”

Tierney has undergone surgery to correct a knee issue felt in training and could be sidelined for the reminder of the season, with the 24-year-old also a doubt for Scotland’s World Cup play-off fixtures in June.

Read – Premier League preview: Six talking points ahead of the weekend’s action

Read Also – Xhaka reveals he was ‘done with Arsenal’ after fan fallout

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