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Mikel Arteta told to play Bukayo Saka at left-back on Nuno Tavares and Granit Xhaka easily ‘exposed’ by Arsenal legend Martin Keown


Arsenal legend Martin Keown has presented what he calls a “radical” solution to Arsenal’s new injury crisis, which revolves around key striker Bukayo Saka.

Mikel Arteta knows all about the dreaded injury ‘double whammy’, but they’re rarely much worse than losing guaranteed starters Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey for the rest of the season.

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Arteta will have to be without one of his most important players

Mikel Arteta told to play Bukayo Saka at left-back on Nuno Tavares and Granit Xhaka easily ‘exposed’ by Arsenal legend Martin Keown

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And Tierney has since been joined on the sidelines by Partey

Arsenal looked to have finally killed off the competition in the hunt for a top four finish, but injuries and poor results prompted rivals Tottenham to return, ahead on goal difference but with one game more played.

The Gunners rode a five-game winning streak before losing to Liverpool, but quickly bounced back to beat Aston Villa 1-0 and regain their momentum.

However, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace last time out saw Spurs close, and things have only gotten worse since.

Two of Arteta’s starting XI will be unavailable for the most crucial clashes, with Tierney out until next season after knee surgery, while Partey will struggle to come back in time with a back injury. thigh.

Tierney’s absence presents Arteta with a huge challenge. His only natural replacement at left-back, Nuno Tavares, was replaced early by the Spaniard in his previous two appearances.

Central midfielder Granit Xhaka has been offered as a full-back replacement as Tavares comes under fire, but former Arsenal defender Keown has suggested a third option.


Mikel Arteta told to play Bukayo Saka at left-back on Nuno Tavares and Granit Xhaka easily ‘exposed’ by Arsenal legend Martin Keown

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Summer signing Tavares replaced twice early under Arteta

Speaking on talkSPORT, Keown said: “We need to find a solution at Arsenal to the left-back problem, I would like to see Saka move to left-back.

“I know it’s drastic, but I’d rather see that than Xhaka there, who’s going to be exposed, if you create such a weakness in the team then you have to fill it.

“I think Saka could go to left-back and still do damage from the left, [Nicolas] Pepe back on the right side, [Gabriel] Martinelli on the left.

“It’s about the best eleven, but if you have a problem with a player so much that everything goes down that side and mistakes are made and you don’t believe in the player, then you can’t not play it..

Mikel Arteta told to play Bukayo Saka at left-back on Nuno Tavares and Granit Xhaka easily ‘exposed’ by Arsenal legend Martin Keown

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Keown doesn’t trust Xhaka or Tavares

“So I would say ‘OK we’re not going to play Tavares’ but I don’t think Xhaka is the answer, he certainly isn’t, they would create teams to exploit that weakness, it’s going to win” He doesn’t It won’t be long before Xhaka leaves the pitch and Arsenal are down to 10 men again. Play Saka there.

Saka, 20, an academy graduate, has been Arsenal’s most productive player this season with 10 goals and five assists in all competitions, but he has experience as a defender.

The England international’s early career saw him impress at both left-back and left-back, and while Arsenal would lose their attacking threat up front, it could help shore things up. the back.

And if Arteta chooses to take the Keown route and bring Saka back to where it all began, that’s how the Gunners could settle into their quest for a glorious Champions League return.

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