Mikel Arteta has a glaring defensive dilemma ahead of Arsenal’s crucial Spurs showdown

Arsenal are getting closer to their ultimate goal of securing Champions League qualification but face a tough showdown with Tottenham on Thursday night

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Mikel Arteta has quite a selection headache when it comes to Arsenal’s defensive line for Thursday night’s much-anticipated North London derby against Tottenham.

The full-back position at both sides has emerged as something of a problem area for the Gunners boss as Arsenal near the final furlong of the season with Champions League football still at stake. Four points currently separate their north London neighbors, with Arsenal in coveted fourth place.

First-choice left-back Kieran Tierney is out for the rest of the season and has been there since early April to give his deputy Nuno Tavares a chance to make the place his own.

Instead, the young Portuguese defender has continued his tumultuous start to his Gunners career. While Tavares has many positive attributes in the offensive sense, he is undeniably shaky when it comes to the defensive side of the game.

Many fans and pundits have suggested that Tavare’s tendency to make at least one glaring error per game means it’s far too big a risk to use him against Arsenal in the final three games of the season. It seems if the last outing is something Arteta agrees.

Takehiro Tomiyasu, signed in the summer, was a revelation after arriving from Bologna but struggled through his debut season with injuries. The right-back has only recently returned from a lengthy break but was deployed at left-back during Leeds’ visit to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.

It could be seen as a damning indictment of Arteta’s lack of confidence in Tavares that he would rather play a right-back at the opposite end than actually use the young left-back in his preferred position. That being said, there is one other alternative that still doesn’t spark much optimism from Arsenal believers.

Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu could play at left-back against Spurs

WILL YOU PARTICIPATE! Who should Arteta pick as his full-back for the Tottenham trip? Comment below

Cedric Soares has been reliable for the most part when tasked with replacing Tomiyasu but in recent games he has struggled seriously against the likes of Jadon Sancho and Wilfried Zaha. With Spurs’ Heung-Min Son at the forefront, Arteta has a lot to think about when it comes to crushing the South Korea international.

While Arteta will no doubt take into account the fact that Tomiyasu did a pretty good job at Son in the last clash between these sides, it would still pose a problem for the left-back to play the Japan international in his preferred right-back role. If Tavares is out of the question there, the next obvious candidate is Tomiyasu.

Cedric’s recent troubles could prevent the Gunners boss from playing him against one of Tottenham’s strongest threats, meaning another player could be forced to play from his preferred position.

Benjamin White played at right-back for both Arsenal and former club Brighton last season. The England international has missed the last two league games but Arteta remains hopeful he will get fit in time for the derby.

“Ben White is still in the running so he has to train tomorrow to make sure he’s ready,” the Spaniard told the media. There is a possibility that White will be selected as a full-back as part of a back four that turns into a back three without possession.

Which of these many options Arteta chooses could potentially decide whether Arsenal play in the Champions League next season. It’s the sort of decision expected from a man who recently received a lengthy contract extension and has the backing of the club hierarchy.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-arteta-tottenham-fullback-decision-26908802 Mikel Arteta has a glaring defensive dilemma ahead of Arsenal's crucial Spurs showdown

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