Nuno Tavares: 12 of the most embarrassing substitutions in football as Arsenal man lasts 35 minutes

Nuno Tavares

Nuno Tavares made headlines during Arsenal’s embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta replaced the defender in the 35th-minute after a disappointing performance.

And the decision didn’t go down well with the 21-year-old who stormed past his manager and threw his gloves on the ground in anger.



“Why is he upset? Why is he? He must know. He’s in front of the dugout, the manager, he’s been sloppy with everything he’s done,” Roy Keane said whilst on punditry duty for ITV.

Arsenal went on to lose 1-0 to make Tavares’ meltdown even more embarrassing.

But Tavares is far from the only player to be embarrassed by a substitution.

It’s happened on numerous occasions and, therefore, we’ve decided to look back at 10 of the humiliating subs in football history.

Jasper Cillessen

This went down as a stroke of genius from Louis van Gaal but spare a thought for how Cillessen must have felt.

Netherlands vs Costa Rica in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final was heading for penalties when Van Gaal decided to bring on Tim Krul for Cillessen.

It worked a treat, though, as Krul saved two penalties in the shootout to send the Netherlands through to the semi-finals.

Jasper Cillessen

Juan Mata

This isn’t the last time Jose Mourinho will appear on this list.

Juan Mata must have feared the worst when Mourinho was appointed as Manchester United manager after the pair didn’t get on too well at Chelsea.

And in his very first match in charge in the Community Shield against Leicester, Mata came on as a substitute in the second half before being replaced in the final few minutes.

If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, Mourinho explained that it was because the Spaniard was “too short” to deal with the balls coming into the box. Mata’s replacement Henrikh Mkhitaryan was seven centimetres taller.

Mario Balotelli

Being a substituted substitute is one of the most humiliating things that can occur in football and that happened to Balotelli for Man City.

The Italian came on against Liverpool at Anfield in the 16th minute back in 2011. But as the Reds ran out 3-0 winners, he was substituted off with seven minutes remaining by Roberto Mancini.

Mario Balotelli

Nemanja Matic

Mourinho strikes again.

This time, during a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton while in charge of Chelsea, Mourinho brought on Nemanja Matic at half time. He was back on the bench 28 minutes later.

“I felt terrible to be subbed, to be honest,” Matic told The Mirror.

Nemanja Matic

Emmanuel Eboue

This was a tough afternoon for Eboue.

The Ivorian came off the bench for Arsenal against Wigan in 2008 but was booed throughout the match by the home fans.

He was then substituted towards the end of the match after a, quite frankly, awful performance.

“Eboue played for longer than I wanted him to,” was Arsene Wenger’s frank assessment.

Eric Dier

Guess who…

Yep, Mourinho was responsible for substituting Dier just 29 minutes into Tottenham’s Champions League clash against Olympiacos with them 2-0 down.

It probably made matters worse for Dier that the home side went on to win 4-2.

Eric Dier

Eric Bailly

Yep, Mourinho again.

This time, it took him just 19 minutes to take off one of his players with Manchester United 2-0 down against Newcastle.

Again, though, it worked with Man Utd winning 3-2.

Eric Bailly

Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips

Okay, this is the last time we’re going to feature Mourinho.

On this occasion, he substituted both Cole and Wright-Phillips with Chelsea 1-0 down at home to Fulham after just 26 minutes.

Didier Drogba and Damien Duff came on but the Blues still lost.

Joe Cole

Claudio Cacapa

Who remembers Newcastle’s Cacapa?

Sam Allardyce certainly will because he substituted the defender after 18 minutes during Newcastle vs Portsmouth. The Toon Army were 3-0 down after 11 minutes and Cacapa was having a shocker.

They ended up losing 4-1.

Claudio Cacapa

Moise Kean

19 second-half minutes. That’s how long Kean lasted in his substitute appearance for Everton vs Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Duncan Ferguson made the call to substitute Kean in the final moments of the match having brought him on in the 70th-minute.

Everton held out for a 1-1 draw but there wasn’t really any way back for Kean after that.

Dejan Lovren

Lovren wasn’t universally loved by Liverpool – and he certainly wasn’t during a match against Tottenham at Wembley in October 2017.

Jurgen Klopp’s side found themselves 2-0 down after 11 minutes and, after being bullied by Harry Kane, Lovren was taken off after 30 minutes. 

It didn’t exactly help as the Reds lost 4-1.


John Terry

We wanted to finish on something a little bit different – but perhaps the most embarrassing of them all.

No, Terry wasn’t substituted in the first half of his final Chelsea appearance due to a poor performance. But because he came up with the narcissistic idea to bring himself off after 26 minutes.

Don’t get us wrong, he deserved an incredible send off. But someone really should have told him that this wasn’t a great idea.  

Oh dear.

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