Arteta: We don’t have anybody to replace Tierney’s qualities

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Mikel Arteta is hopeful that Kieran Tierney can feature for Arsenal again this season after fearing the knee injury sustained against Liverpool was going to be much worse.

The Scotland international is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after suffering ligament damage meaning he also faces a race against time to be fit for the European Championships in the summer.

In the meantime, Arteta recognises that without natural cover for the left-back, who has been vital to the Gunners attacking output this season, he faces a challenge rejigging the way he sets up his side.

“It doesn’t look like he needs surgery so in that case, the timeframe will be around what you said [4-6 weeks],” said Arteta ahead of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg with Slavia Prague.

“It could have been worse because the action looks quite scary. He’s feeling better and the damage is not that bad. At the end of the day, it’s not the bad news we thought might be waiting for us at the end of the game.

“We’re going to have to go day by day and see how Kieran is feeling, how the knee is reacting. When we get close to playing time and training with the team, depending on where we are and how he’s feeling, we’ll make the decision [as to whether he plays].”

On playing for Scotland, he added: “It will depend how things evolve in the next few weeks. Obviously, he’s so keen to play for us before the end of the season. And he’s extremely keen to represent his country in the Euros.”

In the absence of Sead Kolasinac, who was loaned to Schalke in January, right-footed Cedric Soares and winger Bukayo Saka are the two players most likely to provide cover.

Given Tierney’s influence on our attacking output, the boss admits he may need to change the way his side plays to ensure they still function efficiently in the final third.

“Yeah, we’re going to have to make some adjustments because his qualities are unique and we don’t have anybody to replace these qualities in the squad unless we start to move a lot of pieces.

“Without any time to train that’s a little bit dangerous to do. We’re going to have to find different ways to fulfil that gap and use other things that can be as effective as well.”

Arteta is also well aware that he risks unbalancing his side as they seek a solution.

“That’s the reality,” he said.  “You have to change something, you have to find a different way of attacking and at the same time the structure when you are defending and in the transition moments has to be stable and be done by players who are comfortable.

“We knew that that position [left-back] was a weakness around the squad because we didn’t have anybody to replace him [Kieran]. We have to find different solutions.”

Pressed on why the club didn’t recruit a left-back in January, he added: “We could not do anything in that window. We decided to let Kolasinac out on loan and it’s just a decision that we made.”

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Gus Caesar

I do think that the club made a bad mistake in not bringing in any left-back cover in January. That doesn’t require any hindsight, it was blindingly obvious that over-relying on Tierney (a man with an injury record as long as most) was fraught with danger and we’ve lost yet another gamble. It really doesn’t reflect welI on Arteta and Edu. I agree with Blogs that Saka should be asked to move back now but, for Thursday, because of the lack of preparation time, it’s probably more logical to put Cedric there. We have ample other options on the wings… Read more »

John

Even now, I find myself missing Nacho Monreal.

Gus Caesar

Such an underrated player. But he wanted to leave, so he wouldn’t have been the answer really.

Runcorn Gooner

And he just won a Spanish Cup Medal to add to his FA cup medals. Great team player. Miss him.

goonshow

As one of the few who could actually understand what Unai was saying, he clearly saw the scribbling on the wall!

SB Still

The other obvious fact was Tierney started all the games for us and possibly for his country as well.

He really needed a break. If we thought playing Chambers as an RB was a good idea, could have asked Cedric to cover LB. In hindsight, based on the performance of most of the players, we anyway had written that game off!

SB Still

Arseblog team, my comment above was caught-up in the filter, was it the content or my name that caused the issue 🤔

SarcasmB0t

Meh. Cedric or Saka will do.

Sure, it’s no great to have no cover for an injury-prone player, but whoever we would have bought in would be only a marginal improvement over what Cedric can provide.

If you want any better, you need to spend real money – money which is better used on starters.

Gus Caesar

Maybe, maybe not – that surely would’ve depended partly on the quality of our scouting and negotiating? For example (and, to be clear, this could be complete transfer dogshite), we were linked to the young Hibs left-back Josh Doig in January. He’s a good player from what i’ve seen, a real talent and presumably wouldn’t have required lavish expenditure had we got him in January. I don’t think a reasonable long-term back-up necessarily need have cost us silly money.

gunner1905

Would’ve cost another nonhg spot which is even more of an issue.

goonshow

Just read Tim’s Mayhem column – when you look at the past year’s dealings, Edu and Mik have not covered themselves in glory by any stretch.

C.B.

Bad news, Tierney is one of our top players. Would love him to stay fit for season after season. Though he does leave it all out on the pitch, hence the risk of injuries.

Biggles

He always had a poor injury record both at Celtic and, of course, with us. I think we have to accept that, in the foreseeable future anyway, we won’t get much more than half of a full season from him. If so, we will need appropriate cover but that quality costs money. Perhaps we can do something in the summer window.

atom

KT is so important to us that I’m glad there’s potential for him to come back this year. That said if we get knocked out the EL ahead of the final then there’s really no point in bringing him back. It’s pretty crazy that we’re over 80% through the year and we still don’t know our best line up if everyone is fit. Our back line really isn’t settled still while it’s not clear who should play in the front 3 either. Only our midfield is set & that includes a loan player & another who largely is playing as… Read more »

Gabigol

Willian left back.

Gabigol

… in the changing room

canon fodder

…very funny! I did chuckle; I must admit.

goonshow

God man – that one is so old, I last heard it when the Dead Sea was only slightly poorly…

Bergenry

In memory of Paul Ritter and the character he played in Friday Night Dinner; Shit On It!

Rich

Poor squad planning again We loan out the only natural competition for Tierney in January, which means we then overplay him, he then inevitably gets injured, and now we don’t have a left back for the run in I don’t understand the argument around just picking up a second rate understudy for Tierney in the summer We’ve already got Kolasinac, who we’ll probably have to pay to leave What’s the point in paying a subpar left back to leave, only to replace him with another subpar left back on a 4yr deal? This summer we turn down offers for Bellerin… Read more »

The_Golden_Wrigglesworth

They might not have the slightest clue what they’re doing, but they definitely know how to trust the process.

Gus Caesar

In fairness, I think things were a bit more nuanced than you suggest here. For example, Maitland-Niles left because he (rightly) got dropped and didn’t want to be sat on the bench again and had his idea of playing centre-mid. Now, i’d have bitten Wolves’ hands off for the money they reportedly offered us for him last summer (I don’t rate him at all), but I could see why the club decided to give him a chance (and most people in these comments last summer were talking like he was the next Lizarazu based on a handful of good-ish displays… Read more »

Rich

I quite like Niles, but it doesn’t matter what the fans thought, fans aren’t paid 7 figures to make the correct judgment calls It’s Arteta + Edu who are paid to make the decisions, we had a first team squad of 31, they never played him, and then loaned him out They chose to keep Bellerin, who now appears to be third choice They chose to sign Runarsson and give him a 4yr deal, leaving us a Leno injury away from him becoming our No1 Nelson has had a wasted season in his development Either Nketiah or Martinelli should have… Read more »

goonshow

And then, there’s the brewing Balogun fiasco…

Gervinho is Driving

We know Kolasinac’s ceiling. We can sign a “sub-par” young left back who may be of equal incompetence now, but has upside and resale potential.

Generally, tho, I agree the club is, as we say in America, “three monkeys trying to f*** a football.” (NFL football.)

goonshow

Two words: dog… and show.

Mick Malthouse

The last quote is concerning. “Its just a decision we made” doesn’t excuse how stupid it was. Left back cover was obvious and yes, you could have done something. We have gone from being the most astute club in the league to the most poorly run club in England.
Poor recruitment, ingrained mediocrity and a lack of thought leadership has left us a struggling mid table team.
You reap what you sow.

Gabigol

The Auba, martinelli, Saka axis worked very well last season.

Nketibag

In a back 3 yes, but I hope we don’t revert to that

Vonnie

He’s been played into the ground, why he was on the pitch for Scotland against the Faroe Isles God alone knows. I suppose he was keen to play and needed against Liverpool but the lad needed a rest. When we bought him he’d been playing injured for Celtic, he was given time to recover and he’d been doing well and found some really good form before this. Scotland don’t seem to have any regard for their players. Not getting some sort of cover in January is up there with not doing the paperwork for the Saliba loan as far as… Read more »

Naked Cygan

The headline should be “We don’t have many players who deserve to play for this club.” and “We don’t have a manager who is qualified to manage Arsenal.”
I will not be shocked if we are knocked out this round. Thank god fans have not paid to go watch the sh*t performances this season.

Biggles

He’s right of course but we should be thinking about rectifying that (if we can, money being tight) as it’s pretty clear now that Tierney will be out with injuries of one sort or another for quite a lot of the time as was the case at Celtic and since joining us.

OBT

The season that was done is now done done!!

Ron

Try that at your work: “yes boss I screwed up the business but it’s just a decision I made”.

Keith Marr

It would be lovely to have cover for all positions but there isn’t always the player for the money. So losing such a good influence on the team has to be put down to bad luck. Sometimes we have to just take it and improvise.

78/79/80

Remember when Flamini was the left back that got us to CL final. He was incredible. But then Cole was back for final. To this day I watch the replays and wonder what might have been if Flamini had played the final too. And what about when Uber right footed Oleg Luzshny played left back for good par of a season. Was that invincibles?

Ealing

I think the decision to let kola go on loan was okay, and also not to bring in a left back, as replacement,

I wouldn’t have let AMN go anywhere, he’s a good versatile player, very fit and had a great end of season last year

ALSOANDO

Let’s do a back 3 for the rest of the season. Holding Mari and Gabriel. Cedric or Heccy RWB, Saka LWB.

Chambers DM
Partey-Øodegard CM
Smith-Rowe CAM
Auba and Laca up front

Pepe and Willian as super subs.

Crash Fistfight

No goalkeeper in that team or are you intending on playing 12 players?

Gervinho is Driving

I’m having Wiltshire anxiety about Tierney.