Arsenal: Has Arteta found a winning formula for Gunners?
Mikel Arteta regards Kieran Tierney as an integral part of his Gunners project and the Scotland international has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League in recent weeks. It’s been a tough start to life in north London for Tierney, who was sidelined with a number of injury problems last season.
The full-back still managed to help his side win the FA Cup though earlier this summer, following a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Wembley.
Tierney has spent large parts of this season playing at centre-back, as part of Arteta’s tactical reshuffle.
He was starting matches on the left side of a three-man defence and therefore slightly out of his comfort zone.
Nonetheless, Tierney’s exemplary attitude and will to win saw him turn in some fine individual performances despite the team’s struggles.
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The Gunners’ recent slump at the beginning of December saw Arteta change formation back to 4-2-3-1.
It’s an amendment that has benefitted both Tierney and the team, now he is back in his favourite left-back position where he soared for Celtic.
Now he is beginning to show that he is one of the best full-backs in the Premier League and his stellar form is one of several positive elements to Arsenal’s renaissance.
Tierney scored a stunner on his weaker right food at The Hawthorns on Saturday, in the 4-0 win over West Brom.
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The goal highlighted just how much he has to offer when going forward, as opposed to being limited as a centre-back.
According to the Daily Star, Arteta has now decided he doesn’t want to play Tierney in a back three and wants to focus on playing him in his correct position.
Moving forward, he will be Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice left-back, with Sead Kolasinac set to return to Schalke on loan.
It’s not the only plan Arteta has for Tierney though after the Gunners boss opened the door to potential captaincy.
“I think he can be [captain], because he has the respect and the admiration of every member of the staff and every player,” Arteta said.
“It’s just the way he is, he does it in a natural way. He’s a really shy boy but I think he represents all of the values we want to install and that are in the DNA of this football club.
“He’s shy, he’s so humble as well. He came here and it took him a while, he had a really bad injury and he’s away from home, but he’s a natural leader.
“You see how he behaves on that pitch, and when he talks he says the right thing and it’s exactly what we’re looking for and I’m so pleased to have him in the team.
“In both phases [attacking and defensively] I think he can do really well. He can still improve but at the moment he’s a real threat in attack and he’s been really solid defensively. It’s the type of contribution we need from our full-backs.”
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