Kieran Tierney’s alternate Arsenal role gives Mikel Arteta a selection headache ahead of Crystal Palace – Tom Canton

Arsenal have so far endured a polarising season of both results and performances. Opening with three defeats followed by three victories. The convincing win in the North London derby preceded a dour 0-0 draw away at Brighton in which the Gunners struggled to break out of their own half.

Even the performances of some of Mikel Arteta’s most reliable players have come into question. Scotland international Kieran Tierney has been unable to influence Arsenal’s matches as he has done in previous seasons.

Fortunately, the presence of new signings Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have balanced the backline and Aaron Ramsdale’s rise to starting keeper has meant the defence has stayed strong.

Arteta though would have seen Tierney’s characteristically strong display for Scotland in their recent 3-2 win over Israel in the World Cup qualifiers.

Tierney was heavily involved in the Scotland attacks despite playing in a left-sided centre-half position. The 24-year-old combined with Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson, helping to set up the first goal for John McGinn.

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Tierney’s distribution from the backline was also good and his through balls often led to Scottish attacking opportunities.

Tierney has operated in the LCB position for Arsenal, and it was in the 3-4-3 system that Arteta won the FA Cup. Beating both Manchester City and Chelsea along the way.

Furthermore, the acquisition of Nuno Tavares from Benfica this summer opens the door to playing a different player in the left wing-back position.

The Portuguese youth international has impressed in his limited appearances so far but could find a way into the team should Arteta wish to switch up the side again to the back three system. Nuno Tavares could provide an option at left wing-back for Mikel Arteta to try with Kieran Tierney operating as the left centre-back.

Nuno Tavares could provide an option at left wing-back whilst Mikel Arteta operates Kieran Tierney as the left centre-back.
Nuno Tavares could provide an option at left wing-back whilst Mikel Arteta operates Kieran Tierney as the left centre-back.

The system makes even more sense when considering that both White and Tomiyasu have operated in a back three for their former clubs Brighton and Bologna.

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Gabriel even featured in the formation at Chelsea last season when Arsenal stole a 1-0 league win at the Bridge for the first time in nearly a decade.

With both Chelsea and Brighton having so much joy against Arsenal when using their own wing backs, the restructure could also better help deal with the threats.

The decision ultimately lies with Arteta, and the match against Crystal Palace would be the first opportunity to test it. However, the Spaniard has shown persistent loyalty to his players and back four setup.

It seems unlikely he would abandon it now.

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Source by Football London

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