Arsenal have suffered a serious setback to their Europa League hopes after it was revealed that Kieran Tierney will be out for several weeks with a knee injury.
The Scotsman went off just before half-time after hurting himself during a clash with Liverpool’s James Milner with Mikel Arteta confirming after the game that he was in pain.
He’s set for a scan over the next 48 hours to determine the severity of the ‘future captain’s‘ injury, however, the initial feel is that he’ll be out for the rest of the season.
Is Kieran Tierney Arsenal's most important player?
Well, what can you say.
As the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours.
Arsenal are left counting their chickens after it was revealed yesterday that David Luiz will be out for a number of weeks after having minor surgery. And now that reports are revealing the true extent of the Scotland international’s fitness issue, that’s two of Arsenal’s first-choice back-four out for the foreseeable future.
The duo have been a mainstay in the starting XI for much of Arsenal’s run in the knock-out stages of the Europa League this season. Luiz has started each of the four games against the likes of Benfica and Olympiacos, whilst Tierney has started the last three clashes.
Whilst the Brazilian offers a sensational range of passing, which was missing during the brutal encounter versus Liverpool, Tierney’s pace, energy and attacking threat down the left flank has been Arsenal’s main source of creativity this season.
So, how does Arteta fix these teething selection issues?
Well, with the club having opted for the ‘no back-up left-back’ approach following the loan of Sead Kolasinac, Cedric has filled in when Tierney has been missing. Should the worst-case scenario be confirmed over the next 48 hours, the Portuguese defender is a shoo-in to act as cover.
However, his recent performances, especially in an attacking sense, doesn’t necessarily fill you with much hope as Arsenal tackle Europa League glory. The 29-year-old doesn’t exactly exude confidence when asked to control the ball with his weaker left foot and has often slowed down attacks and passages of play when filling in for the former Celtic man.
Meanwhile, whilst Rob Holding has been a wall of consistency this season, his ball-playing ability, compared to Luiz’s, is not up to the level required to help Arsenal build from the back. His struggles versus the Reds last week showed exactly why Arsenal need the 33-year-old for the games ahead.
Tierney’s injury news is the worst case scenario Arteta would’ve been dreading after watching his dependable ace walk-off last Saturday. Mixed with the Luiz news and Arsenal’s bid for Champions League football looks quite difficult.