Keiran Tierney has been transformed by Arsenal using a back four

Tierney Must Stay Free by AI

We began this season with a back 3. Tierney was very often the left center-back while Bellerin was given the freer role of a wingback. Bellerin, despite his loss of pace, is currently at 4 assists for Arsenal as well as the penalty win at Old Trafford.

Tierney was only given an occasional license to bomb up the left and cross. Despite doing that job remarkably well, the Scottish international has not been reaping the fruits of his labour. Most of his deliveries were simply not being converted.

Arteta switched back to a back 4 against Chelsea and gave Tierney the same freedom as Hector Bellerin. The result was spectacular. Spinning past his marker and bursting into the penalty box like a winger, the 23-year-old won the penalty that gave life to the match and to Arsenal’s season. Bukayo Saka was no longer clogging his way on the left and with his talent redirected to the right, Arsenal suddenly had creative outlets on either side.

Consequently, Hector Bellerin was afforded the defensive cover of the 19-year-old Anglo-Nigerian as well as his creative combinations. As a result, Arsenal improved on both flanks and Tierney was free to show his pedigree and prodigious ability.

Tierney must stay free. As a left-back in a back four, he can give us his defensive ability as well as his attacking output. Because he is staying out on the flanks, Aubameyang or Martinelli can go inside where their finishing abilities are more useful. At the very least, he and Bellerin provide us with a forward threat on either flank, making us better at attacking play.

Since the major formation change in December, no defender in the Premier League has created more than Tierney’s 20 chances. That is spectacular. Tierney must stay free, not just for himself but for the overall balance of the team.

Agboola Israel


  1. Had Xhaka not been a regular starter as the left pivot, Tierney wouldn’t be able to run into the opposition’s half so often. A left-footed DM is essential since Arteta’s 4-2-3-1 overloads the left side, although the DM looks immobile and bad in tight spaces

    1. You’re very right. We really need a xhaka replacement not only because of tight spaces, but cos of the fact that he’s growing old… Maybe Maitland Niles can fit that position as he’s not only more mobile, but more versatile than Grant Xhaka probably Ceballos, Elneny can take the right while Partey can support both sides

      1. Xhaka’s replacement had better be a left-footed DM as well, like Eduardo Camavinga. Left overload tactic requires a left-footer who can pass through small space at the left touchline

        1. The change to a flat back four has proved to be a turning point in our season and seems the preferred set up for all the players, including the excellent Tierney..It provides more attacking options than the defensive back three system and can be adapted between 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with minimum disruption.Ideally we need an upgrade on Xhaka and Elneny to assist Partey, but I do not feel it is essential to buy a natural left footer , who are scarce on the ground.Bissouma of Brighton is someone who could fit the bill in my opinion.

          1. Had Arteta opted to overload the right side as what Klopp does, we might not need a left-footed DM

        1. Nothing lol about growing old at 27/28. Just a fact of life, seen by some, laughed at by others. Growing old and BEING OLD ARE NOT THE SAME , JUST TO CLEAR UP ANY POSSIBLE MISUNDERSTANDINGS.

    2. True xhaka dropping to fill in at LB or LWB is what gives tierney and saka previously the ability to advance forward without leaving the left flank exposed. Arteta needs to find someone with xhaka qualities but with more pace and mobility to complement partey in the middle. Also needs to have a big workrate since they will be only 2 in the middle.

      1. Eduardo Camavinga might be the most ideal replacement, but his style is box-to-box like Partey’s, super pricey and Real Madrid bound. His contract will expire in 2022 though

  2. This article makes a very important point concerning our left side being clogged when we were scoring it all came from the left through KT and Saka and ended being found out and easily stopped moving Bakayoko on the right was a very good decision giving us balance more options from both sides so less predictable and more difficult to defend against I give MA credit for that!

  3. #Smiles. Oga Agboola, I sight you. Like me, in this piece, you have sought to indicate, albeit stylishly, Bukayo’s true ancestral heritage in your write up through that rhetoric. Nice one. KT was always very astute at targeting the heads of Centre Forwards with pinpoint accuracy from the flanks and that was why he was bought from Celtic. That skill of his always adds a veritable dimension to be exploited by teams. It was just a sordid case that he wasn’t permitted to exhibit himself well enough for whatsoever unreasonable reason(s). Good to see him express himself lately, long may that be.

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