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.