Arsenal received an injury boost this week — Kieran Tierney has returned to training. His availability for Sunday’s match against Watford is still up in the air, but Mikel Arteta hopes that two more days of training will have him fit enough to at least make the substitutes’ bench for a potential run-out.
Tierney picked up an ankle knock against Crystal Palace and has missed the last three matches for Arsenal. Fortunately, Nuno Tavares has been quite good in his absence, especially in terms of keeping up with Tierney’s attacking contributions. That’s precisely why Mikel Arteta and Edu brought him in — because Tierney has struggled to stay fit and the setup requires fullbacks who contribute offensively.
I think Tierney gets his spot back once he’s fully fit, but he’s not there yet. It may actually be better for Arsenal not to play Tierney on Sunday because then they’d have a stronger case for holding him back from Scotland duty. That said, Tierney strikes me as the type of player to play through pretty much anything he possibly can, even to his own detriment. The Scots need three points from their final two matches to reach for the playoff stage of UEFA qualifying. They are in a decent position with an away match against Moldova and a home match against Denmark.
I’d really like for Tierney to get more rest, whether that is one of the two matches off or staying in London altogether to train and rehab from his injury. Of course, he, the club, and Scotland know best where his health and fitness are, and we have to trust that they’re going to do what is best for him.