Kieran Tierney is set to be out for four to six weeks after suffering ligament damage to his knee in Saturday’s game against Liverpool. When a player goes down with a knee injury in the way Tierney did, good news rarely follows, as was the case here. Fortunately, Tierney does not need surgery—but he will be in a race against time to play again this season.
Tierney’s injury is not only a blow because of the quality of the player, but also because of the lack of real backup. When Tierney was last out with injury, Cédric, a right-footed fullback, filled in, but Arsenal’s play on the left noticeably dipped. Another option is Bukayo Saka, who played at left back and left-wing back at various points last season, but is also Arsenal’s best right-sided attacker. Furthermore, Saka himself is nursing a nagging hamstring injury, and although back in training, has not started consecutive games for Arsenal in over a month, and had to miss international duty. Arsenal, of course, let Sead Kolasinac leave in the January window, and did not replace him, leaving Tierney as the only natural left back, despite the Scot’s lengthy injury history. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, of course, also left in January.
This also comes off the news that Arsenal will be without David Luiz for some time, meaning that a rejig of the defence is impossible to avoid.
Martin Ødegaard could miss out on Thursday’s Europa League tie against Slavia Praha with an ankle problem. In better news, Emile Smith Rowe and Granit Xhaka will be available.