Kieran Tierney appears to have mastered another role for Arsenal, so we have to wonder if there’s anything he can’t do at this point.
No more than a few days ago, I was griping about how Kieran Tierney isn’t a centerback. In his appearances in this role at Arsenal, he hasn’t exactly been outstanding. He’s been bang average, nothing more.
But against Manchester City, he suited up at left centerback again and he was arguably our best performer on the day. He hardly played a defensive foot out of place, he showcased tremendous composure and intelligence and he alone denied City countless opportunities in on goal.
Not to mention the fact that he still notched himself an assist from a position that is not known for assists.
That makes three positions now that we have seen Kieran Tierney not just perform well at, but excel at.
We bought him to be a leftback. He mastered that in no time. That was the defacto role, the one we already knew he could play. In a back four formation, he is 100% capable of seeing to the attacking and defensive duties of a straight fullback.
Then he became a wingback. At wingback, he has the freedom to attack more openly and not worry so much about the defense. Lo and behold, it took him very little time to master that as well. He did it so well that even Bukayo Saka couldn’t keep his spot at wingback. And I suspect it had less to do with Saka’s desire to play further up the pitch and more to do with the fact that Kieran Tierney is just incredible.
We hadn’t seen that standout performance at centerback yet, but we have now. It came against Manchester City. And as I said about Pepe and his newfound industriousness, once we see it once, we know he can do it. Just like that, a whole new window is opened up into what he can provide for this team.
Of course, I don’t think this means he should ever be used in a centerback pairing, though I never thought he should’ve been used as a left-sided centerback either. So hey, why knock if if we haven’t tried it.
Basically what I’m saying is Kieran Tierney does everything well. When put at centerback, where he just has to defend, he defends. When at leftback, where he has to defend and attack, he defends and attacks. When at wingback, where he primarily has to attack, he attacks.
All one player, all for a completely reasonable price.