Mikel Arteta’s three solutions to Tierney injury blow in coming weeks at Arsenal
The problems are piling up for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. Not only does the Spaniard need to turn around the Gunners' wretched recent form, he'll have to do it without one of the Gunners' best players this season – Kieran Tierney.
Tierney was forced off against Liverpool with a knee injury, and although the exact length of his absence remains unknown, the Gunners will be without their all-action left-back for a significant period.
Three months ago that wouldn't have been problem for Arteta, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac still Arsenal players.
But with Kolasinac now at Schalke and Maitland-Niles on loan at West Brom, suddenly the Gunners have a big issue at left-back.
Daily Star Sport have identified several solutions open to Arteta as he attempts to solve Arsenal's full-back conundrum.
Cedric at LB
Cedric is the obvious choice to fill in during Tierney's absence.
The former Southampton man is a natural left-back and has already featured 22 times for the Gunners this season, including on seven occasions in the Europa League.
He provides a steady hand at the tiller and a face Arsenal's defenders are already familiar with thanks to his consistent presence in the backline across the season.
Cedric at LWB
A quick look at Arsenal's next few games suggests a good opportunity for the Gunners to get back to winning ways and put a mini-run together.
Arteta's men face Slavia Prague home and away in the Europa League, with a trip to rock-bottom Sheffield United sandwiched in-between.
Arsenal will want to attack in those matches, and with Arteta previously describing Cedric as "the best [full-back] we have in the final third", the 28-year-old might be used as a left-wing back.
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The only thing preventing the Gunners boss from making such a forward-thinking decision is that Cedric's defending isn't always as good as it might be.
And with Arsenal looking at the Europa League as a route into the Champions League next season, it could be an attacked-minded decision too far in the short term at least.
Saka at LWB
If Arteta doesn't trust Cedric, he could always turn to Bukayo Saka. The 19-year-old has deputised at full-back across the last two seasons, doing an ample job each time.
On consistency alone, he might be the best choice for the job, but that belies the negative impact of losing Saka from his position further up the pitch.
Arsenal are not a side who are creating an awful lot at the moment, and what creativity they do have tends to come from the four-cap England international.
Equally, while the double-header against Slavia Prague are two games the Gunners don't want to lose, they're two games the club desperately needs to win.
Using Saka to cover Tierney's absence might mean Arsenal lose more than they gain, meaning Cedric in a left-back role could be the best option.
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