Kieran Tierney is set to miss Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-finals against Slavia Prague through injury.
The Scotland international limped off with a knee injury just before half time in the Gunners’ 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend following a 50/50 challenge with James Milner and was visibly devastated whilst coming off.
“He felt something in his knee and he was in pain so it looks like he will be injured,” he told the media on Saturday. “But we don’t know for how long.”
However, reports suggest that Arsenal are gearing up for some bad news as they are fearful that the left-back could be out for a few weeks which would lead him to miss both legs of the crucial Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague.
With that said, Tierney is still being monitored by the club’s medical team who are expected to have more of a clear picture over the severity of the problem within the coming days.
Should Tierney, as expected, miss the clash against Slavia Prague as well as Sunday’s Premier League clash against Sheffield United, Arteta will most likely turn to Cedric to deputise.
This is because the Gunners do not have a natural replacement for the 23-year-old within the squad after allowing Sead Kolasinac to join Schalke on loan in the January transfer window.
Although, Bukayo Saka is another option at left-back once he’s fit and available for selection.
The teenager actually filled in for Tierney for several months last season when Arteta was appointed and has already delivered his verdict on operating as a left-back.
“I’m really enjoying my football under the new manager,” Saka told Arsenal.com following a 4-0 win over Newcastle United. “It’s not my natural position but he’s given me all the advice I need.
“I’ve got Granit behind, David supporting and speaking to me so it gives me licence to go and express myself in the final third and do what I can do.”
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“I’ve learned a lot about how wingers in the Premier League play against defenders and how to position myself because in his system it’s different.
“I get to play much higher because the winger comes inside and I get to go. There’s a lot of space for me and it’s good for me. I’m playing sort of as a winger when we have the ball but without the ball I have to come back and work on my clearances, my heading, and stuff I haven’t worked on my whole life. I feel like I’m doing ok right now.”
That experience was vital for Saka as his aim was always to return to his more natural winger position which he’s done to great effect this season – but he may be needed as an emergency left-back in the coming weeks.