Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hopes he will be able to count on Kieran Tierney for the Manchester City showdown this weekend. The boss is set to lead the team against his former employers on Saturday in a game which will be a part of the fifth round of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
While on international duty with Scotland, Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong tested positive for Covid-19. Tierney, along with Celtic midfielder Cyrus Christie and two members of Scotland’s backroom staff, have been identified as the ones to have had close contact with Armstrong the most, and have therefore been requested to undergo a 14-day self-isolation by the Lothian Health Protection Team.
Speaking at a press conference today (Thursday), Arteta said that these international breaks often take matters beyond the control of clubs in the current circumstances. He pointed out that some authorities follow procedures different to those in the Premier League and that discussions are being held to shed further light on the matter. When asked directly if Tierney would be able to face City, he replied with a simple “I hope so”.
Let’s face it, Tierney has played a huge part in everything good that has happened on the pitch since Arteta took the head coach role halfway through last season, and not having him in the team against Pep Guardiola’s side would represent a significant blow. Sead Kolasinac, the closest like-for-like replacement for Tierney in the squad, was reportedly on the verge of joining Bayer Leverkusen before the international window ended, but the deal fell through. At the moment, it seems good that it did – a club could do a lot worse than having the stout Bosnia and Herzegovina international as a backup option.
Meanwhile, Arteta made it clear that he’s not calling for international football to be stopped, but rather for some universal rules and protocols to be established.