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Mikel Arteta discusses Arsenal “weakness” and plan to replace “unique” Kieran Tierney

Mikel Arteta admits he will need to be creative to plug the hole left behind by “unique” Kieran Tierney, who may miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Tierney has been a mainstay at left-back this season, racking up 33 appearances in all competitions and establishing himself as an important outlet on the flank.

But the Scot suffered knee ligament damage during the 3-0 defeat by Liverpool last Saturday and has been ruled out for four to six weeks.

In Tierney’s absence, Arteta says he will need to search for “different ways” to set up his side during the run-in.

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Arteta admits his squad has a "weakness" as there is no back-up for Tierney
Arteta admits his squad has a “weakness” as there is no back-up for Tierney

“Yes, we’re going to have to make some adjustments because his qualities are unique and we don’t have anybody with his qualities within the squad unless we start to move a lot of pieces,” said the Gunners boss.

“Without any time to train, it is a little bit dangerous to do, but we’re going to have to find different ways to fill that gap and use other things that can be as effective as well.”

The Gunners boss could call on Saka or Cedric to fill in at left-back
The Gunners boss could call on Saka or Cedric to fill in at left-back

Who should Arteta turn to at left-back without Tierney available? Have your say in the comments.

Arteta could turn to one of Bukayo Saka or Cedric Soares at left-back, although the former has shone on the right wing this season and the latter is a natural right-back.

“That’s the reality,” said Arteta of his conundrum. “You have to change something and you have to find a different way of attacking.

“At the same time, the structure when you are defending and in transitional moments has to be stable and has to be done by players that are comfortable doing that.

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“We knew that position was a weakness around the squad, because we didn’t have anybody to replace Kieran, and we have to find different solutions.”

Arteta must find a solution at left-back promptly, as Arsenal host Slavia Prague on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

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