Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faces Thomas Tuchel dilemma after injury prognosis

Mikel Arteta after Arsenal's victory against Leicester

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faces a similar problem to his Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel heading into this weekend. The Gunners boss has had an upturn in form of late with the north Londoners just three points adrift of the Premier League top four. 

Arteta is unbeaten in his last nine games across all competitions. It is a remarkable turnaround having overseen an abysmal start to the campaign. 

Arsenal lost all three of their opening league fixtures without scoring a goal. They now appear to be on an upward trajectory after five wins from seven matches.  

However, Arteta could face a fresh issue when Kieran Tierney returns from an ankle injury.  

Tierney has not featured since the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 18 October. Alexandre Lacazette’s late equaliser preserved Arsenal’s unbeaten run. 

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But Arteta soon suffered bad news when he found out that the Scotland international would be absent for the club’s next few games.  

Summer signing Nuno Tavares has played well at left back in Tierney’s absence and that could present a tough decision for the head coach.  

Arteta could choose to revert back to Tierney when he is fit again, or he could reward the 21-year-old Tavares for his fine form by keeping the usual first-choice in reserve.  

It is a similar problem experienced by Chelsea boss Tuchel, who has had to pick from Marcos Alonso and Ben Chilwell for a spot at left wing-back this season. Alonso had an excellent start to the season while Chilwell sat in reserve, with the England defender having endured a difficult summer. 

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The 24-year-old failed to feature for the Three Lions at Euro 2020 and Tuchel said that had left him “fragile”. 

However, since being restored to the line-up at the start of October, Chilwell has been in excellent form. He has scored four goals for club and country in the last month. Arteta, like Tuchel, could wait for the right moment to bring Tierney back into his team.  

On Monday, Chilwell conceded that his summer and the start of the season had been frustrating but was keen to provide strong competition. 

“It is frustrating, as a footballer you want to be playing week in week out,” the former Leicester City man said.  

“You enjoy stepping out on the pitch, playing football every Saturday. You have to train well everyday and support the team, that’s the main thing.  

“When you have a squad like we do at Chelsea, 25 world class players and two or three fighting in every position you have to understand that you won’t play every match. 

“You have to support the group, train hard so that when you get your chance you are ready.”

 He added: “I had no doubts at all [about my ability]. When you train hard everyday, as a footballer you have to have confidence in your own ability.  

“I was keen I would train hard every day so that when I did get the opportunity, I would give the manager a headache. 

“When I got the chance to play I played my best, gave my best for the team and hopefully get more opportunities and give him as much of a headache as possible.”
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