With Arsenal’s defence laying in dire straits, their prominent wing-backs Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney took a step closer towards making themselves available for first-team football by appearing on Friday for the Gunners’ U-23 game against Wolves.
Tierney joined the Gunners in a £25 million deal which saw huge backlash from the Celtic faithful, but he joined them while still recovering from an injury. However, he seems to have successfully recovered from his injury and played an hour against Wolves to give themselves a must-needed fitness boost.
Bellerin has been out for most of 2019 after suffering a gruesome knee injury against Chelsea earlier this year, but has since continued his rehabilitation to make himself available for the start of this season. He also played around an hour of football for the Gunners, looking pretty impressive for his first game in nearly nine months against the U-23 opposition.
The Spaniard also relayed his delight at returning to first-team football for the Gunners after such a long time on twitter, as Unai Emery will be especially delighted by the return of his most reliable full-backs. Arsenal have had a torrid start to the season defensively, keeping only a single clean-sheet in the Premier League and conceding eight goals already in just five games!
Moreover, they’ve also looked all over the place when it comes to sustaining pressure and have conceded the most shots with already having 96 shots against them, the most in Europe’s top-five leagues. David Luiz has already conceded two penalties with his deadline-day signing coming back to haunt the Gunners looking for some solidity in their backline.
Even Ainsley Maitland-Niles has looked dodgy with his defensive work, often getting overlapped and being unable to sustain the pressure from pacy wing-backs. Bellerin helped the Gunners to three clean-sheets last season, boasting some impressive defensive statistics which backs up why he’s among the safer defenders in the side.
Tierney is yet to make his senior-team bow for the Gunners, but already has brushed up a sense of excitement thanks to his solid work at Celtic for many years. He also helped the Scottish Champions keep 11 clean-sheets in the Scottish Premiership last season, while also delivering five assists thanks to his explosive work going forward.
The speedy duo should be available for Emery in their crunch-game against Manchester United a few weeks from now, one the Gunners must take points off to maintain their surge for a top-four spot in the Premier League this season.