THE LOWDOWN: TITLE CHALLENGERS
Mike Arteta’s side lead the way with nine matches played but the Scotland defender says that a glance back 12 months proves that nothing has been defined for any team just yet.
The Gunners were in 10th position at the same juncture last season, which goes to show that nothing has been decided with 29 matches remaining, but the 25-year-old is enjoying being at the summit and wants to keep that feeling going as long as possible.
THE LATEST: STILL MORE TO BE DONE
Reflecting on Arsenal’s impressive start, Tierney said: “It’s only been nine games and you can’t say anyone is anything after nine games. If you look at last year, we were down in the table and we climbed our way up, so there’s a long way to go and there’s no point in even thinking like that.
“You want to stay [at the top] of course; I’ve got a bit of experience at Celtic when we were expected to be at the top and stay on the top as well, so it is familiar in that way for me that the pressure is on you to stay there. The other teams are chasing you, and we want to keep that going as long as we can.”
When pushed on what would constitute a good campaign come the end of the season, he added: “Progress is the main thing. We’ve progressed every year so we want to keep progressing well. You just want to finish up as high as possible, and we know what we want and we’ll keep working towards it.”
Tierney has not played as much as he would have liked this season, due to injury and the presence of Oleksandr Zinchenko. However, with so many matches on the horizon between now and the World Cup next month, the Scot is satisfied that he’s fit again and ready to take his opportunity when it comes.
The 25-year-old stated: “It’s been tough. I missed pre-season coming back from an injury, and the first game I played in was the Palace one – that was the first week of training that I had.
“I’ve just been trying to get minutes here and there so it’s been a tough start, but whether I’m first, second or third-choice, I’m just going to keep working hard and see where it takes me.
“I wouldn’t say [competition] motivates me more, as whether I’m the only left-back or there’s five left-backs, I’m still motivated to play and to do well. Day-to-day, nothing changes in my life; if I’m playing or not I’m just working as hard as I possibly can. I train hard, and if the manager calls on me, I’m ready.
“I want to play every game possible, when you don’t play like all footballers, you’re disappointed but when you get your chance, you just need to make sure you go and take it.”
THE VERDICT: FIGHT FOR HIS PLACE
Tierney is no longer assured of a starting berth under Arteta, being selected from the outset just three times in the league so far his term, and will have to fight for a regular spot in the Arsenal line-up.
Before worrying about the presence of Zinchenko, the biggest issue for the Scotsman is to solve his fitness situation. Provided he can manage that, he should definitely be assured of games no matter the circumstance.