Arsenal sit top of the Premier League table with nine games gone but Kieran Tierney says that a glance back 12 months proves that nothing has been defined for any team just yet.
The Gunners were in 10th position after the same amount of games last season, which goes to show that nothing has been decided with 29 matches remaining, but the Scotsman is enjoying being at the summit and wants to keep that feeling going as long as possible.
Still more to be done, says Tierney
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 May, 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 loved to this season, due to injuries and the presence of Oleksandr Zinchenko. However, with so many games on the horizon between now and the World Cup in less than six weeks, he’s satisfied that he’s fit again and ready to take his opportunity when it comes
“It’s been tough,” was his evaluation of the past few months. “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.”
Tierney is no longer assured of a starting berth under Mikel Arteta and will have to fight for a regular spot in the Arsenal lineup. Before worrying about the presence of Zinchenko, the biggest issue for the Scotsman to solve is his fitness. Provided he can stay fit, he will definitely be assured of games no matter the circumstance.