Former Republic of Ireland international Clinton Morrison said that he didn’t ‘understand’ Freddie Ljungberg’s decision to start Sead Kolasinac over Kieran Tierney on Sunday.
In the Swede’s first game as interim head coach after the sacking of Unai Emery on Friday, he went for the experience of Kolasinac over the exuberance of Tierney.
Morrison wasn’t impressed: “The onus is on the full backs to get forward, so I don’t understand how he’s not playing Tierney ahead of Kolasinac,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
However, BBC pundit Karen Carney was quick to bite back: “And Tierney, he didn’t look himself on Tuesday. I think there wasn’t something quite right with him there. Maybe it was the right decision not to play Tierney today and go with a little more experience.”
"I don't understand why he's not playing Tierney ahead of Kolasinac." @MorrisonClinton on Freddie Ljungberg's team selection for #ArsenalFC. @ConorMcNamaraIE and @KarenJCarney have commentary from 2pm.
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) December 1, 2019
When you saw Ljungberg’s first Arsenal team sheet it certainly raised a few eyebrows. Calum Chambers at right back? Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz at centre back? Granit Xhaka back in the middle of the park? It was a bit of a weird one. But the decision to go with Kolasinac over Tierney was kind of glossed over because of those other selection calls. Not by Morrison, though, clearly. You can see why he didn’t understand it, because we are all hugely keen for the Scotland international to break through and become the team’s undisputed starting left back moving forward. However, Kolasinac did OK on Sunday. As per WhoScored.com, the 26-year-old produced two tackles and one interception, while posting a pass success rate of 91.1%. He really wasn’t bad, and certainly wasn’t the problem from an Arsenal point of view. But Carney quickly revealed why Ljungberg went for the Bosnia & Herzegovina international, suggesting that Tierney might have an injury problem.