Mikel Arteta’s creativity sees unorthodox Kieran Tierney role benefit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in Arsenal’s opener after cutting inside – with Kieran Tierney providing width from an unorthodox role as their left centre-back thanks to a creative approach from Mikel Arteta.

Mikel Arteta has already carved out a reputation as a forward-thinking coach.

The Spaniard learnt from the best under the guidance of Pep Guardiola and has shown no shortage of ideas as he looks to get the best out of his resources at Arsenal.

He again experimented with a new approach in the Community Shield against Liverpool – and got exactly the result he was looking for.

As has become the norm with Arsenal since Arteta took charge, their formation was unclear when the team line-up was announced.

When the game kicked off, it seemed Ainsley Maitland-Niles was lining up as a left wing-back with Kieran Tierney on the left side of a back three.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lined up on the left of a front-three, the role where he has thrived and delivered his best output for the Gunners.

But whilst they utilised a 3-4-3 formation when Liverpool had the ball, things quickly changed when Arsenal had possession.

Instead of hugging the left flank, Maitland-Niles regularly tucked inside to join Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka centrally, occasionally venturing forward towards the box.

Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, would overlap from the left centre-back role to provide width in attack, similar to the system pioneered by Sheffield United under Chris Wilder.

With Tierney adding width and bursting forward, covered by either Maitland-Niles or, more often, Xhaka, Aubameyang was given more freedom to cut inside.

The creative system worked out for Arsenal on several occasions – and was pivotal to their opening goal.

As soon as the Gunners played out from the back, Maitland-Niles was seen tucking inside.

When the ball was fired out to Aubameyang by Bukayo Saka, Tierney instantly recognised the situation and burst forward from the half-way line looking for an overlap.

With Tierney running down the left and Maitland-Niles making a run into the box centrally, Neco Williams and other Liverpool defenders were briefly caught in two minds.

That gave Aubameyang the time and space to cut inside and fire a stunning strike beyond Alisson and into the far corner to give Arsenal the lead.

“The two runners, Maitland-Niles and Tierney, they create this goal,” Peter Crouch told BT Sport at half-time

“Obviously it’s all about Aubameyang and the finish but those two runs create it and just give Neco Williams something to think about it.

“From then on, it’s Henry-like. It’s a finish the great man would’ve been proud of.”

Whilst Aubameyang has impressed on the left flank, he is at his most dangerous when cutting inside to provide a goal threat.

Arteta’s creative thinking with Tierney providing width as an overlapping centre-back shows how he can find ways to give his Arsenal side an edge.

Maitland-Niles’ role also underlined why Arteta is keen to keep him at the club amid interest from Wolves and several other clubs.

He was named as man of the match as they lifted the trophy after a penalty shoot-out win with Arteta getting his tactics spot on.

The Spaniard is certainly making his mark as a tactician and it will be fascinating to see what further tricks he has up his sleeve when the Premier League campaign begins.