Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted after the defeat to Liverpool last night that he didn’t want Takehiro Tomiyasu to start.
The Gunners went into the game high on confidence following last week’s brilliant performance at Anfield.
However, Liverpool showed the difference in class between the two sides yesterday and deservedly picked up the win.
The 23-year-old Japanese defender has been a dependable presence at right-back since his deadline day arrival from Bologna, but was clearly lacking match sharpness last night following a short spell out of the team due to injury.
His costly slip in the first half led that to Jota scoring the Liverpool’s opener, and he did not do enough to make amends for it. Since he was sluggish off his line, the north London team’s attacking output was also badly affected.
Arteta revealed before the game that a number of players were forced to start despite not training for a week.
Tomiyasu, who has been absolutely incredible this season, was one of them.
Asked about Tomiyasu’s performance, Arteta said, as per Arsenal.com:
He slipped,’ said Arteta, reflecting on Tomiyasu’s mistake. ‘He was trying to block the ball and he almost had the ball.
‘But he slipped and after that the ball goes through his legs, he [Jota] miskicks the ball and it goes the other way from the keeper. So I think it was difficult to prevent that.’
“Well, he’s done incredibly.We didn’t want to play him, we had to push him because Cedric and Calum (Chambers) were out and we didn’t have any full-backs.
“The moment that he knew that, he said that he would play.
“He didn’t have any training sessions with us, and still was willing to play and compete the way he has done today.
So I am extremely proud and grateful for the players that we have.”
The Japan international, 23, struggled in almost all parts of the game, which is very unlike him. He has been fantastic for Arsenal since he joined them on transfer deadline day in the summer, but he was just not fully fit last night.
Arsenal fans will be hoping that Tomiyasu can recover and get back to his best soon. He is extremely important to the way the Gunners play and when he has a good game, Arteta’s side usually come away with a positive result.
It will be interesting to see if Tomiyasu will be forced to play against Burnley on Sunday. Arteta may not have a choice considering how things are looking at the moment.