For the fourth game in a row, Mikel Arteta utilised Takehiro Tomiyasu from the bench as the Japan international stepped up his return to full match sharpness.
After 15-minute cameos against Leicester and Bournemouth and a late appearance in Saturday’s win over Fulham, the right-back was trusted with half an hour against Aston Villa as Arsenal closed out a 2-1 win to stay top of the Premier League table.
Replacing Ben White, the Japan international didn’t put a foot wrong as he quickly got to grips with the pace of the game.
After an injury-hit debut season that stretched into the summer and forced him to miss all of the Gunners’ pre-season friendlies, it’s unsurprising that Mikel Arteta is pleased to have the ex-Bologna man back.
“We are really happy that we are loading some minutes into him and he’s responding really well,” said the boss.
“He’s been training now for weeks without any issues which is the first period he’s been able to do that in the last six or seven months, and you can see the way he played today when he came on – I think he was really good.”
Tomi’s return is timely considering injuries have already taken a toll on the midfield. Both Mo Elneny and Thomas Partey are facing spells on the sidelines with hamstring and thigh issues respectively and Martin Odegaard suffered a “bad kick” and had to be substituted against Villa.
Arteta accepts his options in the centre of the park are thinning just as the games are stacking up.
“We were pretty protected in that position and now we are more exposed, but we have to be more prepared for uncertainties.
“Injuries, suspensions and things like that can happen, especially this season which will be really strange with the World Cup. We’ll try to prevent things but sometimes it’s not easy.”
While some players will benefit from others being injured – Sambi Lokonga enjoyed his first start of the season at the base of midfield – other plans to rotate may have to be put on hold.
“I was thinking about it [rotating] but then with what happened with Mo and Thomas, things can happen and then your intention isn’t what you can actually do.
“It’s related to what is available on the day and how the players are feeling, but of course we want to give opportunities to the squad because they really deserve them.”
A fit Tomiyasu means that we can rotate three very good centre halves. It allows Arteta to try Ben White in the Partey role against some teams. (Though Lokonga made that look less necessary tonight.) And, as others have mentioned, it does seem that he meshes really well with Saka.
Legend that is all !!!
Tomi was an excellent signing. He’s guaranteed to give 100% whether starting or off the bench. The Emirates was rocking again tonight. Let’s go to Old Trafford expecting to win and keep this hot streak going.
Arteta’s team has always been streaky, hot run followed by a cold one, so I hope we can just keep this one going as long as possible.
Thinking about bacon again? Blog’s mouth will start to water.. Or could we be even rasher? Sorry- I’ll get me coat..
Have Villa yet sent in their annual “bid” for ESR?
They showed interest once, and that was rebuffed quickly. how does that in any way become an annual bid joke?
Who pissed on your cornflakes?
You’re right mate, but what would be the fun in not being able to stretch the truth a little bit while poking fun at other clubs, eh?
What did city even buy Kalvin Phillips for? Give him to us! Danilo? A Brazil friendly will ruin us. There are more countries in the world, Edu.
Nice win 👍🏼
amazing amazing player. he is too good to be coming on only for those minutes at the end. Gives that bite and assurance on the right as well. I hope MA can rotate properly and give Tomi his starts and more game time as well. For instance, he could have come on in early against Villa. It probably makes sense if he gets that start against Manure.
I would keep White since with him we are more assured at the back and measured. That said Tomi can be unleashed in last 30 to keep up the attack (if needed) and keep on building his fitness. I am sure Tomi will get more minutes in less intense EL matches.
Not sure about that. Obviously no way to prove or disprove it, but I would put the assurance at the back more on Saliba than Ben White. Not to say that White hasn’t done extremely well, but I think we might even see this team go up another level when/ if Tomi comes back in. It’s a great problem to have, and means when we go away to the big boys we should really be able to transition to five at the back far easier now White has good exp on the right. We could go full circa-2010 Fergie and… Read more »
Was really impressed with Tomi, when he came on. Benjamin has done really well this season, but I see Tomi winning his spot back once Arteta trusts he’s physically ready
Saka should replace with Neketah. Or Arteta shoild teach Saka to be a high scorer like Jesus. Saka or Neketah were satisfied sometimes. Arsenal need a top scorer like Mancity’s Haland.
I can picture Arteta having a ‘eureka’ moment after hearing this advice. “Wait.. why doesn’t Saka just score more?”
It was an early sub for Ben White to give him thirty mins so I wonder if he’ll start Sunday and we’ll see White in midfield. I think playing away at Old Trafford would be too much for Sambi.