Arsenal have been struck with a big injury blow before their trip to Chelsea in the Premier League this lunchtime after manager Mikel Arteta revealed some “bad news” over one of his most reliable stars…
Versatile defender Takehiro Tomiyasu was forced off with an injury during the Gunners’ 1-0 win over FC Zurich in the Europa League on Thursday. The Japan full-back replaced Ben White in the second half but limped off minutes before full-time.
Speaking via the club’s official website, the Spaniard said:
“We don’t know [what the issue is]. He felt something and we didn’t want to take any risks. With the amount of games that we’re playing, it’s part of it. It can happen in training, it can happen in games and unfortunately, it happened to Tomi today,” he later added:
“It is very difficult to get the balance and to get the right performances and win matches, and resting some players and keeping them fresh is always challenging, we have tried to do our best. Today we had bad news with Tomiyasu, but I think for the rest it has worked pretty well.”
The 23-year-old machine was largely a bit-part player at the start of the new top-flight campaign, having picked up an injury during pre-season, but in recent outings, he has started at left-back in the absence of Oleksandr Zinchenko, even with Kieran Tierney fit at times.
Indeed, Tomiyasu has started four straight matches in the role, in which Arsenal have remained unbeaten and that includes an impressive 3-2 win over Liverpool, as well as clean sheets against Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.
The Japanese “warrior” – in the words of ex-teammate Mitchell Dijks – is a right-back by trade and can also play centrally too, making him an integral and valuable part of Arteta’s squad.
Even with Zinchenko back in training, the £16m man would have still been in line to feature at Stamford Bridge. Not only may it be too soon for the Ukraine gem but Arteta may have wanted to rotate Ben White, who has played the third-most minutes of any Gunners defender.
Tomiaysu proved against the Reds, who finished second to Manchester City last term, that he could deliver against the very best, having pocketed Mohamed Salah in a “Cancelo-esque” fashion, as revealed by Football FanCast at the time, so his presence up against Graham Potter’s wing-backs or the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz would have certainly been welcome.
As such, his likely absence this afternoon will come as a gutting setback to Arteta and the squad as they will be without a quality option in defence, even if that’s one from the bench – just as the Gunners boss says, it’s “bad news” on that front.