Arsenal got their first goal and their first win of the new Premier League season as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike proved enough to beat Norwich on Saturday afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s side didn’t produce a vintage display by any stretch of the imagination, but wore the Canaries down until their club captain pounced on basically the goal-line to give the north Londoners all three points.
However, while Aubameyang got the decisive goal, it was new signing and debutant Takehiro Tomiyasu who was arguably Arteta’s real unsung hero of the day.
The Japan international showed exactly why the Gunners decided to seal a deadline day move for him from Serie A side Bologna, showing real power and purpose with everything that he did.
With his natural physical frame and height, it was no surprise that he looked imperious in the air, winning seven out of eight duels in the air and another three on the ground too.
Tomiyasu also looked a threat going forward, timing his runs well and giving fellow new signing Ben White an interesting runner to aim for – he had two shots, completed one dribble and found the target with his only cross of the game.
As per Football.London‘s post-match player ratings, Kaya Kaynak gave him a seven, saying: ” A very promising debut from the Japanese international who often stayed deep as Arsenal attacked. Won plenty of aerial duels and looked tidy enough in possession, despite the occasional loose touch which we’ll put down to nerves. A nice volleyed effort on the stroke of half time showed some attacking threat too.”
Mitchell Dijks, his former teammate at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, dubbed him “very strong” and a “true Japanese warrior” at a press conference, via Tuttosport.
Speaking after confirmation of the 22-year-old’s signing, Arteta himself said: “Takehiro is a strong defender with good experience in Serie A and at international level. He’s a versatile defender with great defensive qualities, high technical ability and composure on the ball. He will be an important member of our squad. We look forward to Takehiro joining up with us when he returns from international duty.”
It’s no surprise the Arsenal boss was delighted to get his man, and while Aubameyang may get the headlines for scoring the winner, it was the Japanese ace who today showed Gunners fans what he could bring to the table.