Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney have played a joint 30 minutes of football this preseason, leading many to reconsider their place in the first team.
Less than 12 months ago, these two full-backs were among Arsenal’s most important players. Tierney, in particular, has blossomed in north London when fit but seemingly perpetual injury woes have blighted his Gunners career thus far.
After his 2021/22 campaign was drawn to a premature close due to a knee injury, the 25-year-old returned to action against FC Nurnberg in pre-season and was taken off after 30 minutes. It did look like he’d picked up another injury, but Mikel Arteta said it was all part of the plan.
Well, we have not seen him since.
Should Arsenal be worried about Takehiro Tomiyasu & Kieran Tierney?
Once seen as a critical member of the Arsenal back four, Tierney simply can’t get on the field. While pictures emerged of the 25-year-old returning to training midweek, it’s doubtful that he’ll feature against Palace.
The signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko was likely made as the trust that Tierney will be available for long stretches of the season is no longer there. The Ukrainian is a brilliant option for Arteta and he may well end up usurping the Scot as Arsenal’s first-choice left-back.
So that covers one side of the defence; what about the other? Takehiro Tomiyasu, like Tierney, is having serious injury problems. He missed a big chunk of his debut season with a calf injury before returning towards the end of the campaign, but he was not himself. His performance against Allan Saint-Maximin at St James’ Park in May was torturous.
The Japanese defender has not been sighted at all this pre-season and has played zero minutes. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta spoke to the media after the Gunners’ 4-0 smashing of Chelsea and offered a little update on Tomiyasu.
Arteta said via football.london:
"“Yeah, Tomi is really close to start doing some training sessions. Hopefully, next week.”"
So we can rule Tomiyasu out of the first Premier League game and likely a couple more. The same can be said for Tierney, as neither will be ready to go after having virtually no pre-season.
Both were considered key players in the Arsenal setup, but now with their injury troubles, should we be worried about their longevity?
At the moment, it certainly is a massive cause for concern.