Mikel Arteta heaped the praise on Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu after he netted his first goal for the club to round off the Gunners’ 5-0 beatdown of Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon.
This game was all about Eddie Nketiah, who bagged a hat-trick in Gabriel Jesus’ absence, but Tomiyasu’s maiden Arsenal goal was a nice finishing touch to a stress-free outing.
The Japanese international has been reduced to a bit-part role after his impressive debut season, with injuries also plaguing his time in north London.
But, Tomiyasu is fit and firing once more, and it looks as if his importance to the Gunners is increasing once more. Mikel Arteta certainly thinks so.
Arsenal rejected Inter’s summer approach for ‘fantastic’ Takehiro Tomiyasu
The boss was full of praise for Tomiyasu after Saturday’s game: “I love him. Everybody loves him. He’s one of the most popular in the dressing room. You can see the reaction of his team-mates towards him. They wanted him there at the front, enjoying it. He’s always very reserved and always doing things for the rest of the boys. He’s a fantastic player for the team.”
Tomiyasu once again shared minutes with Oleksandr Zinchenko against the Blades after producing a stellar defensive display in the 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Tuesday night.
While much has been made of William Saliba’s absence down the stretch last season, the injury sustained by Tomiyasu on the same night further crippled Arsenal’s chances of pipping Manchester City to the title. The Japanese international has proven time and time again to be serviceable across the backline.
His importance to Arsenal was highlighted in the summer with Fabrizio Romano recently reporting that the club rejected an approach from centre-back needy Inter: “Inter Milan wanted Tomiyasu in July but Arsenal said no; Mikel Arteta and Edu wanted to keep him, and it was clearly a successful decision, he’s really appreciated at the club and is really showing his value and versatility at the moment.”
With Zinchenko enduring a relatively indifferent start to the campaign, we could be seeing much more of the steely Tomiyasu in the coming weeks and months, especially for Arsenal’s upcoming crunch encounters.