Mikel Arteta singled out Takehiro Tomiyasu’s performance during Arsenal’s enthralling 3-2 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Tomiyasu made his first Premier League start of the season in an unfamiliar role as a left-back due to the absence of Oleksandr Zinchenko. Naturally a right-back, he had the daunting prospect of defending Arsenal’s left-flank against the incredible attacking talents of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But the Japan international more than held his own against the Liverpool duo, with both being substituted before the end of the encounter. The Gunners’ victory took them back to the top of the table, with goals from Gabriel Martinelli and a Bukayo Saka brace securing a vital victory.
After the game, Arteta was asked about Tomiyasu’s display on the left side of the defense, to which the Spanish boss replied (as per Football.London):
“Very good. That’s what we hoped he would do and he did that. To think about doing that against Salah and actually doing it is a different story. Especially after playing on Thursday and what he’s been through in the past few weeks.”
Mikel Arteta impressed by composure shown by Arsenal’s players in win over Liverpool
The Gunners made it eight wins out of nine in the league to edge ahead of Manchester City once again. The north London club have dealt with plenty of different types of challenges this season but they took the lead three times against Liverpool to seal the win.
Arteta was asked by Sky Sports after the game about his half-time team talk and how Bukayo Saka’s goal seconds before the break helped. The Arsenal boss replied (as per BBC Sport):
“It was lively but we wanted to give confidence and tell them the game was there for the taking. [In the second-half] the organisation was better, the timing of the press, we won every second ball.
“I was really happy. You are always in doubt with the changes and how many players they were putting on or last lie but the players dealt with it with a lot of maturity and composure.”
The game was a fiery affair as the Gunners were awarded a controversial penalty late on. On the compsure his side showed, Arteta further added:
“There were a lot of moments and the threat they have they can open you up, but we showed a lot of composure and character.”