1/10 Duels, 0 Crosses, 0 Dribbles: Arsenal’s 6/10 Ace is Now at Risk of Being Dropped

At this time of year, Arsenal fans worldwide celebrate St Totteringham’s Day. Mikel Arteta’s squad ensured it was mathematically impossible for Tottenham Hotspur to surpass them in the Premier League this season after securing all three points at N17.

Yet, the last 20 minutes might have felt like an eternity for their supporters. Despite being 3-0 ahead at halftime, a brief lapse from David Raya and a box kick from Declan Rice allowed Spurs to claw back into the game.

Nonetheless, the visitors managed to endure and keep their title aspirations intact. Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz delivered standout performances, yet some players, like Takehiro Tomiyasu, might find themselves at risk of losing their place next week due to less impressive displays.

Takehiro Tomiyasu’s Performance vs Tottenham

The Japan international’s performance against Spurs on Sunday afternoon wasn’t terrible, unlike Raya’s, who was more detrimental to his team’s efforts. Nonetheless, he still found it challenging to assert himself on his side of the pitch and didn’t contribute much in attack.

Football.london’s chief Arsenal writer, Kaya Kaynak, was less than impressed by the performance of the former Bologna defender, giving him a modest 6/10 rating. Kaynak noted that he appeared somewhat lackadaisical with possession and not consistently effective on the ball. Despite not directly contributing to any conceded goals, his statistics from the match align with Kaynak’s critique.

During his 96 minutes on the field, the 25-year-old managed a combined expected goal and assist tally of just 0.04. He completed only 15 of his 19 passes, failed to create any key opportunities, struggled in both dribbling attempts, squandered a significant scoring opportunity, misplaced both long balls attempted, lost nine out of ten duels, committed four fouls, and surrendered possession ten times.

Tomiyasu’s game vs Spurs in numbers
Expected Goals0.03
Expected Assists0.01
Duels (Won)10 (1)
Accurate Passes15/19 (79%)
Possession Lost10
Dribbled Past1
Attempted Dribbles (Successful)2 (0)
Key Passes0
Big Chances Missed1
Long Balls (Accurate)2 (0)
All Stats via Sofascore

The Fukuoka-born star’s performance fell short, lacking defensive stability and offensive prowess, potentially jeopardising his spot for Saturday’s match against the formidable Bournemouth, a team known for their high-scoring abilities.

Read Also:

“Let Them Keep Talking”: Declan Rice Sends Message to Arsenal Teammate Who Won 12 Duels vs Tottenham

David Raya Sends Message to Arsenal Fans Over His Mistake Against Tottenham

Who Could Replace Takehiro Tomiyasu?

There are currently only two options to replace the 6-foot-2 titan. While Jurrien Timber is showing progress in his recovery by starting a game for the U21s over the weekend, he won’t be ready for a must-win first-team game this week. However, there’s a possibility he could take the starting left-back position next season.

So, who is Arteta likely to choose between Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jakub Kiwior? Zinchenko is considered more offensively gifted, whereas Kiwior provides more defensive solidity.

Yet, Kiwior’s recent performances against Bayern Munich and Wolverhampton Wanderers raise doubts about his defensive capabilities, as noted by the Standard’s Simon Collings, who gave him a 5/10 rating.

However, when comparing their underlying statistics from this season, Zinchenko emerges as the stronger contender, according to FBref data.

He excels in progressive passes and carries, maintains a higher passing accuracy, produces more shot and goal-creating actions, makes and wins more tackles, records more interceptions, recovers the ball more frequently, and has fewer miscontrols per 90 minutes.

Zinchenko vs Kiwior
Stats per 90ZinchenkoKiwior
Progressive Passes11.55.31
Progressive Carries2.210.41
Passing Accuracy88.0%83.3%
Attempted Passes82.156.2
Shot-Creating Actions3.001.29
Goal-Creating Actions0.280.27
Tackles Won1.500.96
Successful Take-Ons0.320.34
Ball Recoveries5.623.06
Aerial Duels Won1.291.36
All Stats via FBref for the 2023/24 Season

Defending Kiwior, he excels in winning aerial duels, making clearances, and slightly outperforming in take-ons. However, when considering both defensive and offensive aspects, it’s challenging to pinpoint where he truly outshines.

Given Tomiyasu’s subpar showing on Sunday and the anticipation of Arsenal dominating possession on Saturday, starting Zinchenko instead would be logical. If the ex-midfielder delivers a strong performance, Tomiyasu’s position in the starting lineup could be in jeopardy.

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