Arsenal: Arteta must unleash Tomiyasu

Arsenal slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Everton in their last Premier League match, although the gap at the top of the table remains five points due to Manchester City failing to take advantage, as Tottenham Hotspur secured a 1-0 win against them.

Mikel Arteta’s side have a game in hand so the gap could stretch to eight points, but he may be worried by the performance against the Toffees, which featured a lack of cutting edge as the home side were given a major lift having just appointed Sean Dyche and the players certainly delivered.

Despite having 70% possession, Arsenal simply couldn’t find the back of the net, with Eddie Nketiah failing to shine, while Gabriel Martinelli delivered just one cross during his time on the pitch and lost possession 14 times.

It is Ben White, however, who will give Arteta the biggest selection dilemma ahead of the match against Brentford.

His last two Premier League matches have seen the Englishman achieve an average Sofascore rating of just 6.3 and it might be time for the Spaniard to unleash Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Will Tomiyasu play against Brentford?

The Japanese defender is a natural right-back, unlike White, and Arteta could well look to unleash him from the start this afternoon and drop White to the bench following his recent performances.

Since arriving for £16m in 2021, Tomiyasu has gone on to make nearly 50 appearances for the North London side and has emerged as a solid first-team player, who Arteta can be comfortable calling upon when required.

With White underperforming recently, a run in the starting XI might boost the 24-year-olds confidence and give the manager a major dilemma heading into the final months of the campaign.

Indeed, when he has played this term, Tomiyasu has been solid if unspectacular, although starting just four matches in the league doesn’t do much for rhythm.

An average Sofascore rating of 6.74 ranks him as Arsenal’s 17th-best performer this term, however, he does rank in the top five for clearances made per game (0.8) and in the top ten for tackles made (1.3) and clearances (0.8), suggesting he does provide a solid defensive option when called upon.

Mitchell Dijks – his ex-teammate at Bologna – dubbed the right-back a “warrior” while after a great display against Bodo/Glimt in October, reporter Kaya Kaynak graded his performance as one of the finest on the night – ‘Got forward superbly and showed that he’s more than ready to fill the right-back spot if Ben White finds his standards slipping at any point,’ he wrote.

There is no doubt Tomiyasu could shine against Brentford and with a chance to secure a regular spot at right-back up for grabs, it might just be the chance he was waiting for and what the Gunners need to reignite their title charge after a loss last time out.