Mikel Arteta on Tomiyasu and preparation ahead of the North London Derby
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta with Takehiro Tomiyasu during a training session at London Colney on May 11, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal face deadly north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium in the early kick off on Saturday as the Gunners look to maintain their spot at the very top of the Premier League table. 

Arteta making use of extra time 

Ahead of Saturday’s big game Mikel Arteta faced the media to discuss all the talking points ahead of one of England’s most iconic footballing fixtures. 

Arsenal go into this game with some of their key players having taken a well-earned break during the Nations League matches where a number of them were not selected to represent their national teams. The likes of Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli, Ben White and Gabriel Jesus were a few to awarded some time off during the internationals before having to report back for training at Arsenal’s London Colney training centre for extra preparation. 

This gave Mikel Arteta even more of an opportunity to work with some key members of his squad whilst some of their rivals and teammates were on international duty away with their countries. 

The Arsenal boss told VAVEL UK that they wanted to use the time wisely to work closely with the players to ensure that they were fully prepared ahead of the derby.

“What we have done is try to maximise the time that we had with them,” The Arsenal boss said.

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“To work on certain things that are important for them and try to keep them fit, available and in the right set of mind to compete tomorrow.”

This game comes at a telling point in the season where both teams have been flying high already this campaign. Tottenham are just one point behind their rivals and remain undefeated so far this campaign. 

The Versatile Tomiyasu 

One player who has struggled to find regular minutes in the season is Japanese international defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. The 23-year-old began the season injured but Arsenal’s Ben White has since taken up the role at right-back and excelled since being thrown in an unknown position on the opening day against Crystal Palace. 

Since he joined the club Tomiyasu has showcased his immense technical ability and versatility on the pitch and has become a well-respected and loved member of the team among the fanbase.  

Despite playing mostly right-back, Tomiyasu has also made a cameo at left-back last season and in the most recent international break played as a left centre-back for Japan. When asked on where the Arsenal boss sees his long-term position as, he replied that he feels confident that Tomiyasu can be played anywhere in a number of roles. 

“I think he’s capable to play one day at RB and on another day elsewhere, he’s so used to it. His quality and intelligence allows him to do that and we will use him in different positions.”

The stakes remain sky high for Arsenal, going into this game off the back of a 3-0 victory over Brentford to face their biggest rivals in the game of football.

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The Gunners await full confirmation regarding the fitness of Kieran Tierney, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey after the international break, but go into this game knowing that whatever XI is fielded on the day will have the full backing of a packed Emirates Stadium.