Should Tomiyasu replace Zinchenko when Arsenal visit Newcastle?

This weekend, Oleksander Zinchenko may have to settle for a spot on the substitutes bench when Arsenal play Newcastle. Following an embarrassing 3-1 Carabao Cup loss to West Ham, the Gunners will be looking to rebound and get back to winning ways.

Mikel Arteta may observe that most of his players failed to perform admirably against West Ham, and he may conclude that he cannot rely on certain individuals to shine versus Newcastle on Saturday.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, who flopped against the Hammers, is one player who may be required to make way. The Ukrainian’s performance since his arrival at the Emirates has been remarkable. His capacity to operate as an inverted left back enabled the Gooners to dominate their opponents, as he bolstered their defensive fortification in the midfield, by helping overload it and contributed to winning the midfield battles.

This system appeared to be effective, but Zinchenko has been unable to be efficient in it thus far this season and has especially struggled when it comes to defending. Notably, the Arsenal defense has been strong, but opponents have targeted Zinchenko as their point of weakness.

A few weeks ago, he was substituted at halftime against Chelsea following a dreadful performance. He was then rested against Sevilla, and Tomiyasu filled in at left back. The Japanese international played well against Sevilla.

Zinchenko was recalled to the starting eleven against Sheffield, but Arsenal was in a position to easily dominate that contest. On paper, they were the superior team, and the Blades were struggling with injuries, hence he wasn’t exposed.

Mikel Arteta easily could have started Takehiro Tomiyasu at left back on Wednesday night, but instead he started him (Zinchenko) to see him maintain his momentum. Regrettably, the decision to start the former Manchester City star did not impact Arsenal as intended. Once again, he was unable to shine.

Mohammed Kudus scored West Ham’s second goal as a result of Zinchenko’s inability to track back to left back. He latched on to a diagonal cross while unmarked, and from there, he fired the ball past Aaron Ramsdale.

Some Gooners must have wished Tomiyasu had been positioned at left back. He would not have allowed Kudus to “breathe”. With Tomiyasu watching the game from the bench when he ought to have been given a chance to play and Zinchenko’s lacklustre performance, could the ex-Bologna man be up for a start versus Newcastle?

Daniel O


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  1. Almiron is quite pacey, so Tomiyasu at LB could be a good option to stop him

    Howe would also likely rely on set-pieces to score, with Burn, Schar, Lascelles, Joelinton, Guimaraes and Wilson in his starting line-up

    That’s why we need more tall players like Tomiyasu, Saliba, Magalhaes, White, Rice and Havertz to man-mark those Newcastle players in dead-ball situations

    1. Gai,I hope Havertz can play CF for Arsenal in NewCastle game Nketiah don’t cut it for me. Jorginho and Rice would be fine in midfield though I am worried about Jorginho sluggishness at times he won’t find it easy with Guimeraes NewCastle will be physical.
      I wish Arteta can be dynamic and use Zichenko in Xhaka’s position while Rice is our main DM. Elneny would have been fine but I don’t think he is ready for a game of this magnitude

      1. Sylva, I think Arteta will rely on Nketiah’s high-press to make Newcastle panic in the back

        I’d also like to see Zinchenko in Xhaka’s position with Rice behind him in the CDM position

        Zinchenko has been playing in deep-midfield area as Xhaka did, so his positioning skills must be better than Havertz’s, Vieira’s and Smith-Rowe’s

        His only weakness is his height, unlike Xhaka who helped us a lot with his aerial ability

    2. Newcastle attack primarily down that side with Trippier shifting into Midfield too.

      Hopefully he will be chasing Martinelli but we need a solid defensive left back too

  2. I think so yes. Tomiyasu is the man on form whereas Zinchenko, even if you ignore his usual defensive weaknesses,seems to be out of form.Plus Newcastle are a very physical side and Tomi is more suited to that. In addition to that, I think he has really grown into that inverted role, he slots into midfield seamlessly and adds physical presence in the middle of the park. This may an unpopular opinion,but in my opinion, of all the defensive positions he’s played for Arsenal,he’s looked best in the inverted LB role. On the right,he doesn’t offer much offensively whereas on the left,his positioning,defending and passing suit inverted LB. Having an adept ‘weak foot’ makes it easier for him I think.Finally,as GAI has stated, we’ll need the tall guys out there against Newcastle.

  3. Tomiyasu should start. The Ukrainian is responsible for some of the goals that Arsenal concede because he is not a defender.

  4. Zinchenko has always been a midfielder playing LB position. His defense has always been atrocious, as we see time and time again.

    Tomiyasu is clearly the superior defender, and is improving on the possession aspect when inverted in midfield. I don’t see where Zinchenko beats him out honestly, and think Zinchenko should be the CM and backup LB going forward.

  5. I feel both should with Tomyasu at LB and Zinchenko at LM to give better control and fluidity.


    Martinelli. Odegaard. Saka.

    Zinchenko. Rice.

    Tomiyasu. Gabriel. Saliba. White.


    1. I second your selection IG.While I concur with the criticism of Zinchenko as a LB, he is a skilful, experienced central midfielder, who is likely to me more effective in that role than Havertz.I would mention that Zinchenko was not wholly responsible for the Kudus goal the other night, as Gabriel stood off the scorer with his hands behind his back when he ought to have engaged the winger.

        1. At the moment IGL, I don’t see anyone as a Xhaka replacement, especially Zinchenko, who’s physically not up to it, and doesn’t seem able to hold his position in the shape.

          1. For Jax
            I agree with you that he is not physically up t it but he has the equivalent passing range and has better tight control and can dictate play. A bit like Santi Cazorla who was also not physically upto the task but had game intelligence (but definitely not as good as Cazorla as he is a one off with his best partnership being with Francis Coquelin). So I think Rice and Zinchenko can form a similar partnership.

  6. Said it many times, with Zinchenko in defense, we are not going anywhere! His defensive sense is pathetic.

  7. TBH Zinchenko doesn’t have the build that the DM role requires, but could still do a decent enough job if he’d only hold his position, instead of charging all over the midfield getting in the way, and being out of position when required to defend.

  8. After his hattrick, Nketiah deserves another start despite being poor against West Ham. A player I’m really worried about is Trossard as he doesn’t appear to be taking his chances when starting games. Our performance against West Ham was awful, let’s hope it was just a one-off……..

  9. Certainly, Tomi should play in place of Zinchenko. Newcastle will attack Arsenal and we will need a good defensive performance from the gunners and Tomiyasu is a very good defender. That said, I wouldnt mind Arteta trying Zinchenko in a midfield 3 of Rice, Odegaard and Zinchenko, The midfield is the position Zinchenko excels for Ukraine.

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