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.
Arteta may have rested Tomiyasu for Saturday’s big game. Zinchenko was not his first choice in the Carabao Cup games last season, but he starts tonight. pic.twitter.com/EqmwnqeLfh
— ARDENT GOONER (@saltimes) November 1, 2023
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?
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