What makes Tomiyasu so special to Arsenal fans?

Trooper Tomiyasu: With only one assist, what makes him so great?  by Benedict

The 23-year-old Japanese right back has been an instant Arsenal fan favourite since joining the club this summer but why?

There are many answers to why Takehiro Tomiyasu feels like such a Gooner at heart and impresses the Arsenal faithful, but many didn’t even know anything about him or his career with Bologna when he signed.

The Japanese international has recently been praised by former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell and compared to icons Lee Dixon and Lauren, very high praise indeed.

But why?

Tomiyasu is tough. The simple answer is his toughness. There is something about his no nonsense style of play that we all seem to love, he is not too flashy or technical but does the basics so well, including a lot of the gritty defending.

Kevin Campbell said: “I think his toughness and his relentless nature is how Lee Dixon used to play and he’s a bit like Lauren, Lauren was tough, he could play, and he was tough.”

Don’t get me wrong, Tomiyasu’s overall game is strong, he doesn’t give the ball away much and he combines well in attacks, always an option for Saka going forward. But it’s reassuring to see him back defending every time we need him.

You don’t have to look far to see evidence of this, the beautiful first goal in our 3-0 win against Southampton is evidence of how well Tomiyasu can contribute going forward, fantastic link-up on the right flank.

From getting stamped on the face in the 2-1 loss to Everton by Godfrey (not even a yellow by the way), he still played the full 90 with an obvious bruised scrape down his chin. To an impressive New Year’s Day performance against Manchester City, he kept Sterling quiet just after having had a week out recovering with Covid.

He just feels like a titan, wears the shirt with pride and leaves it all on the pitch.

As well as this, being 6.1 feet tall means he is much more dominant in the air compared to the on-loan Hector Bellerin who is only 5.8. Arsenal fans seem to be enjoying the refreshingly dominant right back.

Campbell continued: “We hit him sometimes at goal kicks because he’s aerially dominant. At that back-stick where we’ve had so many problems in the past, we don’t seem to have those problems anymore.”

His statistics show how reassured Tomiyasu has been for us this season; only one yellow card in 16 games for the club and a tackle success rate of 81%. You can see how the number 18 could easily fill in at centre half if we ever needed him too, another big positive of having him at the club.

I think that Tomiyasu has been vital in the defensively reassured system we are beginning to see at Arsenal and so his involvement in the team will be crucial in our upcoming games (especially Spurs) if we are to push for that 4th spot and dream of Champions League football again.

Tomiyasu deserves all the praise coming his way.

Until next time Gooners.


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  1. Fantastic article about one of the new young pillars of this emerging arsenal team. Looking forward to reading more of your future insights Ben!

  2. What a player!!! Really tightened up our whole defence as a unit. His arial ability compensated for white’s weakness in the air whilst also allowing white to bring the ball into midfield while Tomiyasu covers.

  3. Considering it’s only his first season in the best league in the world, he’s done brilliantly, and will only continue to improve.. I’m a big fan of his.

      1. Agree Kev82, but I do wish someone would teach him how to take throw ins quicker… a very good signing.

        1. Haha yeah Ken but I suppose they are better than Hector Bellerins foul throws he made it an art form lol

        2. I think it is a new set piece routine with the new set piece coach. I noticed that Tierney takes quite a long time these days to take throwins because they have to wait for all the surrounding players to make a few runs to get the guy free

      2. Absolutely Kenya, and his performance against Man city was exceptional and he won’t play against many better teams 👍

  4. He is similar to Tierney.
    Solid reliable and dependable and developing assists out put. Not havig to play European football has helped his and everyones form because Arteta has used the same 7 defenders and the same 14 man playing squad.
    Not sure about popularity as that is usually
    inextricably linked to results. But at the price worth every penny so far..

    1. He’s a much better defender than Tierney (possibly our best individual defender – it’s between him and Gabriel surely!?) but KT has more pace and is a better crosser, although Tomi is pretty useful in attack

  5. Kevin Campbell is a boring pundit who gets most things wrong, but I’m slightly optimistic that Tomyasu can do the job for Arsenal over the next few years,provided he remains injury free of course. He does the simple things well, without being spectacular and alway looks as though he is so proud to wear the Arsenal colours. After Bellerin, Soares, Chambers Kolasinac and co this is a breath of fresh air, although I would prefer a Danny Alves type in this position.

  6. So far so good. He is really assured in his game and does not loose the ball anyhow. Keeps on helping the central defense when his opposite counterpart overlaps. Good signing kudos Edu and Arteta.

  7. He is pretty fast for a tall guy and confident enough to pass with his weaker foot, making him good for Arteta’s asymmetrical tactics

  8. He is solid defensively and hardly suffers any lapses in concentration like Gabby and Ben White. My only issues with Tomiyasu are his glaring lack of pace and poor crossing.

    1. Yeah he suits a 3 CB formation perfectly as RCB, I actually can’t think of a better defender in the EPL in that position with 3 CBs.

      He’s the perfect hybrid of a RB and a CB.

  9. -Don’t roll around like an idiot when fouled
    -Extremely good positional sense
    -High intensity
    -Not afraid of a good, hard challenge
    -Stays out of the headlines
    -Walks on the pitch like it’s his duty to do well for the team regardless of how he is feeling

    I think the fact that we had Bellerin for so many years has made us appreciate just a good, solid RB.

  10. And the usual suspect prohets of doom and gloom were all out against our manager because he let HB leave on loan. Untill and unless mediocre signings are not booted out, excipting signings cannot be done. Trust Mikel to boot out the left over dross and hire some exciting talent to keep us standing on our feet for the 90+ minutes rather than sulking in the seats looking at the clock for the live horror show to end.

  11. Tomiyasu seems like an old school right-back rather than modern day fullback

    – great defensively but quite conservative offensively
    – good in the air
    – always marks his man
    – hard-working and humble person

    I wouldn’t mind us bringing in another RB next summer to compete with him. Someone little more offensive. I think in the LB department we have the perfect balance with Tierney/Nuno.

    Off topic, has anyone been following Brugge’s Charles de Ketelaere? 20-year old, 191cm tall all-around attacking midfielder who has played mainly as a centre-forward this season but also few times as LW, CM and CAM. 9 goals, 6 assists so far in 21 apperances. Remember the name!

  12. Tomiyasu is a steal! Very good defensively and does his best to contribute offensively. I believe that If he was in another PL team, he would have become more recognized. Before we bought him, I remember someone sarcastically saying that he isn’t good enough and that he was offered to many teams but was rejected. Thank God, he’s proved them wrong by his display on the field of play.
    And so far, for me, he’s been our best signing, considering the amount we bought him.

    But I deem it unfair by us to suggest he can’t cross the ball. Tierney, he has been crossing the ball for donkey years, what has that profited him?🤔 I watch Tierney nw, he doesn’t make those crosses any more(not aplenty) like before.

    And I also wonder who in the box will head those crosses in??🤔 So, for me, I prefer this version of Tomiyasu and you can’t expect him to be perfect.

  13. I cannot recall one single supporter who argued the fact Arteta sent Bellerin out on loan. Not one!!!!
    And in regards the “Left over dross” lets just remember who it was that has brought in Mari, Soures, who are not exactly world class are they?
    And there have been plenty of performances even this season when the team has had every supporter looking at the clock PAL- you just seen to have got yourself all excited at where we are in the league. Let’s see how the rest of the season pans out shall we?

  14. Hard to dislike him!some fans complain about his attacking input but MA explained that one of the reasons he signed him,is the fact that White or KT do go/bomb forward he easily slot in at right CB, making it a back 3 at anytime.

    1. @Siamois. Thank you for tactical understanding of the role of our beloved right back. His ability to defend and slot in at cb which makes him invaluable. It’s just the case of Benzema early madrid days. He was undervalued by fans and undroppable by the coaches. 5 different coaches still select him. Maybe fans know more than coaches lol

  15. His defensive instincts are what impressed me the most. He’s made a couple of really interceptions this year (just from what I’ve seen, which isn’t everything) that showed a great understanding and reading of the game. Don’t remember seeing too much of that from arsenal players in recent history.
    Aside from that he’s strong, tough, very focused, has a great calmness with the ball and is technically proficient. I think he’s a taller version of azpilicueta – great signing.

  16. Quality signing, so cheap for what he’s offered us as well! Properly understands what it means to represent our club, and does it with pride and integrity. Great article

  17. Tomiyasu and Tierney are both our only full backs who have been able to defend as all full backs need to do, since the days of Lauren and Cole.
    One arguable exception would be SAGNA, though IMO he was overhyped by most Gooners and was no more than decent, despite being sometimes claimed as world class by certain Gooners, which was always nonsense.

  18. As much as tomi as been pretty solid the one player I’m more excited about is Tavares and for the sum we payed for him looks like a Wenger style transfer .
    Very raw ATM but for me going forward in maybe 1-2 years that left back slot will definitely be his , its not say Tierney is bad but Tavares as that extra special thing about him
    Where as Tierney struggles with pacey wingers Tavares as that recovery speed that sets him apart ,unlike anything I’ve seen since cole ,and going forward he’s like a bomb and can cut in and change it up .
    Where as tierney is the safe bet ,Tavares is the player who will get you out of you’re seat.

    1. I think Tavares will progress into an attacking midfielder in a 3. Or will get more matches at LWB if arsenal revert to 3 at the back with Tierney taking the LCB role.

      I certainly don’t want to see the club spend £50m on Lamptey, cos I think Tavares could be the back up on the right too. He looks more than comfortable with his right foot.

      Likewise I don’t see the need for Bellerin, Cedric, Kolasinac anymore.

      I also think we need to bring back Saliba as our 3rd centre back, then decide who is 4th between holding, Mari, chambers and ballard. With Clarke returning to the fold season 23/24

  19. Bit late to this one so can only really say that I agree with most of the platitudes above however just to add that for me the refreshing part of watching Tomi play is the apparent honesty that he shows, pretty rare in top flight football

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