Most Premier League fans who have watched Arsenal play for a while will know what Arsenal’s default defensive line is. Most believe Arsenal’s starting defense line is White-Saliba-Gabriel-Zinchenko.
Examining this defensive line, there’s a potential that going forward, it’ll be “tweaked”. Takehiro Tomiyasu may be preferred to start in place of Oleksander Zinchenko.
Arsenal were not at their best in Saturday night’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea. The majority of the Gunners were not at their best, but of the 11, Oleksander Zinchenko struggled most.
It’s as if Chelsea saw him as the weak link in Arsenal’s rock-solid defense. On a good day, Saliba, Gabriel, and White are all great defensive players; they’re natural defenders and can cause trouble for opposing forwards. However, it has been observed that Zinchenko, at left back, is stronger at attacking but not that great at defending. He is effective as an inverted fullback, helping to overload the midfield, but he struggles to track back to his normal leftback position and cover defensively.
While Zinchenko struggles to defend, Takehiro Tomiyasu is gradually demonstrating that he can also play his role (the thought was that only Zinchenko could thrive as an inverted fullback). However, it is becoming clear that Tomiyasu can defend well and play an inverted full-back role. This has been clear from his appearances in the last two Arsenal games against Manchester City and Chelsea, where he was introduced to plug a defensive hole at left back.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Tomiyasu starts Arsenal’s next game, a Champions League clash against Sevilla. Because if Zinchenko starts, he will almost certainly be part of the Spanish side’s game plan (they will try to expose him).
The Ukrainian full back is excellent, but Tomiyasu (if he stays fit) could usurp him in the starting lineup.
Who would you prefer as our starting left-back?