Why did Tomiyasu start ahead of Tierney for Arsenal? Gunners left-back explains big selection call from Arteta

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Takehiro Tomiyasu Kieran Tierney Arsenal 2022-23
Kieran Tierney has sought to explain the thought process behind Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta starting Takehiro Tomiyasu ahead of him at left-back.
  • Japanese star moved across to left-back
  • Scotland international left on the bench
  • Tactical decision paid off in crunch clash

WHAT HAPPENED? The Scotland international defender was expected to be included from the off in the Gunners’ last Premier League outing against Liverpool, with summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko nursing a knock. Japanese star Tomiyasu was, however, given the nod despite being a natural right-back, with Tierney left “gutted” but determined to respond positively to the most testing spell of his career to date.

WHAT THEY SAID: Tierney has told Sky Sports of why Arteta opted to use him off the bench in a 3-2 victory over Liverpool: “The day before he took me in and said ‘it’s not on your performance, this is just a tactical change that I want to make’. I’m gutted. But that’s all it is, I’m not going to be angry or not try hard. I’m gutted because I want to play every opportunity that I can – especially in big games you want to play and you want to soak in the atmosphere. There is nothing I can say, we went out and won and Tomiyasu played amazing and the game plan worked. Not many managers would probably think we’ll switch the right-back over here, but he did and it worked.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Tierney added on finding himself slipping down the pecking order at Emirates Stadium: “It was the first meeting I’ve had in my life where I’ve been dropped. It’s new to me. This season has been new to me. There was a spell last season for three or four games where I wasn’t playing, but since the start of the season I haven’t really played. It’s all new to me and I’m learning. It’s tough, footballers want to play. I worked so hard to get back from injury. You just want to play as much as possible as soon as you’re back.”

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Kieran Tierney Arsenal 2022-23

Takehiro Tomiyasu Arsenal 2022-23

Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2022-23

WHAT NEXT FOR TIERNEY? The 25-year-old has started just three Premier League games this season, but will be hoping to see more game time when Arsenal take in a trip to Leeds on Sunday.