Arsenal star provides update after missing training ahead of Man Utd clash | Football

Mikel Arteta has had an almost entirely fit squad to choose from in recent weeks (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu appears set to hand Mikel Arteta a fitness boost ahead of Sunday’s Premier League showdown against Manchester United.

The Gunners remain in the hunt for a first league title in 20 years, but only maximum points will suffice this weekend.

Manchester City will regain top spot should they win on Saturday lunchtime at Fulham, meaning Arsenal will have to respond in kind should they wish to take a thrilling race to the final week of the campaign.

Tomiyasu, having regained full fitness, has played an increasingly prominent role in recent weeks, usurping Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko as his manager’s first choice left-back.

The Japan international caused a measure of concern on yesterday, however, when he was reported to be the only first team player to have missed Tuesday’s training session.

Tomiyasu is being nursed through the last few weeks of the season and is understood to have trained in doors in order to manage his workload.

Alongside Ben White, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, Tomiyasu has helped form the English top flight’s meanest defensive machine and he is hoping for two more clean sheets between now and the end of the season.

Takehiro Tomiyasu has been in excellent form since returning to the Arsenal first team

Takehiro Tomiyasu has been in excellent form since returning to the Arsenal first team (Picture: Getty)

‘The two centre-backs, Gabi and [William] Saliba, they are so consistent – and so is Ben [White] as well,” Tomiyasu said.

‘We have had a lot of clean sheets because of them. I want to be part of that [defence]. We will try to get another clean sheet at Old Trafford as well.

‘Obviously it won’t be an easy game because it is a tough place to play and take three points. But we are confident and we will be there to get three points.

‘If we win the title, we will be happy. I don’t want anything else, we just want the title. For me, there has not been many chances to be involved in this title race, so I am happy I am involved now. If there is a chance in front of us, we have to go for it and take it.’

Given his questionable fitness record since his move from Bologna approaching three years ago, eyebrows were raised when Tomiyasu was handed the chance to sign a new long-term contract in March.

The versatile defender is now confident his injury problems are behind him and hehopes to play a key part of an exciting future under Arteta.

‘It was tough for me [being injured] because, after we lost in the Asian Cup, I wanted to play,” said Tomiyasu.

‘I wanted to play immediately after that because other players from the national team who lost in the Asian Cup were playing.

‘But it is what it is. I am available to play now and this is the most important period of the season.

‘I am happy on the pitch and I hope I can help the team. I will give everything for the team and just enjoy this moment.’


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