After Arsenal’s win against Norwich, Mikel Arteta explained why he took Takehiro Tomiyasu off and what Albert Sambi Lokonga’s problem was during the international break.
Takehiro Tomiyasu went straight into the Arsenal starting lineup for their game against Norwich on Saturday and the defender impressed watching fans with his energy, intelligence and ability to control the ball to make it do what he wanted.
Despite his strong showing, Mikel Arteta replaced him with Emile Smith Rowe after just 62 minutes, so was there a problem?
“He was cramping,” Arteta explained. “Obviously he only trained a day and a half with us, he had to travel, and emotionally it was his first game and we had to take him off.”
As for Albert Sambi Lokonga, he was a bit of a doubt after missing two of Belgium’s three international matches with what Robert Martinez described as ‘discomfort.’
“Thomas wasn’t fit enough to play the 90 minutes and we didn’t want to take another risk with him,” Arteta said. “Sambi came in from Belgium with a tight hamstring and only trained half a day.
“The way we wanted to play, we didn’t have options because players were injured or suspended in midfield and we were really short because Emile wasn’t available to play either [he had been ill all week].
“[Sambi] made a big effort to play here and that is one of the reasons when I tell you how much these boys want to do it and nobody is hiding in difficult moments, they just want to get over the line and he showed a good example.”
Tomiyasu finished the game with a Fotmob rating of 7.9 while Sambi received 7.7.