Mikel Arteta explains Arsenal star's absence as another injury confirmed after West Ham triumph
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Arsenal's 6-0 triumph over fellow London club West Ham may have come as a shock to many Gunners fans after the news from Mikel Arteta that three key figures would be absent from the squad. Oleksandr Zinchenko was reported 'not fit', Emile Smith-Rowe had 'turned his ankle' while Jorginho hadn't trained after it was revealed he was 'carrying an issue'. Arteta also added that Gabriel Jesus would continue being unavailable but no further update was provided.
One Gunners star, however, was given no update until after the match and only now has Arteta revealed the reason behind Takehiro Tomiyasu's absence. The Japanese defender is now the latest Emirates star to fall to injury and is spell on the side-lines continues. The 25-year-old has played only a minor role for the Emirates club in recent months after suffering a calf injury before heading off on international duty, representing Japan in the AFC Asian Cup.
It had been hoped that the defender could return straight into the match-day squad after touching down from Qatar but after picking up a minor injury, further assessments indicated that playing against West Ham would have been a huge fitness risk. The Gunners boss admitted post-match, "He had a niggle when he came back from the national team. It was not the moment to risk him after how many minutes he's played."
No timeline has been given, indicating the Japanese star could make his red and white return when Arsenal play Burnley this Saturday ahead of their Champions League last-16 first-leg match against FC Porto next Wednesday (21 February). Fans can rest assured, however, that they will see Tomiyasu donning the Gunners shirt for the foreseeable future. Fabrizio Romano took to his Twitter account to report that the Japanese defender will officially sign his new contract. The Italian football transfer guru confirmed that the agreement was done and "100% sealed".
Romano previously claimed the Japanese 25-year-old had attracted interest from Serie A clubs but he was never likely to leave with Arsenal keen to keep hold of the £25 million man.