Former Arsenal striker stunned to see star left out of Liverpool win but completely ‘wowed’ by replacement
Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell admits he was ‘shocked’ to see Kieran Tierney overlooked by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for the visit of Liverpool last weekend but ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu replaced the injured Oleksandr Zinchenko in the starting line-up to face Jurgen Klopp’s men in the 3-2 win at The Emirates, despite the more natural left-back Tierney being available.
However, the Japan international did a superb job on Mo Salah, which eventually saw the Liverpool talisman taken off.
And speaking to media after the game, Arteta labelled Tomiyasu’s performance as ‘incredible’.
But when asked by Football Insider whether it was the right call to pick the Japan star over Tierney, Campbell said: “Wow. He was outstanding.
“If I’m honest with you, it was a shock to see him starting. It is not because he is not a good player, it is because Tierney was fit. I thought he would have started.
“Tomiyasu can play multiple positions and he proved that again at the weekend. He did a real number on Salah. It was a good decision from Mikel Arteta.
“Tierney is struggling to get a run of games but you have to protect him because he keeps breaking down. That is the issue.
“There is a lot of games this month. Tierney will get his chance. Rotation is key.
“I know Tierney will be frustrated not to be playing. We need him to stay fit for the full season though so managing his game time is necessary.”
With Zinchenko struggling with a muscle issue, either Tomiyasu or Tierney will start at Leeds on Sunday. However, the latter could get some decent minutes in before then if he gets the nod in the Europa League against Bodo/Glimt.
Jesus told to get his feet up
One player who should be fit to head to Elland Road this weekend is Gabriel Jesus.
Arteta has eased any concern over Jesus, claiming the striker is having a rest after a gruelling few weeks.
He has not travelled with the Gunners for the trip to Norway. However, Arteta insists Arsenal have allowed Jesus the night off.
“We thought that with everything he has been through in the last few weeks we thought it was better that he was staying there,” the Spaniard told his pre-match press conference.
Arteta also insisted that referees must step up and protect players who want to be physical by nature.
He added: “I don’t know how other coaches and players approach the games against us.
“Obviously, Gabi is a player that gets involved in a lot of physical contact. It is the way he plays, that is in his nature. It is up to the referees to protect the players.
“I’m really happy how our players are performing and that’s the most important thing. Then it’s up to the referees to protect them.”
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