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Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu has expressed both his delight and indeed surprise at closing in on his 50th appearance for the club. The full-back could reach the major milestone when Arsenal host Everton in the Premier League this evening.
The Gunners have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table, with Mikel Arteta’s men currently two points ahead of Manchester City.
Tomiyasu has impressed since arriving from Bologna in 2021, but his time on the pitch has been interrupted by both injury and the impressive form of Ben White at right-back.
He has yet to score for the Gunners, instead chipping in with three assists, but has proven his worth at both ends and indeed in both full-back positions.
Arsenal defender admits patience is key ahead of milestone
The Japan international could make his 50th Arsenal appearance against the Toffees, with Tomiyasu having now settled into the club after initial issues surrounding his exact role under Arteta.
“I didn’t know, it’s come so quickly!” Tomiyasu told the Arsenal website. “It’s special to me because Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world, and I’m happy to play for this club.
“When you play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, there is big competition all the time and Ben White has been playing very well, so I just have to be patient. When I play, I just give everything for the team, so I need to be ready all of the time.
“When I arrived here, I didn’t know what to do for the team because I didn’t know how Mikel wanted me to play, but now I understand. Hopefully I am better than when I arrived here!”
Tomiyasu praises ‘amazing’ Arsenal fans
The Arsenal defender also looked ahead to tonight’s meeting with Everton, with the Toffees having beaten the Gunners less than a month ago in the reverse fixture.
Everton claimed all three points at Goodison Park in what was Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of the club, with James Tarkowski scoring the only goal of the game on February 4th. Arsenal led the way for shots, passes and possession but could not find a way past a stern Everton defence.
But Tomiyasu is boosted by the fact that tonight’s game will take place at the Emirates, with the defender grateful to play in front of the club’s fantastic supporters once again.
“It’s going to be an important game for us, but we’re playing at home where our supporters get behind us, so we have to win,” added Tomiyasu.
“The atmosphere is even better [than last season], especially after we concede a goal and the crowd gets more excited. Normally when you concede a goal at home, the crowd are down but when you play at the Emirates the crowd are the opposite.
“Our supporters are amazing and they give us a lot of energy all of the time. They are top! I’m so excited to play in front of them at home, but the most important thing is to take three points so that’s what we’ll focus on.”
All eyes on Everton 💪 pic.twitter.com/4d00uVFZL8
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 28, 2023