It was a memorable afternoon for Arsenal fans on Sunday as they blew North London rivals Tottenham apart to secure a standout 3-1 derby victory.
The bulk of the damage was done in the first half after goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka put the hosts out of reach. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side pulled a goal back in the second half but it proved nothing more than a consolation.
The post-game headlines rightfully belonged to Arsenal’s goalscorers and scintillating attackers who simply proved too hot to handle, combining and slicing through the visitors’ defence with ease.
Yet, a subplot from the fixture was the impressive performance of the Gunners’ latest signing, Takehiro Tomiyasu.
The Japanese international was heavily linked with both North London clubs across the summer, yet in the end, Tottenham opted to make a move for Emerson Royal from Barcelona, whilst Arsenal went all-in on bringing in Tomiyasu from Bologna.
It was Spurs who received the plaudits initially for their capture of the former Barcelona defender, with Tomiyasu’s abilities being fairly unknown at the time of arrival.
Yet heading into Sunday’s crunch clash, it was Tomiyasu who lined up in Mikel Arteta’s starting XI, whilst Emerson was forced to settle for a place on Spurs’ bench.
The 22-year-old grasped his opportunity to showcase to Tottenham what they missed out on, proving to be a key cog for Arsenal’s play both with and without the ball.
From a defensive point of view according to Wyscout, the six-foot-two-inch defender made eight interceptions, won 3/3 defensive duels and won 4/4 of his aerial duels across the 90-minute match.
Strikingly only two defenders who have competed for 15-plus aerial duels can better his success rate of 88.2% so far this season.
In possession, no Arsenal player made more touches in the game than Tomiyasu, and he also made the highest number of attempted passes, whilst only Martin Odegaard completed more successful passes.
Additionally, it was only the Norwegian midfielder and Saka who attempted more progressive carries towards the Tottenham goal than the right-back.
It hasn’t been a great start for Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to arrest the slide
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When Arsenal’s recruitment team proposed Tomiyasu’s name in the summer, it was his size and versatility – able to play both as a right-back and centre-back – that added the most appeal to a potential move.
And whilst he was considered competent in possession prior to the switch, the extent to which he’s impacted this Arsenal side with the ball has been a welcome surprise for Arteta.
Sunday was his best performance in an Arsenal shirt so far, and it was particularly sweet given who it came against, helping the Gunners to not only get one over Spurs on the day, but also the way which they beat their rivals to capture one of the Premier League’s most exciting summer arrivals.