Mikel Arteta couldn’t have been happier with the performance of his Arsenal side at the weekend, as his celebrations during the game against Liverpool and at full-time indicated.
Whilst it wasn’t quite a ‘must win’ match for the Gunners, it did put down a marker.
The strength of the performance from the whole team across the 90 minutes said to the teams around them in the Premier League title race that they’re far from out of the running.
That Arsenal were so commanding without a player that Arteta holds in incredibly high regard makes the victory even more worthwhile.
The Athletic (subscription required) note the Spaniard’s words from earlier in the season when he referred to Takehiro Tomiyasu as “probably the best (defender) I’ve seen in many situations.”
It’s with that in mind that the outlet advise the North Londoners are close to agreeing a new long-term deal with the 25-year-old, who is expected to return to the line-up against West Ham at the weekend.
Tomiyasu has been away with Japan at the Asian Cup, but they were surprisingly knocked out by Iran in the quarter-finals.
The disappointment that the player will inevitably feel at not being able to go further in the competition should be tempered by the fact that he’ll be thrown straight back into what’s developing into the best title race in years.