Friday, March 1, 2024

Thursday round-up: Tomiyasu, Kiwior, Leah Williamson returns


It’s very quiet again in general. With regards Takehiro Tomiyasu’s involvement in the Asian Cup, that continues after Japan beat Indonesia 3-1 yesterday. Iraq beat Vietnam in the other game in Group D, meaning Japan finish second, which means their round of 16 opponent will be decided after today’s final games in Groups E and F.

I also quite enjoyed how the Indonesia team was made up of players with names that look like defaults from Pro Evolution Soccer 2.

Japan’s next game takes place on January 31st, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Tomiyasu could be back for the Liverpool game on February 4th, but obviously that can only happen if they lose. He played 82 minutes of the game against Indonesia, so hopefully the playing time he’s getting there will stand him good stead whenever he returns from the tournament.

Meanwhile, despite some fairly persistent speculation regarding a move away, the agent of Jakub Kiwior has denied the Polish international will be going anywhere this month. He said:

Kuba is an Arsenal player, he has a valid contract and, according to all our information, he is a ‘player for years’. 99% of the time he stays in London. We have had specific inquiries about Kuba from many clubs, but everything is decided by Arsenal and their position is clear. Kuba stays at Arsenal.

If you are in one of the best clubs in the world, you have to fight for yourself. Kuba is getting more and more minutes. Being his age, after such a big transfer and jump-up, everything looks fine in every respect.

It seems fairly obvious to me that in a January window where our only mooted signing is another defender, we wouldn’t allow one of our existing players to depart. If they feel we’re a bit short back there and need an addition, it makes no sense to let anyone go. He only arrived last January too, and it can’t have come as a surprise to him that his chances in his natural position have been relatively scant.

He has Gabriel ahead of him, one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League, and not only is he hugely consistent in terms of his performances, he’s very rarely injured, so chances for Kiwior at left centre-back have been limited. It’s difficult to properly judge a player when you rarely see them in their best position, but I do think he’s good on the ball, and I need to see more of him as a centre-half to really get a good idea of him. Let’s see how he fares between now and the end of the season, hopefully when needed he can make a positive contribution.

Meanwhile, there was a good win for Arsenal Women in the Conti Cup last night, beating Reading 6-0 thanks to goals from Stina Blackstenius (3), Laia Codina, Caitlin Foord and Beth Mead. The Mead goal stands out, not just because of the quality of the finish, but for the pass from Leah Williamson, who came on in the 60th minute for her first appearance since suffering an ACL injury last April.

She spoke exclusively to Tim Stillman afterwards, and said:

I have always worked hard in silence almost. I love that we get to come out on the pitch and put on a show. That is what I love about football and what is a lovely moment every weekend when you come out with the fans and you get to bond that way. But there are some things you have to do on your own and are your business.

It is a hot topic at the moment and there are lots of opinions around it (ACL injuries) and I felt like I had my plan that could help me through it and that was all I needed. I have been quiet on purpose, getting my work done and keep my head down and then you get to celebrate moments like this.

No doubt it has been a long and difficult road back, missing out on so much football for Arsenal and England in that time, but this is the most positive step-forward, and hopefully her reintegration will continue without any hitches.

Ok, that’s your lot for this morning. We’ll have more tomorrow, with a brand new Arsecast too. For now, have a good one.

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