The versatile Japanese international started Thursday night’s last-16 second-leg tie against Sporting Lisbon, but featured for less than 10 minutes before going down in some discomfort after an awkward fall that came after he appeared to get his studs stuck in the ground.
Tomiyasu was quickly replaced by Ben White and was later pictured leaving the Emirates Stadium on crutches after Premier League leaders Arsenal suffered a shock early exit from Europe’s secondary club competition, with a 1-1 draw (3-3 on aggregate) followed by a heartbreaking 5-3 penalty shootout loss in which Gabriel Martinelli saw his spot-kick saved.
To make matters worse for Arsenal, Tomiyasu’s fellow defender William Saliba was also hurt early against Sporting and went off after 20 minutes, giving Arteta a nervous wait ahead of Sunday’s home London derby against now managerless Crystal Palace in the top-flight.
“Tomiyasu looks pretty serious from his reaction straight after and what he said to me, but obviously, it’s very early,” the Spaniard told reporters when asked for an update on that double injury blow. “Willy [Saliba]? I don’t know, he had some discomfort and could not continue so we had to take him out.”
Pressed if he was worried about the long-term impact of yet more injuries to his squad in the title race, Arteta said: “We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season.
“We had Emile [Smith Rowe] out for four months, [Gabriel] Jesus for four months, Thomas [Partey] for a month-and-a-half, Alex [Oleksandr Zinchenko] for two-and-a-half months, Eddie [Nketiah] for a month-and-a-half. We had quite a lot of injuries already, but we dealt with them.
“The disappointment is not going to go away, it’s there now. But there’s also clarity. It’s 11 games to go now and we have a final against Crystal Palace. We have to recover and put all the focus there and win.”
Gabriel Jesus made his first start for four months against Sporting, having now fully recovered from knee surgery performed after the World Cup in Qatar.
He was also replaced at half-time by the fit-again Leandro Trossard, but Arteta has reassured Arsenal fans that was always the plan and not prompted by any concerning setback.
“We decided to do that because we had to manage the subs,” he said. “Thank God we did take him out, especially after the two windows that we had to use in the first half. That was the plan. Leo [Trossard] is coming from an injury as well and we knew the game could go to extra-time and we had to manage that. He looked OK.”