Mikel Arteta says he’s not sure when Takehiro Tomiyasu will return from his injury problems, stressing the need to ensure that the Japan international doesn’t aggravate the problem by coming back too quickly.

The summer signing from Bologna was a mainstay in the side after his August arrival, but picked up a calf problem in December, and has only made two appearances in 2022.

Cedric Soares has desputised and done well at times, but the balance and physicality Tomiyasu brings to that right hand side is something we’re going to need between now and the end of the campaign.

Asked about him ahead of the Gunners’ showdown with Leicester today, Arteta explained, “He had an injury, he made a quick recovery, we played him … maybe too quickly, I don’t know.

“He had a recurring injury there and he felt it again one day when he was back in training.

It’s a disappointment because he’s been really consistent, he played a lot of minutes … quality minutes, and he made a good contribution to the team.

“Now he needs to be consistently training for a period so we can minimise the risk of having a recurring injury in the same muscle because that would be something to worry about.”

He did have praise for Cedric though, saying, “It’s good to have someone like him, when we had to use him he was ready because he’s a great professional, and he’s performing well for the team.”