Date: 7th December 2022 at 9:51am
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The Premier League returns on Boxing Day, with current leaders Arsenal hoping to maintain their position at the top of the table. 

Mikel Arteta’s side currently hold a five-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City, and they will be hoping to continue their dominance as they face London rivals West Ham United.

The Gunners will already be without striker Gabriel Jesus for the trip to The London Stadium, though, and it now appears that they may well be missing another star.

As reported by The Express, defender Takehiro Tomiyasu may also be missing for the match following Japan’s exit from the World Cup.

The Asian side were eliminated by Croatia on penalties at the last 16 stage on Monday, and the Gunners’ defender has since hinted that he isn’t thinking about when he will return to Arsenal duty.

“It was not enough, we did not deserve to win,” Tomiyasu said following the match.

“We were so close to achieving our aim. They were better than us. I can’t be proud, I am not satisfied about what happened. This is football and we need to be much, much better.”

Tomiyasu appearaed visibly dejected following Japan’s penalty shootout defeat

“I don’t know [when I’ll go back],” he stated when asked when he will return to north London.

“Hopefully I can get a bit of rest. I need time to forget about football. I need a bit of time.”

Tomiyasu’s comments will worry Arsenal supporters, with the Japan international having played a key role for the club since joining from Bologna last summer.

Since then, the 24-year-old has made 39 appearances for The Gunners, having been used as the club’s first choice right-back last term.

This season, the Japanese full-back has largely been used as a substitute, with England international Ben White often preferred on the right of Arsenal’s backline.

Tomiyasu only cost around £15 million when he joined from Italian side Bologna, and his initial arrival last season made an instant impact on the club’s fortunes.

Arteta’s side enjoyed an eight game unbeaten run in the league following his arrival, having lost their opening three games of the season without scoring a goal.

If the defender is set to be out of action, it remains to be seen who will be deployed at right-back, with White himself having also been sent home from England duty at the World Cup for ‘personal reasons’.

If both players miss out, it could be Rob Holding who starts at right-back for the match.

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