Arsenal have a lot of their first-team squad members in motion on the Qatar World Cup this winter, with Bukayo Saka undoubtedly being the Gunners’ standout performer within the competitors up to now, with the winger scoring a sensational brace in England’s 6-2 demolition of Iran on Monday afternoon.
Nonetheless, it was arguably one among Arsenal’s former gamers who stole the present in Wednesday’s batch of World Cup fixtures, with Takuma Asano handing over a match-winning show in Japan’s shock 2-1 victory over Germany – a outcome that sees one of many event favourites going through the very actual chance of a gaggle stage exit.
Certainly, regardless of beginning the fixture on the bench, the VfL Bochum winger made a big impact upon his introduction within the 57th minute of the match, as, regardless of having fun with simply 14 touches of the ball and finishing a mere 5 passes, the £3.5m-rated expertise proved a continuing risk down Germany’s proper flank.
Despite the very fact he had so little time on the ball, the 28-year-old nonetheless managed to take 5 pictures at Manuel Neuer’s purpose, with one being on course, two being off beam and two being blocked, nonetheless, it was the one which did bother the Bayern Munich shot-stopper that proved decisive within the assembly on the Khalifa Worldwide Stadium.
With simply seven minutes of regulation time remaining, Asano magnificently plucked Ko Itakura’s hopeful lengthy ball out of the sky, along with his “Bergkampesque” first contact brilliantly taking him away from the onrushing Nico Schlotterbeck and in direction of the German purpose, earlier than the winger unleashed a fierce drive past Neuer at his close to publish.
And, whereas it could be troublesome to argue that Arsenal’s £1m sale of Asano again in 2019 was a mistake, Arsene Wenger could have been watching on with glee on Wednesday, as the previous Gunners supervisor was all the time satisfied of the 38-cap star’s potential.
Talking in regards to the winger upon his £3.5m arrival in north London again in 2016, the legendary Frenchman stated: “Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future. We look forward to him developing over the next couple of years. He is a player I believe in a lot. I will take care of him and make sure he gets to the right place.”
As such, whereas Wenger might not have managed to ship on this promise at The Emirates, it’s simple that Arsenal supporters now know what Asano is able to, because the 28-year-old effectively and really proved his potential to the world in opposition to the Germans.