With another rock solid performance in the Gunners’ 4-2 win over Vorskla in the Europa League, now is the time to take off the shackles and unleash Lucas Torreira on the Premier League.
Time for Torreira: Three Reasons the Uruguayan Needs to Start
Lucas Torreira has come off the bench in all five of Arsenal’s Premier League matches so far this season. His impact on each fixture was recognisable almost immediately.
For example, after a lacklustre first half display from the Gunners at Newcastle, the introduction of Torreira acted as a catalyst for victory. He stayed much closer to midfield partner Granit Xhaka than Matteo Guendouzi had, making life difficult for opposing attackers.
The duo foiled attack after attack in that second half, collecting two tackles and three interceptions along the way. While Newcastle did eventually breach the Arsenal defence, the diminutive Uruguayan was not to blame.
More recently, in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Vorskla, Torreira helped keep a clean sheet during his 57 minutes on the pitch, with the two opposition goals coming late. The midfielder also contributed offensively, with two key passes and an 86.9% pass accuracy rate.
Perhaps his most convincing defensive display came against Cardiff City in the league; Lucas Torreira made three tackles and three recoveries in 45 minutes then.
Clearly, when it is time for Torreira, Arsenal’s defence improves noticeably.
Lucas Torreira gained a reputation for being solid, if unspectacular at times in Sampdoria. However, it is clear already that the midfielder can produce magic sometimes.
A good example is his display against Cardiff. On that day, Torreira completed all 26 of his attempted passes, including the key pass to Alexandre Lacazette to set up the winner.
While this is the midfielder’s only assist of the season to date, his key pass rate is impressive. In 254 minutes in all competitions this season, the Uruguayan has made four key passes, for an average of one key pass every 63.5 minutes played.
This is marginally better than Granit Xhaka’s rate of one key pass every 64.3 minutes played. Torreira’s 90.8% pass accuracy rate also bests Xhaka’s 84.8% in the Premier League.
When it is time for Torreira, special things can happen.
Good for Granit
Speaking of Granit Xhaka, Torreira may be the best candidate for his midfield partner. While Matteo Guendouzi has impressed, he has been susceptible to errors, as is common with teenage footballers.
For example, Guendouzi gives the ball away and shows poor ball control more times on average than either Torreira or Xhaka. He is also the only one of the three who has yet to register an assist in the league; this is despite playing almost 200 more minutes than Lucas Torreira.
Additionally, Xhaka and Torreira have complementary abilities. For example, the Swiss is better at completing long passes than the Uruguayan with an average of 5.4 per match compared to just one.
As mentioned earlier, Torreira does have a better pass accuracy rate. These two pieces of information mean one thing; Xhaka prefers riskier long passes while Torreira is tidy in possession and prefers short safer passes.
This allows Arsenal to attack in multiple ways; instead of relying on long balls to create chances, they can also try to build slowly with short, intricate passes.
As mentioned before, Lucas Torreira is also more disciplined with his positioning than Guendouzi, making the midfield more secure when the Uruguayan plays.
It is time for Emery to listen to the fans when they say it is time for Torreira.
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