Lucas Torreira has been a revelation for Arsenal. He has impressed in every appearance he has made and was a central figure in the Gunners’ victory at Newcastle. Thus far, however, Torreira has only been used as a substitute. This appears to be in the past, though, as Unai Emery is expected to start the Uruguayan in round one of the Europa League at home to FC Vorskla Poltava.
Emery explained early on that he wanted to give Torreira time to adjust to his new surroundings and teammates before fully integrating the midfielder in to the squad. In his limited playing time, he has proven he is ready to take the next step.
Torreira came on as a second half sub last weekend at St. James Park. His introduction had an immediate impact on what had been a rather drab match. Former Newcastle star and current Match of the Day commentator Alan Shearer took notice. He stated, “Torreira came on and he changed the game, he came on and bossed the midfield, his first thought was ‘can I go forward, can I get it into the centre-forward’. They get that free-kick and they score from it.”
Shearer was referring to Arsenal’s opening goal which came from a perfectly placed Granit Xhaka free kick. It was a pass from Torreira that found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang near the box which led to Xhaka’s strike.
It’s been ages since Arsenal had a truly defensive minded midfielder protecting the back line while looking to move the ball forward. Patrick Vieira was one of the best and for years fans have been screaming for a player of this type.
Physically Torreira is a far cry from Vieira. However, in terms of play there are many similarities. The Uruguayan has the uncanny ability to win the ball back and disrupt the opposition’s attack. He had the best defensive stats of any under 21 player during the 2016-2017 Serie A season. He made 87 interceptions and 72 tackles.
It looks like Lucas Torreira time has arrived.