With the arrival of new midfielder from Sampdoria in summer of 2018, every Arsenal fan had high hopes on newcomer Lucas Torreira. Known for his defensive attributes, the Uruguayan international is the one who everyone wanted in the starting line up since day one of the of the Premier League. Arsenal fans are yet to see him start for them and will like to see Xhaka and Torreira pivot in the midfield.
Waking up after yesterday's result like… ? pic.twitter.com/VQCFaNXYkV
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 16, 2018
Torreira has came off from the bench for Arsenal and in all 5 premier league games. However, it is evident that Lucas brought something different to Arsenal’s play. Most importantly, he brings out the best from his midfield partner Granit Xhaka who has been inconsistent with his performances and faced a lot of criticism.
Here are 3 reasons why Xhaka and Torreira should be played together in a midfield pivot :
1. Forward Passes
Duo of Xhaka and Torreira tend to provide more forward passes while playing together. With Guendouzi in the midfield alongside Xhaka, they tend to make short passes within the midfield, defense and sometimes Petr Cech who then struggles to spread out the ball as he is left with a little time to decide what to do in thats situation. We haven’t concede in that fashion yet, but against a team who presses high, this might be a problem and we may end up conceding an unwanted goal.
Xhaka might well be the most important player in the squad. Outstanding performance when he doesn’t have to worry about defensive duties, Torreira complements him extremely well. Mesut and Bellerin superb. Lacazette really good, right now our best striker.
— Spanish Gooner (@elspanishgooner) September 15, 2018
Last night’s away game against Newcastle United somewhat proves why Xhaka and Torreira should start more often. Torreira completed 31 passes after coming on in second half out of which 21 passes were targeted forward. It is no surprise that Xhaka got indulged in moving the play forward more in second half which pressurized the opponents and Arsenal ended up winning the game 2-1 which is their consecutive 3rd consecutive premier league win under the new manager Unai Emery.
2. Defensive Stability
It is quite visible that Arsenal struggles in midfield in high pressure games, though Unai Emery likes pressing game which forces to improve their work rate and run around the pitch for the ball. Even the defense needs the cover from midfield to handle the pressure. Especially on the right hand side where Hector Bellerin often seems to be out of position, Torreira has been seen covering up for him quite a times in these games.
With Lucas Torreira:
– Score a goal every 33 minutes.
– Concede a goal every 82 minutes.
Without Lucas Torreira:
– Score a goal every 57 minutes.
– Concede a goal every 41 minutes.
— now.arsenal (@nowarsenaI) September 16, 2018
While Torreira supports right hand side more often, Xhaka plays his role through the middle and on the left to an extent. Introduction of Torreira in second half in last 3 matches has given a new dimension to Arsenal midfield, Arsenal conceded just one goal with Xhaka and Torreira playing together. However, a question arises that when are we going to see them start a game together.
3. Team Composure
It is a visible fact that when Xhaka and Torreira play together, the team looks well composed in all departments apart from some individual mistakes.(Mustafi slip which was well dealt with by Sokratis.)
Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal thoughts:
– Lucas Torreira must start every match
– Xhaka and Torreira are our best mid duo
– Still scary for the fans when Cech’s looking to make a short pass
– Ramsey don’t know season’s started
– Couldn’t be more happy for Ozil’s goal #afc
— Lacazettes (@Lacazettes) September 15, 2018
Team plays with more confidence which works well for the new manager when Xhaka and Torreira are together on the pitch. This confidence brings out more attacks and forward runs which creates more opportunities. Welbeck’s 3rd goal vs West Ham, Lacazette’s winner against Cardiff city and 2 goals against Newcastle United on Saturday shows that impact of team confidence with Xhaka and Torreira pivot in midfield.
Lastly, everyone would agree that Xhaka and Torreira covers the defensive part, allowing Xhaka to turns into his usual self when he has the Uruguayan playing alongside. This shelled out well against Newcastle where he scored his score first goal of the season direct from the deadball.(Feels good hearing this, right?)
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) September 15, 2018
This Xhaka and Torreira pivot is working completely fine for Arsenal and long it may continue. It is upto the gaffer now, depends on how he uses xhaka and torreira together till then the question will stay whether the fans will see them both starting together side by side.