Arsenal after having an initial losses at the beginning games are now having a dream run by remaining unbeaten for 14 games straight. We were looking at a defense in shambles, midfield anarchy, clueless goalkeeping, hopeless forwards when we faced Manchester City and Chelsea in opening games but Unai Emery has finally got what he had hoped for in the midfield. Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira were the key pegs while holding out unbeaten Liverpool to a draw at the Emirates in latest Premier League fixture.
I love the Xhaka-Torreira partnership. At the beginning of the season I wanted Guendouzi and Torreira to start. But now I can see why Emery chose Xhaka and Torreira. It's a very balanced duo. They complement each other perfectly. pic.twitter.com/fJEL2LgfKU
— ArsenalArena (@ArsenalArena) November 4, 2018
The Uruguayan Torreira wouldn’t have been in the line up, hadn’t Matteo Guendouzi got a red card while facing Blackpool in the Carabao Cup earlier this week. Statistically, in the 4-2-3-1 formation under Emery, Guendouzi and Xhaka started in 4 matches of the Premier League, all were the initial games.
Torreira and Xhaka opened in the other 4, all being in the latter fixtures. A lonewolf game was the Crystal Palace fixture in which Torreira and Guendouzi made the cut. Torreira won the Player of the Match award against Liverpool for his impressive pressing off against the Liverpool attack, intensive running in the midfield amid giving Xhaka a free hand in wreaking havoc.
The Spanish boss Emery was impressed with this dream midfield duo and said,
“I think we are getting the balance in intensity, [Against Liverpool] we need to push a lot and I think when the supporters are enjoying with the players, I think also the players give their all in their performance and their desire.”
“It’s very important for our balance that we have two midfielders like Xhaka and Torreira because the balance in midfield is also important for the balance in defence and our balance offensively.”
– Emery on Xhaka and Torreira midfield impression
Clearly the Gunners have found their answer to the enigma in the midfield by placing the mutually complimenting Xhaka and Torreira. Both the players share insane chemistry both off field and on field, according to Xhaka.
“Every game is better and better. He [Torreira] is so important. He knows when to go and when to stay. He brings good balance between offence and defence.”
– Xhaka on his chemistry with Torreira
The game had some interesting high points for both the midfielders.
Torreira’s clinical sliding tackle on Mohammad Salah reminded Gooners of his presence as a defensive midfielder in dissecting full on attacks.
Xhaka was playing a like a man with possession in the first 45 minutes and arguably the best 45 minutes in his career. Had the most number of successful tackles and complete passes than anybody else on the field.
— Gunners.com (@Gunnersc0m) November 4, 2018
The Swiss international is often misunderstood and is the go to scapegoat for Gooners but under Emery and with Torreira he seems to finally have found his mojo. Emery seems to enjoy the little developments his boys seem to make every match. the Spanish boss celebrated Xhaka’s tackle of Salah as if it were a goal.
This is what he had to say,
“The football is 90 minutes, there are a lot of things that happen and when you score it’s the best, and most important moment in the game,”
“But I also enjoy the small details, individual actions defensively, and offensively.”
Though title contention is perhaps a dream for the next season, finishing in the top 4 and winning a ticket to Champions League could be a piece of cake with these gentlemen the helm.