Lucas Torreira: Unai Emery’s Gem

Lucas Torreira

Lucas Torreria exploded onto the scene in Italy’s top flight last season. As a hot commodity, he was rumoured to be under Napoli’s radar. Torreria, however, opted for a new challenge and joined Arsenal to take part in the club’s new era under manager Unai Emery. After solid showings in the World Cup for Uruguay, the world became aware of the potential the youngster possesses.

Unai Emery’s Gem: Lucas Torreira

Torreira’s Fit With Emery’s Style

Torreria has the ideal traits to succeed under Emery’s tactical preferences. First off, he is a tenacious defender and will track back no matter the circumstance. In Italy he earned the nickname of ‘the pitbull’, and it’s quite clear as to why.

In five World Cup appearances where he featured as a starter and off the bench, he averaged 1.2 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, and 1.6 clearances per game. The midfielder only played 20 minutes in Arsenal’s opening match versus Manchester City, but recorded two interceptions and showed fearlessness and plenty of energy. Torreria prides himself in winning the ball back and starting forward movements in his own half. Emery’s style involves heavy pressing in hopes of starting quick counter-attacks, which can be most clearly seen in his successful Europa League campaigns with Sevilla. Torreira is only 22 and already excels at this.

Emery tends to stick to two different formations – a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3. Torreria would feature as the more defensive-minded midfielder in either. His defensive reliability should complement players such as Mattéo Guendouzi and Aaron Ramsey well, as it would allow them to shift to the final third and help supply the talented striking tandem of Pierre-Emerick Aubamey and Alexandre Lacazette.

Attacking Contribution

As defensively sharp as Torreira is, he can also contribute on the attacking end. His passing accuracy rate is above-average, and he has the ability to fire powerful shots from range. He’s also been known to be a set-piece threat, but Mesut Özil will likely handle those duties for the Gunners. Torreira also prefers playing quick and short passes, something Arsenal players did quite well under Arsène Wenger.

Main Weakness

The biggest knock on Torreira, however, will always be his height. He stands at 1.6 metres, or 5’5″. This, of course, means he struggles in aerial duels. Although this will most definitely let him down at times, others such as N’golo Kanté have proved to be very successful while being in the same position. After over 100 combined appearances in Italy’s Serie B and Serie A to date, Torreira is already aware of this and how to mask the issue.

The Last Word

It’s only a matter of time until Torreira takes Granit Xhaka’s place in Arsenal’s starting 11. Xhaka has shone at times, but he remains too mistake prone and his tendency to commit many fouls never helped Arsenal’s cause. Emery has proved to be a winner in La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Europa League, but to do this he must have his preferred style and players in place. Torriera fits the mould in Emery’s pressing scheme and should star for Arsenal for years to come.

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