Lucas Torreira proves Arsenal manager Unai Emery wrong with superb defensive midfield display for Uruguay

Unai Emery has been keen to play Torreira further forward for Arsenal (AMA/Getty Images)

Lucas Torreira sent a reminder to Unai Emery about his best position as the Arsenal midfielder impressed during Uruguay’s friendly with Argentina on Monday evening.

The 23-year-old has been the source of frustration for many Arsenal supporters this season with Unai Emery opting to play the Uruguayan in a more advanced role on several occasions with little success.

Despite struggling in his cameos as a No.10 against Manchester United and Vitoria, there’s been little to suggest that Emery will rethink his approach as the Arsenal manager has spoken to Torreira about making more runs into the box with the aim of increasing his return in front of goal.

Emery’s decision has left many at Arsenal puzzled as the Uruguayan arrived from Sampdoria as a defensive midfielder and was seen as the answer to the problems Arsene Wenger failed to address during his end of his reign.

Unai Emery has been keen to play Torreira further forward for Arsenal (AMA/Getty Images)

But Torreira’s defensive ability does not appear to be enough to convince Emery as the Uruguayan has started just four of Arsenal’s 12 Premier League matches this term.

However, Torreira strengthened his case with an excellent display in Uruguay’s 2-2 draw with Argentina in Israel.

Playing in the deepest role of Uruguay’s midfield three, Torreira snapped into tackles and screened his defence with energy against the threat of Lionel Messi.

Despite his lack of playing time this season, Torreira showed no signs of rustiness as his positional awareness often put him in the best place to stop Argentina’s attacks, while his simple distribution was exactly what Uruguay needed to build their own moves going forward.

In Emery’s defence, Torreira did show one quality every No.10 should possess in their armoury as his deft clipped ball over the top of Argentina’s defence found Luis Suarez and the Barcelona forward squared the ball across first time to Edinson Cavani who put Uruguay in front.

But the overriding point is that Torreira delivered a defensive display that has not been replicated by any other Arsenal midfielder this season.

Last week, Arsenal were fired a warning by Torreira’s agent Pablo Bentancur who claimed that Emery’s decision to play the Uruguayan in a more advanced role has not been well received.

‘Torreira is happy at Arsenal, although the change in role has not made him happy,’ Bentancur said.

With Granit Xhaka reportedly looking to leave Arsenal in January following his clash with supporters, the risk of alienating Torreira is another problem Emery could do without as his side chase down a top-four finish.

And following Torreira’s latest performance at the heart of Uruguay’s midfield, Emery might be tempted to abandon his experiment altogether.


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