Opinion: Two areas Lucas Torreira has to take under control
Co-Expert of Pain in the Arsenal, Andrew Dowdeswell writes on the point
"There were some worrying signs throughout the first half of their 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Wednesday night. Broadly, and a little loosely, their problems that surfaced in a failure to create chances in the final third, an invitation of pressure in their own defensive third, and allowing Chelsea to carve through their ranks, stemmed from two major underlying shortcomings: an inability to play through the high press; an inability to provide cover and protection for the backline in midfield areas.
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"Thankfully, this was just a preseason game. Of the three central midfielders who started the game, two have never made a competitive appearance for the club, none have ever been regular starters for Arsenal, and it is easily plausible that none will be starting come to the start of the season. But the warning signs were still present, and change will still need to be enacted.
"Good news, then, that Arsenal will be welcoming a new midfielder into the fray. The £26 million signing of Lucas Torreira is perhaps the most astute piece of business that Sven Mislintat enacted this summer. A scrappy, athletic 22-year-old defensive midfielder with the technical qualities to influence the game both in and out of possession? Sounds perfect.
"And judging by the pressure that Chelsea were able to put their rivals under on Wednesday night, Torreira will need to be spectacular at both his shielding of the defence and his progression of play through accurate, advancing passing.
"From watching him play for Sampdoria last season and Uruguay in the World Cup, it seems as if he has the capabilities to provide both of these midfield influences. He has the skill set to be able to do so: the intelligence on the ball, the spatial awareness when defending, excellent vision and reading of the game, short-area quickness, good agility and balance, commitment in challenges, sound and consistent technique on the ball.
"But that does not mean that it will necessarily translate. Arsenal alone have signed enough players in the past with the skill set to excel only to discover that they cannot reproduce when they arrive. If the same happens with Torreira, then this central midfield trio could be a huge detriment of this team, infecting each and every element of the other areas of the pitch.
"Does that mean Torreira will flop? Absolutely not. We’ll just have to wait and see. But judging by their performance in the first half against Chelsea, Arsenal need him to be good. Very good."