Is it time for Lucas Torreira after Granit Xhaka's inconsistent start to the season?

Is it time for Lucas Torreira after Granit Xhaka's inconsistent start to the season?

The Uruguayan international is yet to start a league match under Unai Emery.

TJ Wedderburn

Following a stellar season at Sampdoria, Lucas Torreira was snapped up by Arsenal during the summer transfer window.

The 22-year-old rounded off an impressive campaign in Serie A with an encouraging showing for Uruguay in the World Cup

However, Torreira has not started either of Arsenal's opening league games, which begs the question, is it time for Torreira? 

Xhaka's struggles

Granit Xhaka, a player who divides opinion amongst Arsenal supporters, has started in all three of Arsenal's league games so far - delivering less than impressive performances.

The Swiss midfielder's standout attribute is his passing range. His ability to accurately pass the ball from deep positions can often be a useful weapon for his side. But a lot has been made of his susceptibility to high pressing teams, with many pointing to his lack of mobility to retain the ball under pressure. There are also question marks over his disciplinary record. 

This has indeed been the case against both Manchester City and Chelsea, Xhaka struggled to control the tempo of both games and turned over possession in key areas. Leading him to make two late challenges in particular which lead to yellow cards.

When he isn't allowed the time and space to pick out his teammates, Xhaka can often be quite error-prone.

In his defence, Chelsea and Man City are two top quality teams whom many a midfielder would struggle to have an impact against. But the current failings in Xhaka's game have been a concern since day one, and the 25-year-old will have done very little to change the minds of his doubters.

Time for Torreira?

Torreira's style of play is almost a complete opposite to that of Xhaka's. Torreira arguably does his best work off the ball, hassling the opposition by tirelessly closing them down whilst making timely interceptions.

With that said, he's still very handy on the ball and had a passing success rate of 87% last season with Sampdoria.

Torreira linked up with the Arsenal squad late for pre-season, due to his World Cup commitments. This could explain his exclusion in the starting eleven for the Man City match, but in the build-up to the London derby against Chelsea, Arsenal manager Unai Emery claimed he was fine to start.

The Spaniard must have his reasons as to why Torreira hasn't been involved from the start in any of the Gunners' league games, but perhaps the form of Xhaka has given him food for thought. Despite offering different qualities than Xhaka, Torreira could be an ideal fit for the Arsenal midfield. 

Having conceded six goals in their opening three fixtures, Torreira's services may be required sooner rather than later.

His ability to protect Arsenal's back four may see them become more compact as a unit and harder to break down.

It's early days, but it's fair to say the introduction of Torreira could see an upturn in the North Londoners' fortunes as their next run of games become easier. 


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