Torreira, the hero we’ve been waiting for

by & filed under News Review.

As expected, Arsenal didn’t have fun when Huddersfield came to town on Saturday for a rare 3 o’clock kickoff. David Wagner’s side were the metaphorical come down are a heavy session of hippie crack, factored in with the natural fatigue that occurs after an intense run of games (physical/mental) and you start to see that those three points were amongst the most important or our mini-marathon run.

The goal took a while to arrive and things really did look desperate towards the end of the game. The moment of magic was sparked from a speculative ball into the box from Matty G, Auba did an excellent job of tracing the flight, bringing the ball down, turning and finding Torreira. Our mini-man mountain pulled off a perfect scissor kick from 6 yards to make the breakthrough. Absolute elation in the stands.

The challenge before the goal was that Huddersfield flex at us in dogged fashion, clearly sensing we’d be tired. Their pressing strategy was obviously Klopp-esque. They didn’t give us a moment to breathe, they shut down passing avenues and they were very, very compact at the back.

That’s not to say we didn’t have chances. Auba and Lacazette spurned extremely good openings within minutes of each other in the first half. Jonas Lössl somehow managed to palm away a Torreira screamer that was destined for the top corner. The rookie referee also conspired with the linesman to disallow a Lacazette tap in because they wrongly assumed he was interring with play, despite play moving into the second phase.

It was also tough going on the players bodies. Firstly, we lost Mustafi to a hamstring injury, which is a real worry. We’re now relying on a 30-year-old Sokratis, 33-year-old Koscielny and the injury-prone 32-year-old Monreal. Unless of course Mavrapanos really is an option for us when he returns shortly. The players were also booted from pillar to post. Again, worth noting that our boys were fizzing back with the challenges. Arsenal really aren’t rattled by bully boy tactics these days, but it still makes for an uncomfortable afternoon.

Emery also leant into his favourite strategy, and made 2 changes at halftime. He brought on Mikhi and Iwobi for the booked Lichtsteiner and Lacazette. I guess the thinking was that we lacked width. The game changed pretty sharply after that. Huddersfield were rattled and struggled to control the game.

That said, it’s clear we’re going to need an upgrade in the wide departments of our side. Iwobi was frustrating to watch, his first touch was heavy and he made some very poor decisions. Marginally less so for Mikhi, but the Armenian just doesn’t seem capable of making the big game impact you’d expect from someone so expensive, with that much experience.

We made more attempts at their goal in the second half, clocking in 9 (up from 5). However, we didn’t really fuss their keeper, only registering 2 shots on target all game. Kind of pitiful when you think about it.

On the face of it, it’s hard not to feel extremely relieved. We kept our unbeaten run going, we’re now at 21. That’s magic. It really is. We showed a huge amount of grit to bring that result home. I don’t mean to keep comparing to seasons past, but that’s the sort of game that often hasn’t gone our way because we’ve either succumbed to the aggression or felt sorry for ourselves and capitulated.

There were positives, Matty G had another very good game along with Torreira. The young Frenchman was our main threat from an attacking perspective, he created 5 chances, had the assist to the assist for the goal and clocked an impressive 16 passes in the final third.

Xhaka also had a very strong game. Sure, he made some wayward passed, but his positioning at the base of midfield really helped snuff out counterattacks and heavy touches from Huddersfield players. He made 10 ball recoveries, 5 tackles and topped the charts for most completed passes (65), most clearances (6) and most headed clearances (4). You can’t knock that sort of impact on a really terrible game.

The big shout out goes to Torreira. He’s had such a huge impact on our team. He’s extremely focused on delivering his defensive duties, but it’s hard not to notice how good he is moving the ball forward. He’s always thinking about the most positive pass, he’s increasingly finding himself in good attacking positions and he created 2 chances of his own yesterday. He’s also our most fouled player. Which represents maybe his size, but if I were to think more sinister in nature, maybe it reflects how important other teams see him to our play. Break the little man, break Arsenal?

The great news for the team is we now have a week off. The home game against Qarabag should be an U23 team (non-senior). The players should be resting up hard all week so they explode out the traps and give Hassenhutl a rude awakening as he looks to reshape the dreadful mess Mark Hughes left the club in.

Not that our run gets much better after that. We have to play Spurs 3 days later in the League Cup, Burnley at home 4 days later, Brighton 4 days later, Liverpool 3 days later, then Fulham 4 days later, followed by Fulham 3 days after that. What a shit show of fixtures!

There was also good news elsewhere, Manchester City succumbed to the smarts of Sarri. That’s made things a little tighter at the top, which is exciting for everyone. 8 points now split 5th and 1st. I mean, we’re not going to win the league, but it’s great to still be realistically in the mix in the month of December.

Right, onwards and upwards!

186 Responses to “Torreira, the hero we’ve been waiting for”

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  1. Jamie

    Iwobi is decent enough as a squad player for EL and cup games, but if we get back into the CL, his days with us are numbered unless he shows significant improvement.

    He’s the least of our problems. Our defensive situation is looking pretty critical at the moment, so that needs to be addressed first. Then a winger, then a CM (in that order, imo).

  2. Dissenter

    *There are more pressing needs that to spend money on a proper wide player to start games and then spend money on a back-up wide player.

  3. Joe

    Do we sell every player who has a spate of bad games

    Haha

    3 years is a spate of bad games??

    What’s with your man crush if Iwobi. He’s not good enough. It’s simple to see. Neither is elneny. Jenks. Wilshere wasn’t either and got shown the door. Same with wellbeck.

    Emery getting rid of the dross. Iwobi should be next. He’s a Newcastle level player.

    What’s he done to warrant a place on arsenal squad?

  4. Dissenter

    We desperately need central defenders and wing backs
    Koshciely is on his last legs, Holden has a long term injury and Mustafi is still Mustafi.
    We need a creative midfielder because Ozil is Ozil…many more back spasms to come.
    We need a central midfielder that’s box to box like Ramsey
    We need a wide man

    Iwobi staying on as a squad player is the least of our problems.

  5. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Joe

    I like your views on most things, but I like iwobi. I feel there is a good player in there ready to burst… could be wrong but I fell with good younger players around him he would talke the mantle of experience on…

  6. Dissenter

    Joe
    You’ve not addressed the point I made about what order of priority do you place replacing Iwobi on.
    We have too many problems in the squad to even be talking about replacing an academy player who’s on small money. A player who’s not going to give a whimper if he’s languishing on the bench.
    You do understand that a limited budget means we can’t approach the squad like you do on football manager, right?

  7. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    People are off their trombone if they think we are selling ozil …

    He will be given away. To forefit any loan deal to keep us keep paying his wages or part of…

    I say keep the fucker TIL the summer

  8. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Pedro

    You gonna do us a 12 days of Christmas countdown,,,

    Guest post or celebrity post…

    Christmas giveaways,… etc…agency chuck outs…
    C’mon lad get on board ….

  9. Dissenter

    Joe
    Very well…I agree with some if the choices.
    If we were City with Guardiola, I would say that just spend £400 million and buy the best players in all those positions…send Iwobi to the North Pole for all I care
    However we don’t have the money to buy top players on market players for all those four positions you mentioned in one go. We may haver to wait for several windows to make it happen.
    …and you’re being uncharitable with the facts. Iwobi had a good start this season which has sputtered to a grind.
    Emery doesn’t share your views because he still plays his ahead of Mykhi even though the latter has more experience.

  10. Marko

    ESR is 2-3 seasons behind Iwobi, that’s obvious to anyone who doesn’t have an agenda.
    What ESR needs is a loan move to a club where he can get senior games week in-week out.

    Dunno about 2-3 seasons behind. Also iwobi never had a loan

  11. Joe

    Dissenter.

    We just need to find Torriera style signings for wingers and AM

    The CB should have some money spent on him. Although they’ve done well with Sokratis.

    We don’t need to spend 100m
    On every player.

    Iwobi has had 2-3 good matches all season. That’s it.

    He has no choice but to play Iwobi and mkhit because Wenger fucked the squad up so bad.

  12. Graham62

    Pierre

    What is with you and the word ” hate”?

    Just because someone is against something or someone doesn’t necessarily translate to hatred.

    I don’t hate Ozil, as I didn’t hate Wenger. My POV is based on 5 years of inconsistent and, for the most part, disappointing displays by a player that could and should have done far better.

    Of course, you may be right, he may have an injury. My own perceptions though tend to lean towards psychological issues, which I think have been the major cause of all his problems these past few seasons, both on and off the field of play.

    The fact he was given such a lucrative contract based on all these issues, just beggars belief. If he showed desire and commitment in games consistently, fans would back him and be on his side. He doesn’t though and based on these past few weeks, it seems he is not prepared to change his ways.

    If he does return and he manages to excel for the team, then Emery’s methods would have proven to be correct. On his day, he is a wonderful player to watch but unless he gets his mind right, then I’m afraid those days are going to be a distant memory for all of us.

  13. Dissenter

    Marko
    ” iwobi never had a loan”

    He should have had a loan.
    There’s no substitute for playing senior games regularly. The U-23 games don’t cut it.
    Reiss Nelson is already better already.

  14. Radman

    Hi Pete, I’d like you to add your perspective to the Raheem Sterling issue (racisl abuse) which was also experienced by Aubameyang in the game against Tottenham. You touched heavily on the Ozil issue during the post world cup period when he received, and I made comments that the criticism received by Ozil was as a result of the fact that he was different, and that it would’ve have planned out different if he were British/caucasion. I think some of these things are sad in today’s sport but I must agree with sterling and say that the media plays a vital role in shaping the way their audiences view people of different races.

  15. Pierre

    Graham
    Sorry to have to tell you this but the majority of fans still back ozil, if you don’t believe me then if/ when he is back in the side you will see how the majority of the Emirates crowd react to him and have always reacted to him because they know he is quality .

    If Emery doesn’t rate him then so be it .. That’s what being a manager is all about making decisions …if that is the case then Emery should be honest enough to say it and then Ozil can move on and find a manager who appreciates what he brings to the table.

  16. Joe

    Pierre

    What manager ever says he doesn’t want a player. That’s gives the buying team all the power

    Fuck me you say some stupid things

  17. Marc

    Joe

    We should really feel sorry for Pierre. He’s just some senile OC who likes Wenger because he can’t do his jacket up either. Euthanasia would be kinder.

  18. TonyD

    ES
    Many of us Ex Pats are fortunate to see every PL game live as well as all the main European leagues (mostly live)

    Granted we don’t see what goes on off camera, but we do get plenty of replays on and off the ball you don’t get to see.

    I would imagine BEIN Sports and similar also have their own mobile studios at games for editing or can edit from their own studios.

    Equally we can record al the games.

    Your perspective is also for home games only so you might want to rethink your post regarding your partial season live view of games.

  19. Mysticleaves

    “What manager ever says he doesn’t want a player. That’s gives the buying team all the power”

    Emery on Wilshere, Ramsey and basically Ozil. When a coach pulls a team’s ‘best player’s citing physicality and intensity against one of the lesser physical and intense teams then you know he’s not wanted.

    For Ozils sake I hope you leaves this January. For Arsenal’s sake I hope we make 25m and replace him with who the manager fancies

  20. Goobergooner

    Ozil is a little bitch. Even if he is injured, he’s still not what Emery wants in his side.

    Why are people so defensive of a bloke who does shit all and earns more than what half of le Grove’s commenters earn combined in one week? (Very much over exaggerating, and not to belittle the great folk of this blog).

    We need someone who is not just creative, but who isn’t a pussy and can get stuck in. Someone who actually gives 100% every match.

    Is it really that hard to understand why so many want him gone?

    And yeah it has a lot to do with his wage, as his wage could pay for 3 quality players in our squad who actually play for the team and he’s also a spoilt brat.

    Apart from that I wouldn’t care if he actually properly earned what we pay him.

  21. Graham62

    Pierre

    Not disputing that. I think when any player puts on the Arsenal shirt all fans want them to do well.

    Slating a player publicly is the domain of only one manager, Mr Jose Mourinho. Emery is dealing with things professionally and, from a managers perspective, correctly. It was our predecessor who continually failed in these duties(ie Keeping Ozil in the team when clearly he was a liability).

    I get it, you love Ozil. Infact, we all would love him if he could act and play to the expected level. My critical analysis is based on what he brings to the team and, as it stands, he doesn’t bring enough.

  22. ddkingz

    I’d always thought why many commenters here were going harsh on pieere, but from your last comment, I actually realize you know nothing about the game… .

    So I wouldn’t take your comments seriously from now on….

  23. Bob N16

    I think you’re right Graham. Ozil gets the support of the crowd as do any player wearing the shirt. When he’s on his game, he’s sublime. He simply isn’t consistent enough and is therefore unreliable. His languid style hides the facts that he covers enough ground, he just isn’t as influential as his talent should make him.

    It was always going to be a case of Emery finding out who could perform/adapt to his way of playing; some have responded others, like Ramsay and Ozil have been identified as expensive square pegs in round holes.

    We shouldn’t be surprised that the squad was going to be systematically overhauled at a pace that made sense. They’ll both be gone this summer.

  24. ddkingz

    The only way to convince anyone about ozil….. Is if man city and pep would be willing to swap David Silva for ozil????

    If not no way…..

    Ozil is more stylish than Silva…. but Silva has more swagger on the ball

    Ozil is ozil…. but Silva drops goals and assist when needed, even in derbies…

    Ozil is ozil…. But Silva controls the game, can take on players anytime, can make a quick turn to take on a player, and Silva is faster and better in counter attack…

  25. ddkingz

    Some clown on an arsenal blog saying ozil has won the World Cup…..

    Giroud is a strikerless World Cup winner without goals….

    Silva is a back to back European champion, and a better creative player than ozil…..

    If ozil gets dished out of a team ahead of Di Maria…. Then what can I say.. .

  26. Globalgunner

    Why would City want to swap Silva a totally effective one for Ozil a partially effective occasional player. No sane club would do that except Arsenal under Wenger with the Sanchez/ Mikhi deal. Say what you want but Sanchez kept us in the top 6 single handedly for 2 seasons. Without his goals we wouldn’t even have made EL the last 2 years he was here.

    As for Iwobi . I don’t understand some fans. Would you want an average doctor operating on you, or an average engineer building your bridges. But it is entirely ok for an bang average klutz to be drinking up the place for seasons on end because of sentiments. Average players only guarantee average results.