Arsene Wenger might have encouraged some of the world’s most aesthetically pleasing football.
But the lasting memory of the second half of his tenure will be all about his failure to install any steel to go with the midfield artistry.
Within months of taking the reigns, Unai Emery might have found the man to do the dirty work while the creatives do their thing.
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Lucas Torreira has been a revelation in Emery’s system this season as the defensive foil partnering and protecting Granit Xhaka when he decides to do something ridiculous.
After a brief experiment with 19-year-old Mateo Guendouzi at the beginning of the season Emery realised that maybe his £25m international midfield rottweiler might be the answer.
And he has been resoundingly proved right.
Arsenal can rest easy knowing they finally have a CDM that they can rely and one that will allow the four attackers on the pitch to thrive without worrying about getting stung if they lose the ball.
Against Spurs in the North London derby Torreira played like a man possessed and much like N’Golo Kante has been directed to do this season, he capped his performance with a brilliant goal.
He provided the bite in midfield the Gunners have been lacking for so long.
In one moment he battled Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen for the ball near the Arsenal area, making at least three separate tackles in a two-second spell, one of which was while he was flat on his front.
And his stats from the game backed up his man of the match display.
He had 68 touches, completed 43/48 passes, gained possession a whopping 12 times and chipped with three shots and a goal.
The beauty of Torreira is that for a position where his main responsibility is tackling, harrying and generally getting physical with the opponent, he is usually by far and away the smallest player on the pitch.
At 5ft6in you would be forgiven for thinking Arsenal had let an actual schoolboy onto the pitch.
In proving size truly doesn’t matter it is Torreira’s positioning and tenacity that have filled Arsenal fans with the hope they might never have to see another Emmanuel Frimpong, Francis Coquelin or Mohamed Elneny darken their team-sheet.
Arsenal really are beginning to flourish under Emery, 19 games unbeaten and this result has seen them leapfrog Spurs into fourth in the table.
The combination of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, hereafter referred to as LacaBang™, is beginning to devastate teams just ask any of the Fulham defenders.
Auba on the left and Lacazette through the middle should strike fear into any defence.
Speed, style and goals galore – maybe the WOB were right all along…
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