Must resist mentioning Frey Bentos. Must resist mentioning Frey Bentos. Must resist mentioning Frey Bentos.
I realise by mentioning Frey Bentos I’ve already surrendered to the inevitable.
Because it seems nearly impossible for anyone to discuss Lucas Torreira without acknowledging his birth place is essentially named after the tinned processed meat.
Fittingly Torreira is an appetising small package himself proving size really doesn’t always matter after all.
Like Arsenal, the tenacious Uruguayan took time to get going this season, withheld by Unai Emery in the opening months as he acclimatised to his new surroundings.
But since nailing down a starting berth the Gunners have never looked back.
Torreira of course is still yet to taste defeat in a game he’s started from the off since his £25m move from Sampdoria in the summer.
And he has more than a bit of the N’Golo Kantes about him.
Short, snappy defensive midfielders are in vogue at the moment, combining a low centre of gravity with the ability to move the ball quickly.
Contrast that with the laboured figure of Fabinho – his opposite number against Liverpool on Saturday – who looked like a fish out of water amid the frenetic ferocity around him.
Arsenal have scored 16 goals and conceded just five in the six league games Torreira has started.
He’s the perfect linkman between their more than flimsy defence and their bristling attack.
Just like with Kante, you can see the impact Torreira is having on those around him too.
Granit Xhaka is playing like a man possessed, proving perhaps those Emmanuel Petit comparisons ambitiously laid out by Arsene Wenger might not be so far-fetched after all.
Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi are finally getting the protection they need, exposed less and less by every passing week.
The man dubbed the ‘Mighty Insect’ was already fast becoming an Arsenal cult hero before his Man of the Match display against Liverpool, but one moment during the game endeared himself even more to the Emirates faithful.
Faced with the unenviable task of stopping Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, Torreira dispossessed both within the same sequence in textbook Kante style.
It was the kind of bullishness Arsenal have sorely lacked in midfield for many years, with a perpetual spinelessness so prevalent in Arsene Wenger’s final years at the club.
Gone are the days of shoehorning Jack Wilshere into a defensive-minded player. Gone are the days of forcing Aaron Ramsey to track back.
Arsenal’s midfield is the most balanced its been in seasons and the biggest difference has been made by the smallest man on the team.
- Lucas Torreira’s importance to Arsenal summed up in incredible 16-second cameo
- Remembering Thierry Henry’s first season as Arsenal manager
- Maurizio Sarri is preparing N’Golo Kante for the exact same role as Allan at Napoli