Morning fellow Gooners. It’s been a bank holiday week in the UK which means the week is one day less. So why the frig does it feel like I’ve already done a day longer than normal?
Might have something to do with the fact I’m offski to Portugal tomorrow evening but still, this n’half dragging on as a working week, I have to say.
It also means the next Arsenal game is a whole three more days away. That, friends, is unacceptable. They should make it impossible for Arsenal to play a Sunday game whilst there is an opportunity for Saturday games. I’m sure we only had about three 3pm kick offs all last season. Taint right I tells ya.
Anyway, at least we’re beyond the halfway point and can start to look towards the Cardiff game on the horizon and wonder how we’re going to set up and for me, I’m hoping we finally see Lucas Torreira from the start. I know there’s an element of projecting on him given he’s still a shiny and new player in our team, but the little I’ve seen of him I truly do believe we’re in for a player who can give us a little more balance, certainly defensively.
Just think about how we lined up in the summer. Torreira wasn’t there but it was quite obvious that at times we would push our full backs on, Guendouzi would drop almost into a back three, with our centre halves spreading and effectively changing our formation in-game. And at times it looked like it worked.
Fast forward to the game last weekend and we have full backs who are both pushing higher up the pitch to affect play in the final third, whilst leaving us exposed when the ball is turned over and the West Ham players found space in the channels to try to exploit. It was uncomfortable viewing for us all and on another day, perhaps an away day, we might have been punished.
Guendouzi and Xhaka don’t seem to have the natural athleticism to cover ground and space and even though Guendouzi played that more defensive position in the summer, it looks like he’s been told not to have the same approach in recent games, so that is why I’m starting to chomp at the bit to see Torreira.
Granted we haven’t seen too much of him in an Arsenal shirt, but there’s enough data online and enough examples of his style of play for Sampdoria, to give us an insight into the player we are getting. He looks like he can cover ground. He looks like a player who relies on good positional sense and anticipation, and he looks like somebody who will see when danger is appearing and provide adequate cover to mitigate it.
Imagine if we had both full backs forward in a build up, only to see the play break down, with an opponent stretching us. Granit Xhaka is beaten easier because he doesn’t have the engine, but Torreira is there to cover the space between Xhaka and the centre halves. Or, if teams are exploiting the spaces wide of the centre halves, then Torreira ticks in and we form a back three so our defenders can cover space out wide rather than seeing Hector or Nacho frantically sprinting back in vain to recover their space.
To me Torreira feels like he should give more space in that Arsenal defensive unit and that’s why I’m hoping to see him this weekend. The game will be one in which we have most of the ball, Cardiff will look to hit us on the counter, but we have to be ready for the break and it just feels to me like we will need a Torreira in that midfield to do it.
He’s a tenacious player too. I want to see a bit of Uruguayan sh*thousery and especially against a Neil Warnock side. Can you imagine the kind of things Warnock will be saying to his players this weekend? It’ll be straight out of the cliched book of 90s tracksuit managers and so to be confronted by a little bar steward who is happy to get embroiled in a bit of game playing would be great. The more of that the better.
To be fair to Torreira I don’t really think he’s that kind of player and once again, I’m probably just projecting on him, but I don’t care. Let me have my fantasies whilst we’re still so early in the season and this particular one involves us having a little rapscallion in the heart of our midfield who can mix it with the cynical best.
I suspect we might get a press conference today given that we’re away this weekend and tomorrow Emery will be preparing his troops ahead of travel to Wales. Hopefully there will be insight into who is available and hopefully that includes Mesut Özil, because I want to see him back in the team and back to his best; contributing to build up, assists and goals.
Catch you all tomorrow.