Unai Emery has been dropping Lucas Torreira for Arsenal recently due to 'medical concerns'

Arsenal FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Considering he only had a budget of £75m last summer, Unai Emery did a pretty fantastic job with the signings he made at Arsenal.

Matteo Guendouzi has shown he's one for the future, Bernd Leno has been relatively consistent in goal and Sokratis Papastathopoulos has emerged as the Gunners' best centre-back.

Only Stephan Lichtsteiner has really failed to impress since moving to the Emirates Stadium, though the 34-year-old was signed more as a presence than a top-class right-back.

However, no signing has made more of an impact than Lucas Torreira, who has completely transformed Arsenal's midfield in his short time at the club.

Torreira's indefatigable style of play is similar to N'Golo Kante's at Chelsea, as the Uruguayan hurries and harasses opponents all over the pitch to win back possession.

He became an instant fan favourite on his first few starts for Arsenal in September and then earned hero status with a goal during the 4-2 win against Tottenham.

But then, towards the end of December and into 2019, Torreira suddenly found himself on the bench as Emery opted for a midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Guendouzi.

The 22-year-old failed to start against Burnley, Fulham and West Ham in the Premier League, which inevitably infuriated Arsenal fans as they demanded answers.

Torreira returned to the starting XI for Saturday's clash with Chelsea and it's now been explained by the Times' Henry Winter why Emery has rested his summer signing over the past month.

Arsenal FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

"When fans became fidgety about Emery’s sparing use of Torreira at the start of the season, Arsenal's head coach was taking the longer view, bedding him in slowly to a new league after a hectic summer," wrote Winter.

"When supporters then became annoyed at their new cult hero being rested, Emery clearly felt that there were medical concerns about the hard-working Uruguayan player succumbing to injury.

"In a sport too addicted to short-term fixes, Emery deserves applause for taking a long-term approach. He cares about his players’ welfare."


Emery was simply worried about Torreira suffering an injury and he had good reason based on some statistics provided by PremierInjuries.com in December.

According to the website, 48 of the 75 injuries that had been suffered in the Premier League at the time involved players who reached the quarter-finals at the 2018 World Cup.

Torreira, who featured for Uruguay in Russia, was lucky to not be one of them and the idea of losing him forced Emery to take action.

It was a smart and well-informed decision from Arsenal's manager, who perhaps deserves more credit than he's given for his management of Torreira.

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