Under Unai Emery Lucas Torreira was not a happy man but with Mikel Arteta at the helm, he seems a player reborn so let’s look at Lucas Torreira’s rapid improvement.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Lucas Torreira of Arsenal shoots at goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Lucas Torreira of Arsenal shoots at goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It looked like a very real possibility that Lucas Torreira could leave Arsenal before the next season started. He was not happy at how he was being used by Unai Emery and his agent made sure everybody knew about that.

Links with a return to Serie A were strong with Napoli said to be leading the race for his coveted signature.

Things have changed, somewhat, with Emery’s sacking,

For a start, Torreira looks happy.

Arsenal's Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (L) celebrates with Arsenal's Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (R) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (L) celebrates with Arsenal’s Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (R) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

He’s also playing more after being benched by Emery, only to be used in an unsuitable position when he did get a chance.

Arteta has only been in charge of three Arsenal matches – Bournemouth, Chelsea and Manchester United – and he’s started Torreira in all three. Before that, Emery started him in just five and played him in the full 90 in no league matches.

For Arteta he’s played 270 minutes out of a possible 270, 360 when you factor in Freddie’s game against Everton.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Lewis Cook of AFC Bournemouth is challenged by Lucas Torreira of Arsenal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Lewis Cook of AFC Bournemouth is challenged by Lucas Torreira of Arsenal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

During Torreira’s three games for Arteta, he has already made more ball recoveries than he did in 10 league games under Emery.

“He wants to fight for every ball,” Arteta said about the midfielder. “In training, he fights for every inch. He is starting to understand the whole picture much better. In the three games he has played under me, he’s been top.” 

He certainly has.

Torreira has put in 18 tackles since Emery left compared to 11 before, 15 interceptions v 6, and 10 clearances compared to 7.

He also has four times as many blocks, 6 key passes v 4, and 22 long balls under Freddie and Mikel compared to just 4 under Emery, all of which came in just two games.

Stats via whoscored.com

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.