25yo Arsenal man still struggling at Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid's Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (L) vies with Real Betis' Spanish midfielder Sergio Canales during the Spanish League football match between Atletico Madrid and Real Betis at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on October 24, 2020. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Atletico Madrid's Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (L) vies with Real Betis' Spanish midfielder Sergio Canales during the Spanish League football match between Atletico Madrid and Real Betis at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on October 24, 2020. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

After his brief return to the Atletico Madrid La Liga starting lineup in late January, Lucas Torreira has returned to a bench role for the team.

PAMPLONA, SPAIN: Lucas Torreira of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his teams 3rd goal during the La Liga Santander match between C.A. Osasuna and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio El Sadar on October 31, 2020. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN: Lucas Torreira of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his teams 3rd goal during the La Liga Santander match between C.A. Osasuna and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio El Sadar on October 31, 2020. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

In early February, we wrote about how there were signs that Lucas Torreira’s loan spell with Atletico Madrid might be starting to improve. At the time, Atletico had given him one start and one 45-minute substitute appearance in their last two games.

Those two games alone represented more minutes on the pitch for Torreira than Atletico’s previous 11 matches combined, so there was good reason to believe things were heading in the right direction.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t led to anything more. The 25-year-old midfielder promptly returned to the bench, playing an average of 11 minutes per game in their following four matches.

From Diego Simeone’s point of view, you can completely understand why he’s doing this. His starting team have Atletico five points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand on second-place Barcelona.

Simeone’s not going to make unnecessary changes, and dropping someone for Torreira would qualify as unnecessary right now. It’s just frustrating watching on for Arsenal fans, as the Uruguay international largely wastes this season away.