Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that new signing Lucas Torreira is ready to start in their London derby against Chelsea this weekend.
The Uruguayan joined up with his new club late this summer due to the success of his national team in the World Cup.
Torreira has been building up his fitness since arriving at the Emirates and following a cameo appearance last week against Manchester City, Emery has confirmed that the midfielder is now ready to start, as reported by the club’s official website.
“Yes, he is okay every day and is training good,” said Unai Emery. “He is now with the team and knowing and learning English conversation with us and can understand all the things we want to do tactically on the pitch.
“He is okay, the first match against City he played 15 to 20 minutes and I think this is good, I want to continue with him improving and to be okay to play.”
Speaking on where the midfielder will play in his system, Emery stated that Torreira will be used as a central defensive midfielder and a normal central midfield player.
“We can speak about the number six, the number eight and the number ten [roles],” said Emery. “Torreira today is a six, eight. Normally every player has two positions – Torreira is six, eight.”
The signing of Torreira was greeted with great optimism by Gunners fans during the summer as their club finally invested in a strong tackling defensive midfielder.
Torreira is likely to start alongside Granit Xhaka in the heart of the Arsenal midfield on Saturday against a Chelsea side who will be brimming with confidence following their convincing opening day win against Huddersfield Town.
Former Arsenal player turned pundit Stewart Robson has had his say on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, stating that he has been far from impressed by the Armenian international since his arrival in the Premier League.
Having only signed for the London club last January from Manchester United – in a deal that saw Alexis Sanchez go the opposite way – Mkhitaryan has only just completed his first full pre-season with the Gunners.
Speaking with ESPN FC, as reported by Sport Review, Robson said: “I am not a big fan of Mkhitaryan.
“I saw him at Man United and Arsenal. He hasn’t done well enough at either club.”
The 29-year-old moved to English football in 2016 from Borussia Dortmund for £30m. In the season and a half he spent at Old Trafford, he struggled to hold down a regular starting place under Jose Mourinho; only managing to rack up 24 appearances in his first campaign, netting four times and making one assist.
The winger started 11 games in the opening half of last season for Manchester United, before being made a makeweight in a deal for Alexis Sanchez which saw a premature end to his time with the Red Devils.
However, Mkhitaryan did make a flying start for Arsenal, making three assists in his full debut in a 5-1 win against Everton in early February. Mkhitaryan finished the season with three goals in 17 appearances, memorably scoring at Old Trafford in a late-season encounter.
Starting on Sunday in Unai Emery’s first game as Arsenal boss, Mkhitaryan struggled to impact the game as Champions Manchester City strolled to a comfortable 2-0 victory at The Emirates.
Football pundit Craig Bellamy has claimed that Arsenal may struggle at first under their new boss Unai Emery, but will start to fire on all cylinders once the squad successfully adapts to their new manager’s style of football.
Speaking on Sky Sports following Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City, via the Express, Bellamy claimed that the Gunners may take some time to adjust to playing under Emery, stating: “It is short-term pain for long-term success. If you go into a football club, you have your ideas. They’re not the worst ideas or else he wouldn’t have been appointed in the first place.
“He wouldn’t have won the Europa League with Sevilla or Ligue 1 title with PSG. He wouldn’t have done so well at Valencia. He’s a good manager. He’s gone in with his idea and this is how he wants to play. What we’ve seen is the first stage of where he’s at. Usually from watching and knowing his work, he’s someone who likes to play at all costs.”
“I’ve been through that stage with coaching. Once you get used to making angles, then you can build up the next stage. So after that you’ll be able to clip over the press. In the next couple of months, Arsenal will be hitting the press and the goalkeeper will be the first line of attack and being able to hit drives and putting forward one-on-one.”
The Gunners will be eager to pick themselves up from their opening day loss, but face a tricky trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Saturday evening. Arsenal fans would have hoped for an easier run of fixtures to open the season, but there upcoming matches against West Ham and Cardiff City should provide easier opportunities to pick up some precious points.
Meanwhile, Arsenal youngster Ashley Maitland-Niles has been ruled out of action for at least two months, after picking up a fractured fibula against Man City last weekend. Veteran right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner may now start in an unfamiliar position on the left side of defence on Saturday, with the likes of Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac still nursing injuries.