Former Arsenal skipper Tony Adams has lamented the performance of Granit Xhaka during the defeat to Manchester City, as he admitted he would of preferred to see Lucas Torreira handed a debut, as he questioned Unai Emery’s team selection.
Emery received a few raised eyebrows upon the release of his starting XI for the Gunners’ Premier League opener against City, with new defensive reinforcements in Torreira and Bernd Leno forced to start on the bench as the club fell to a 2-0 defeat.
Despite the former Paris Saint-Germain boss implementing a new style of play at the Emirates, Adams felt too many familiar traits were present on the opening day defeat and implored the new boss to put trust into his new recruits.
“Granit [Xhaka] is not for me. The lad Torreira came on, he looked tiny, but we’ve missing that role, missing that guy in front of the back four,” Adams told talkSPORT, via the Metro.
“He [Torreira] looks intelligent, he looks like he can protect, there’s been little ones in the past – Didier Deschamps, [N’Golo] Kante is doing a fantastic job for France and Chelsea and I think he [Torreira] might be able to do it for us.
“But start with them. Go with your goalkeeper Leno, put him in goal. I love Petr Cech, he’s a lovely guy and he’s been a great pro, but come on, let’s go with the new guy, let’s work with them.
“Get your back four in, get Torreira in, and let’s go for it. As a coach you can get away with it if you put your players in there. But to put a kid in Maitland-Niles a makeshift left-back, I don’t understand those decisions.”
The performance and the result against City left Adams with little hope of seeing the club bridge the gap with Pep Guardiola’s team, he added: “I don’t know what he’s been doing for the last five or six weeks.
“He’s been rotating all his players and given them all a game. From minute one I would have picked my goalkeeper and my back four and put the two players I want to screen them in place [so] you’ve got a firm base.
“It’s been missing for the last ten years. I don’t think we won a game away from home last year. We all want him to be successful. We all want his team to be resilient and challenge for the league title, but at the moment, realistically, we are nowhere near.”
Torreira will be hopeful of earning a starting berth for Arsenal’s next league outing in a crunch clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.