Arsenal news: Lucas Torreira claim made about Xhaka after Everton win | Football | Sport



That’s the opinion of Match of the Day 2 pundit Phil Neville.

Unai Emery’s side earned their fourth successive Premier League win with a 2-0 triumph over Everton at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.

The Spaniard had initially earned criticism after starting the campaign with back-to-back defeats but Arsenal have began to find momentum despite their frailties.

This was Arsenal’s first clean sheet of the season but that largely owed to Everton’s wastefulness rather than their own defensive resilience.

But Neville believes that despite being carved open on several occasions in the first half with the visitors squandering their resulting opportunities, Torreira – who made his first start since joining from Sampdoria in the summer – and Xhaka can begin to form a solid basis in the centre of midfield.

And the former Manchester United and Everton defender claims that much-maligned Swiss international Xhaka, whose positioning and discipline have often come into question, is a better player alongside Torreira.

“The thing with Torreira is, he actually makes Xhaka play well,” Neville – the manager of the England women’s team – said on MOTD2.

“Xhaka and Torreira balanced each other off, Xhaka’s really good on the ball, Torreira’s all energy and gets around. 

“They’ve got a good block now in front of Mustafi and Sokratis. I think if I was an Arsenal fan I’d be really excited about what’s coming.”

Quizzed later in the show by a viewer about how he could praise the midfield duo given Everton’s goalscoring chances, Neville added: “I think what we were on about, the danger in the first half was actually the space in behind. 

“Sokratis and Mustafi were playing too high and when the ball went in behind they weren’t dropping back in. The space in front was actually well protected.”

Gunners legend Martin Keown was also impressed with Torreira’s display and backed him to become a crucial member of Emery’s side.

He reflected: “I liked what I saw today, I have to say. He played in the summer [at the World Cup] didn’t he for Uruguay, he didn’t start the competition but he grew into it. It’s a bit like that with Arsenal. 

“I like the way he goes in, pinches things and brings tenacity to the midfield – and he’s more mobile. He pinches the ball well and distributes it nice and calmly. 

“He puts his foot in and I think the Arsenal fans were out of their seats to see a player do that. You’ve got to be able to pass the ball of course and he can see a pass and isn’t afraid to make it. 

“That’s what they need in that midfield. He’ll grow in confidence after his first start and he’ll grow from here. I can see him being an integral part of that Arsenal midfield.”


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