Lucas Torreira

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Preview: Man City v. Arsenal

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  • Man City have lost 7 Premier League games this season, one more than they had in their previous two campaigns combined.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last seven away league games.
  • Man City have won their last six games in all competitions against Arsenal. 

Man City host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday (Watch live, 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in a rearranged game due to the League Cup final.

Pep Guardiola‘s Man City are now 25 points behind Liverpool and if they lose against Arsenal it will give Liverpool the chance to win their first-ever Premier League title by winning away at Everton on Monday.

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Mikel Arteta, who left Man City in December after three years as Guardiola’s assistant, has turned Arsenal into a tough team to beat and defensively they have made huge strides forward in recent months. They have won three-straight in the Premier League and have lost just one of Arteta’s first 10 PL games in charge.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The Gunners will move to just five points off the top four if they win this game in hand and with fifth-place potentially resulting in Champions League qualification this season, Arsenal would move just two points off of that with nine games to go.


Injuries/suspensions

Man City: QUESTIONABLE — Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane

Arsenal: OUT — Cedric, Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac. QUESTIONABLE — None.

Projected lineup

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy; Gundogan, Rodri, Bernardo; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Arsenal: Leno; Sokratis, Mari, Luiz, Saka; Ceballos, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Nketiah


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola on his former assistant being in charge of Arsenal: “I was convinced he would be a manager when the opportunity comes and this was the opportunity for him. His ideas are already in the team, his positional play is getting better. I’m convinced Arsenal will get better.”

Mikel Arteta on returning to Man City and his ‘inside’ knowledge of Pep’s team: “It’s going to be a very special night, I am very excited to get back there. I have some fantastic memories, a lot of friends, a lot of people that I like. But obviously now I am in a different position, another bench and I will defend my club as well as I can. It gives me a very clear idea of what they are trying to do, what they will be looking to do, but it’s something different to be able to stop that and as well create the issues that I think we can create for them. That has to happen on the day, when they are at their best, we know what they are capable of doing, the variation they have. At the end of the day, it’s about the players on the pitch and their performance.”


Prediction

This will be a tight game between two teams who are trying to play the same way. City have pretty much washed their hands of the Premier League this season and will finish in second anyway but ahead of their Champions League round of 16 second leg they will be hoping to get back to form after a torrid showing in the Manchester Derby. Pep’s boys will get the job done against Arteta’s Arsenal but it it will be far from easy. 2-1 to Man City.

Arsenal confirm Torreira potentially done for season after ankle fracture

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The Gunners suffered a blow on Monday as Arsenal confirmed that midfielder Lucas Torreira would miss eight to 10 weeks with a fractured ankle, a timeline that could potentially leave him sidelined for the remainder of the season.

The 24-year-old Uruguayan was injured in the FA Cup match against Portsmouth a week ago in a 14th minute challenge with James Bolton, and was reportedly still on crutches over the weekend for Arsenal’s Premier League game against West Ham.

[ MORE: Manchester derby player ratings | 3 things ]

Torreira has been a mainstay in the Arsenal lineup since forcing his way in around early November. He had recently dropped out of a starting job the last few games, with a substitute role in the previous three league matches, but is still a valuable member of the Arsenal squad. With a game upcoming against Manchester City, Arsenal can ill-afford to lose a player with Torreira’s shielding abilities.

The rest of the Arsenal injury report was positive for the club, with Sead Kolasinac on his way back, targeting the end of the month, while January loan signing Cedric is scheduled to return to full training this week.

Torreira will also be sweating his availability for Uruguay this summer in the 2020 Copa America. He will likely be healed by that point, but match fitness will be in question as he could potentially come into June having not played a competitive match in three months. Uruguay has been drawn into Group A alongside the likes of Argentina, Chile, and guests Australia. Torreira is certainly in the plans for head coach Oscar Tabarez having been in the squad consistently since his debut in 2018, earning 23 caps since then, but in a crowded midfield that includes Rodrigo Betancur, Federico Valverde, Matias Vecino, Nahitan Nandez, they have replacements.

Arsenal’s Torreira out indefinitely with fractured ankle

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Lucas Torreira might have played his final game of the 2019-20 season on Monday, when the Arsenal midfielder fractured his right ankle in an FA Cup fifth-round victory over Portsmouth, the club has confirmed.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to Dier’s confrontation with fan ]

Arsenal issued a statement on the injury on Thursday, and while Torreira’s season is not officially over while they await “further specialist reviews which will determine a recovery plan,” it’s a significant blow for the Gunners to lose their most consistent and influential midfielder with 11 games to go and five-point gap between themselves and UEFA Champions League qualification.

The injury occurred under a heavy challenge from Portsmouth defender James Bolton, resulting in Torriera being stretchered off the field after just 16 minutes.

[ MORE: Tim Howard comes out of retirement to play for Memphis ]

Dani Ceballos, who is on loan from Real Madrid this season, is expected to assume Torreira’s place in the starting lineup going forward.

Arsenal handles Portsmouth to advance in FA Cup

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Arsenal clinched the first spot in the quarterfinals of the 2020 FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Monday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Eddie Nketiah scored for the Gunners, whose 13 tournament titles are the most in the history of the competition.

Arsenal hosts West Ham United on Saturday.


Three things we learned

1. Gunners steady despite Europa ouster: Arsenal’s home disappointment to Olympiacos in the Europa League last week might’ve been its only hope of Champions League football. There was plenty of focus on how the Gunners would react, even given substandard competition, and Mikel Arteta‘s men did well enough. Seventy-five percent of the ball and only one big chance allowed show a real professional win, even if their attackers’ finishing deprived them of a blowout score line.

2. Pablo Mari makes solid first impression: Arsenal’s January addition took some time to get up to speed because Flamengo was out-of-season when he arrived from Brazil. The towering former Man City center back didn’t have a ton to do and was credited with 100 touches, five clearances, three blocks, 89 percent passing, and a quality 12-of-16 connection on long balls. Promising, albeit against a League One side.

3. Torreira injured: Lucas Torreira needed to be removed from the match with a lowe leg injury after tangling legs with Pompey’s James Bolton. A trainer was shown holding his ankle in place and Dani Ceballos took his place, though reports said he did not require a hospital visit. Torreira has played in all but three of Arsenal’s Premier League matches this season.

Man of the Match: Martinelli was clever and Mari’s strong debut adds sentimentality to the shout, but Sokratis was probably the Gunners’ top player.


Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli drove the end line to cut back for Eddie Nketiah but the chance resulted in a corner.

The Gunners went ahead when Reiss Nelson crossed into the traffic from the right flank and Sokratis burst onto the ball to smash home.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pompey had some good moments in the latter stages of the first half, and would’ve been content to be down one.

Arsenal made it 2-0 with the help of some poor defending, Nketiah running onto a cross and keeping his cool as the ball bobbled in traffic.

Arsenal laud star man Ceballos

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LONDON — Arsenal hammered Newcastle on Sunday and to make sure you have every angle covered for the marquee Premier League games, our new feature “In the Mixed Zone” will take you behind-the-scenes and into the tunnel areas to hear from the star players moments after their magic has decided games or drama has ensued.

[ MORE: In the Mixed Zone

The idea is to set the scene of being inside the tunnel area in Old Trafford, by the dugouts at Stamford Bridge and in the swanky new players area in Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium as Premier League stars walk out of the dressing room and break down the game with media members around the world. We will tell you what they are saying and the kind of antics going on amid the hubbub of the mixed zone as players from both teams have their say on the 90-plus minutes of action we’ve just witnessed.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Here’s the scene from deep inside the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal’s players were very willing to stop and chat after the 4-0 win but Newcastle’s players were not as Martn Dubravka and Valentino Lazaro were the only two who wanted to discuss the drubbing as the scoreline flattered Arsenal a little.


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Arsenal center back David Luiz, looking toasty on a chilly London evening in his Rag and Bone beanie, was full of praise for central midfielder Dani Ceballos.

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk about the Spanish midfielder playing in a slightly deeper role and dominating the game with his slick passing, Luiz is clearly a fan of the man on loan from Real Madrid.

“He is a great player. He is a player who is improving and working very well every single day,” Luiz said. “I think this kind of mentality is what we need for the team. He started very well when he came, he got an injury, he went and came back, he lost his position, he lost a bit of game time. He was trying to improve his game and in the moment that he has the opportunity he shows that he is a great player, like he did today. I think this is the kind of mentality that we need in the team. Big teams who win titles don’t just depend on 11 players. We need more players who are always ready to help. Dani showed that today, even the boys who came into the game showed the right mentality. I think we are improving because of that and we are understanding what we need to be a big team.”

Arteta also waxed lyrical about the performance of Ceballos, who walked through the mixed zone wearing a Louis Vuitton backpack which was designed like a soccer ball. My goodness, it was awesome. Also, how much do we estimate that cost!? Anyway, here’s Mikel…

“Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough. He completely changed his behavior and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch,” Arteta said.

As Ceballos is pushing for a permanent move to Arsenal and a place in Spain’s EURO 2020 squad, expect plenty more displays like this.

Alexandre Lacazette also stopped for a chat and was very positive about Arsenal’s performance, while Bukayo Saka was also extremely happy with his display. Shkodran Mustafi and Bernd Leno weren’t keen to stop for a chat but that’s probably because they were heading off towards Highbury and Islington tube station to down a few pints…


ALL ABOARD THE BANTER BUS

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang walked out and had a chuckle as the media lined up to speak to Luiz and then said something to him in French. Auba didn’t stop, while Hector Bellerin and Lucas Torreira nodded as they headed towards the exit.


MIXEDZONEOLOGY

Newcastle’s players did the classic move of walking behind the sponsorship boards and out of the exit. Danny Rose, on loan at Newcastle from Spurs, was in and out of the tunnel area as he tried to keep a low profile. Clever boy.

Arsenal’s sporting director Edu said hello and looked pretty happy after that win. He emerged from the elevator a few minutes later wearing a red and white scarf around his neck. A proper club man.


HERO OF THE MIXED ZONE

Congrats to Martin Dubravka, he is actually one of the nicest blokes in the game. The Slovakian goalkeeper is the most worked goalkeeper in the PL, according to stats released over the weekend, and despite letting in four goals and not covering himself in glory for Ozil’s goal, Dubravka spoke to the press. We appreciate that.