Lucas Torreira

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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.

Fleck artistry gets Sheffield United point at Arsenal

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John Fleck‘s perfectly lashed side volley gave Sheffield United a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.

The Emirates Stadium saw a wasteful first hour from the Gunners give way to a resurgent Blades side and a share of the points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for the Gunners, who sit 10th with 29 points. The Blades move to 33 points and sit seventh.

The match was Mike Dean’s 500th Premier League match, and not without controversy. Dean neglected to award a penalty when Nicolas Pepe was chopped down in the box, but VAR stayed with him.


Three things we learned

1. Blades are for real: There’s a reason Chris Wilder is getting linked with plenty of jobs and got a new contract: Sheffield United’s men are bought into a system about as well as anyone not named Jurgen Klopp. Granted Arsenal let early United errors slide, but once the Blades took hold of momentum it rarely felt like the Gunners would score the game’s second goal

2. Aubameyang absence glaring: It’s no surprise that missing one of the world’s best scorers is a not good, but you’d peg Arsenal’s talented group of attackers to sort it out. Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette had their moments and Martinelli did get his goal, but there was an Auba-sized hole in both the aura and composure of the Gunners in the final third. That red card is stinging like a fresh cut.

3. Xhaka, Torreira steady: Mikel Arteta has found better play from Swiss hard man Granit Xhaka, while Lucas Torreira is working well with his center midfield mate. Their play allows Mesut Ozil to do whatever he wants, more or less. Throw in a fine day from Shkrodan Mustafi, and the Gunners were a Maitland-Niles 50-50 battle away from a clean sheet

Man of the Match: Give it to Fleck for the goal plus four tackles and another day of committed challenges.


Lacazette sent Nicolas Pepe down the right flank, and the Ivorian sent a terrific cross for Gabriel Martinelli. The youngster volleyed across goal and wide of the far post.

Lucas Torreira popped a dipping shot that Dean Henderson smothered in the 32nd minute.

Martinelli didn’t miss his second, punching home a 45th minute deflected cross from Bukayo Saka. The latter had a terrific first half for the Gunners.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Blades didn’t quit, and Arsenal was forced into a goal line clearance in the 56th.

Pepe could’ve won a penalty when he was chopped down on a dribble into the box, but VAR upheld Mike Dean’s initial judgment.

Sheffield United scored an equalizerr in brilliant fashion, Fleck slashing a bounding side volley past Leno in the 83rd minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles blocked a shot and Leno made a tremendous save in stoppage time to keep the hosts’ point.

Where it went wrong for Emery at Arsenal

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There were many highs and lows of Unai Emery‘s stewardship of Arsenal FC, but arguably the moment where things turned for the worst came away from the perfectly manicured grass at the Emirates Stadium.

Heading into the summer, it was clear that Arsenal needed more help defensively. Emery’s signings of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi were a good sign, showing that Arsenal was committed to finally plugging a hole in defensive midfield that hadn’t been filled since Patrick Vieira – former coach Arsene Wenger always preferred a Jorginho type passer in that position, but they’d be overrun against every big-six opponent.

[READ: Who are the favorites to replace Emery at Arsenal?]

But at centerback, the team was woefully overmatched. Shkodran Mustafi looked like a shell of himself, Laurent Koscielny was still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the run up to the 2018 World Cup, and prospect Rob Holding suffered a torn ACL, meaning he was out for the season.

So the last thing Emery could afford was losing one of his best remaining centerbacks, in maybe the worst way possible. And yet, that’s essentially what happened.

Koscielny returned to training on July 5, and per the Guardian, made it clear that if he didn’t have a new contract by next week, or perhaps at least some progress on a new deal, he would be holding out. That meant the Arsenal club captain wouldn’t be traveling with the squad to the U.S. for preseason training.

This seemed to take Arsenal’s leadership by surprise. In the 2018-2019 Premier League season, Aaron Ramsey and the club weren’t able to meet in the middle, and so Ramsey let his contract run out and freely traipsed to Juventus. But Ramsey never made a fuss on the training pitch over his contract negotiations. He was a professional on and off the field and let his play do the talking.

Koscielny, on the other hand, wasn’t having it. Perhaps emboldened by his stature at Arsenal and that a new manager was at the helm – would he have done this against Wenger? – Koscielny never got on the plane to America. One month later, he completed a permanent transfer to Bordeaux, and Emery never appeared to recover as Arsenal manager. Before the end of the calendar year, Arsenal fired Emery.

The Koscielny case – and other similar recent mishaps by Emery, such as the captaincy fiasco and freezing out Ozil only to bring him back in recently – paints a picture of Emery as a brilliant tactician with average to below average man management skills. We have that here in the U.S. There are plenty of brilliant minds who coach football and basketball, but devising clever plays is worthless if you can’t get your team to understand the plays and execute them. What makes coaches like Bill Belichick and Steve Kerr successful is getting the buy-in from their players and managing them along the way. Tactics is only half the battle.

On paper, even with a creaky defense and a young midfield, this Arsenal team shouldn’t be languishing in ninth place. But it was clear as the weeks went on that Emery was essentially powerless to stop the sieve of goals into Arsenal’s net. Each week it was a different culprit, whether David Luiz, Sokratis, new signing Kieran Tierney or Calum Chambers. Under another manager, perhaps those four could raise there level. Under Emery, with everyone seemingly playing just for themselves, their levels sunk below the opposition.

At the same time, despite the $87 million Arsenal committed to spend on new signing Nicolas Pepe to go with stars Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they didn’t click in attack as often as they should have. Aubameyang continues to score but his goals often grab a point or a late, often undeserved win, for the Gunners. They were not blowing teams apart even with their vast array of talented attackers.

Emery wasn’t all bad at Arsenal. He brought positivity back to the Emirates Stadium in the 2018-2019 season with his new energetic signings like Guendouzi and Torreira. Fans won’t soon forget the 4-2 win at home over Tottenham, where the roof nearly blew off on Torreira’s wonderful second half goal. There was also wins over Chelsea and Manchester United, plus Napoli and Valencia in the Europa League, but Arsenal was struggling in the Premier League around the time of the latter two wins.

Off the field, by all reports Emery was a true gentleman to everyone at the club. And although some disgustingly made fun of his accent, Emery always tried to communicate in English when he could have easily just brought along a translator for every interaction. He tried his best to integrate himself in the club and in England.

But this season, Emery could never find his mid-season momentum again from last year, and things began falling quickly. Emery will certainly get another opportunity to coach in top-flight football, and perhaps he’ll eventually learn from his mistakes. However, it’s a second-successive coaching failure in which Emery lost control of the locker room due to poor man management skills, and his firing was ultimately inevitable.