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Neville: Torreira knits the Arsenal team together

21 Oct 2018

Former Manchester United defender says Gunners' new midfielder is bringing the best out of his team-mates

Phil Neville says that the arrival of midfielder Lucas Torreira has been pivotal to Arsenal's impressive run this season.

After starting the Premier League campaign with two defeats, Unai Emery’s side have strung together a six-match winning sequence and will move level on points with third-placed Chelsea if they beat Leicester City in Monday's 20:00 BST kick-off.

While forwards such as Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been enjoying the limelight for their exciting attacking play, Neville says it is defensive midfielder Torreira who is their driving force.

"I think Torreira for this Arsenal side allows [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, [Mesut] Ozil to play," says Neville, the former Manchester United defender.

"It allows these players to do what they do best. In the past under Arsene Wenger they never had that type of player who complemented the unbelievable talent they have in that team."

Torreira, a summer signing from Sampdoria, was slowly integrated into the Arsenal first team, earning his first Premier League start in the 2-0 home win over Everton on 23 September.

He has since started every top-flight match. In the recent 5-1 win at Fulham, the 22-year-old made six interceptions and only midfield partner Granit Xhaka had a higher passing accuracy rate.

"People talk about Aubameyang, Lacazette, [Danny] Welbeck, [Alex] Iwobi, you talk about the forward players, but actually it only takes one player to knit a team together.

"They have an absolute bargain. Torreira is following the orders of his manager and, dovetailing to that, Xhaka has improved because of it."

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