The 5ft 5in defensive enforcer from Fray Bentos has been the most notable addition by Unai Emery and never looked like he expected to lose the game against Liverpool
Through the late Wenger years there was a familiar theme to the performances of Arsenal’s central midfield. Against stronger opponents the most notable quality was the ability to be both there and not there, to perform as a kind of absence, a midfield-shaped hole.
Fast forward six months and the difference in tone and texture is tangible. Lucas Torreira had been a promising addition going into this visit of Liverpool to the Emirates, sniping with real skill and craft as Arsenal set off on that long winning run against the Premier League’s middleweights. The visit of Jürgen Klopp’s high‑functioning team presented a different kind of challenge, the type of occasion where Arsenal’s central midfield has in the past tended to simply melt away like an autumn frost.
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This felt like progress, an Arsenal performance of real resilience, led by Torreira
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