"Why I Benched Lucas Torreira Against Crystal Palace" - Unai Emery


Unai Emery has given an explanation for his decision to exempt Lucas Torreira from the starting lineup in Arsenal’s 2-3 loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The Uruguayan international sat on the bench while Mohamed Elneny got a place, and this made a lot of fans go furious at the manager even before kick-off.

Matters became worse when our lack of spark put us behind in the first half. Despite the Spanish boss’ substitutions at half-time shortly after which Mesut Ozil got the equaliser, the Gunners still lost.

Emery after the match stated that he dropped Torreira as a precaution. The midfielder was nursing a minor groin injury which would not have stopped him from starting but the manager was more conscious so as not to lose him to a more serious problem ahead of tough away games to Wolves and Leicester City.

Emery said: ‘In the first half we continued with the three central defenders because I think we can be more consistent with that.

‘In the second half we changed to play with two and we can take more possibilities in the attacking third, in the build up, but defensively we gave them more space to take the transitions.

‘Their goals are from set pieces and one second action, but also we know that we can be taking more risks in the second half.

‘But when the score is like that in the first half and we are losing 1-0, I think we need to do that. ‘We changed because we are going to play a lot of matches.

‘We have had some injuries, like with Aaron Ramsey, and we need to protect the players.

‘For example, Xhaka asked to change in the second half against Napoli and today could’ve played, but with some risk.

‘We need to protect our players and to us other players. We are playing with a lot of players and they give us the performance, we lost today but we could also have lost with other players on the pitch.’

Arsenal failed to take advantage of defeats to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United prior to their own encounter. They would have gone third had they scooped all three points from the battle. A Chelsea draw against Burnley on Monday night has pushed us out of Champions League spot. Victory at Wolves on Wednesday will take us back there.

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