Tor­reira to the res­cue with fly­ing fin­ish to ensure Arse­nal’s week ends on a high

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Sam Dean at the Emi­rates Sta­dium

Flat on his back and with his legs in the air, Lu­cas Tor­reira lay on the turf as the cramp crept up his legs in the fi­nal few mo­ments of this most bruis­ing of Pre­mier League en­coun­ters. As he rocked back on the ground, wait­ing for a team-mate to stretch away the pain, he was sud­denly swarmed by a hud­dle of red-and-white shirts, all of­fer­ing a hand of sup­port.

It was only a brief mo­ment, but it en­cap­su­lated this gritty, sat­is­fy­ing win. And if any­one de­served the ur­gent sup­port of his team-mates, it was Tor­reira, the player who once again did more than any­one to drag Unai Emery’s side to vic­tory.

It has not taken very long for the Uruguayan to be­come the new cult hero of the Arse­nal sup­port­ers, who have been crav­ing a mid­fielder of his tenac­ity for so many years. Tor­reira has been end­lessly com­bat­ive since his ar­rival, but he is also start­ing to add at­tack­ing class to his game.

His late win­ner here, against an im­pres­sively spir­ited and or­gan­ised Hud­der­s­field Town, was his sec­ond goal in three matches. “In at­tack­ing and de­fen­sive mo­ments he is very fast in his mind and his feet,” said Emery. “He has the qual­ity and hunger we need.”

Tor­reira’s late in­ter­ven­tion pro­vided a stir­ring end to an en­cour­ag­ing but drain­ing week for Arse­nal, who re­fused to be dis­tracted by the “hippy crack” head­lines in the week and are now un­beaten in 21 games.

Hud­der­s­field’s phys­i­cal ap­proach proved tough for the home side to break down. “We lim­ited Arse­nal and kept them away from our goal,” said David Wag­ner, their man­ager. “There were very rare shots on tar­get. This is enough, if you are Hud­der­s­field, to de­serve a point.”

Arse­nal strug­gled in at­tack through­out, with Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang and Alexan­dre La­cazette both miss­ing first-half chances. La­cazette did have the ball in the net be­fore the break, but he was ruled off­side de­spite Hud­der­s­field de­fender Mathias Jor­gensen play­ing him through on goal.

The visitors had their own chance, too, with Alex Pritchard spoon­ing his shot over be­fore the break. It clearly trou­bled Emery, who sprung a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion at half-time. La­cazette and Stephan Licht­steiner de­parted, with Alex Iwobi and Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan asked to pro­vide at­tack­ing cre­ativ­ity in their place. The Arse­nal head coach was then forced to re­place the in­jured Shko­dran Mustafi, who limped off with a ham­string in­jury. The Ger­man will be unavail­able against Southamp­ton next week, as will cen­tre-back Sokratis, who is sus­pended af­ter pick­ing up a book­ing.

With Rob Hold­ing out until the end of the sea­son, the de­fen­sive con­cerns are pil­ing up at a wor­ry­ing rate. As long as there is Tor­reira, though, Arse­nal will al­ways have bite and fight. With just seven min­utes re­main­ing, he soared through the air to ac­ro­bat­i­cally vol­ley Aubameyang’s cross down into the net and bring a mem­o­rable end to a mem­o­rable week.

Worth the wait: Lu­cas Tor­reira’s ac­ro­batic goal se­cures vic­tory for Arse­nal yes­ter­day

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