Unai Emery reveals why he dropped Lucas Torreira for Europa League semi-final against Valencia


Lucas Torreira was dropped for the visit of Valencia (Picture: Getty)

Unai Emery says his decision to drop Lucas Torreira for Arsenal’s 3-1 win against Valencia was a tactical one.

The Uruguayan was a surprise omission from the Gunners’ starting line-up for their semi-final first leg tie at the Emirates, with Matteo Guendouzi getting the nod.

Valencia took an early lead at the Emirates but Arsenal hit back with a brace from Alexandre Lacazette and a late goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to give the Gunners a two-goal cushion before next Thursday’s second leg.

Torreira did emerge from the bench but Emery says he opted for Guendouzi because he’s better in possession.

Asked why Torreira started on the bench, Emery replied: ‘Because we need also with the ball, to have players on the pitch with the possibility against a team like Valencia with two lines of four, to break their line with passes.

Guendouzi started ahead of Torreira (Picture: Getty)

‘I was thinking with Matteo, he can have that and also with the combination with Mesut.

‘After the first-half, it was not playing like I was thinking. But, it is good for us and our composition with the team, the set up I think was for controlling the possession also. This is the reason.

‘Matteo and Lucas can help us at the beginning, or having an impact. Also, giving us the different qualities.

‘Both can play together, can play also one another. It depends on the match.

‘Today I decided with Matteo to play the passes ahead for Mesut, for the strikers, also one side to another side. Maybe the match in the second-half can be different.’

The Gunners host Brighton at the Emirates on Sunday as they continue their pursuit of a top four finish.

Emery, who made four changes for the win on Thursday, is likely to ring the changes again on Sunday with Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi all in line to start.

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