Lucas Torreira is our hero.
Our November player of the month. Man of the Match awards, decisive goals, tenacity oozing from every tackle, defiance in every interception.
Quite simply, the little Uruguayan has been titanic at both ends of the pitch. His performances have been so huge, we’re left wondering why we didn’t go for a player of his ilk sooner, and also - how did no other club snap up this little gem?
When a player makes such an impact, the pessimists among us start to worry about the inevitable - an injury. How could we cope without his tracking. his tackling, his blocking?
The bottom line is - we haven’t lost a game where he has started, so can we play without the diminutive South American?
The answer is yes.
Of course, Torreira is a huge figure for us, but the root of our success can be found in the early stages of our season.
Our first two fixtures were set up for a loss, with Chelsea and City administering the defeats. We then started our season in earnest, with wins over West Ham, Cardiff and Newcastle - and in none of them did Torreira start.
The Uruguayan was a sub in these games and made cameos - in fact he was a half time substitute in the win over Newcastle and proved to pivotal - but it was our ethos, our tactics that won the games.
The win over West Ham was probably the most impressive of the three, and while the Hammers had more than a few chances, our press was kicking in and our transitional play, thanks to Guendouzi and the improving Xhaka, was switching defence to attack rapidly at times.
Unai Emery’s blueprint was the foundation for this, and players fulfilling their role demands. If we get our players doing that, then we’ll win the majority of games.
With Torreira in the side though, undeniably we stand a better chance of victory.
We are on this unbeaten run thanks to both, and we should simply sit back and enjoy it, and not worry about if Torreira succumbs to injury. Because if the worst does happen, we now know that we have a system in place to continue to push us to victory, without relying on one player.