Unai Emery has confirmed that he took Lucas Torreira off at half-time during Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Watford as a precaution ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash against Napoli.
Torreira was one of the chief protagonists of the first-half at Vicarage Road as he was involved in the incident which saw Troy Deeney dismissed just 11 minutes into the game.
The Watford skipper was adjudged to have elbowed the Uruguayan in the face by referee Craig Pawson.
Deeney was unimpressed by Torreira’s reaction and had strong words with him before he left the pitch while the home faithful were equally unhappy, booing the 23-year-old’s every touch for the remainder of the half.
After the game, Emery admitted that the crowd’s reaction to Torreira played a part in his decision to replace him with Mesut Ozil, but he suggested that he should overcome his injury in time for Arsenal’s trip to Naples.
‘First I decided to do the change of Lucas Torreira because after the red card, the atmosphere is against him and also the doctor said to me in the first half that he has a little pain for Thursday and I decided okay, it’s the moment [to take him off],’ he told Arsenal’s website.
He added: ‘At the end the, doctor said to me that they are okay. Only in the first half with his small injury, Lucas Torreira, but I think it’s small and he can be ready for Thursday physically.
‘It was a very physical match but I think we can respond well and above all the result gives us the opportunity to continue in our way, being consistent in the table.’
Arsenal were far from their best at Vicarage Road even after the hosts had been reduced to ten men but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal on ten minutes handed them a crucial win in their quest to finish in the top-four.