I think I have a solution. A way to stop all the arguing about who should start, Torreira or Guendouzi. It’s a pretty radical solution. It’s so big you could even call it a “Douzi”.
Start Torreira and Guendouzi.
Defensively, they are superior to Xhaka, far superior. Guendouzi in particular has been fantastic and the only reason Torreira doesn’t have larger “bulk” numbers is that he doesn’t play much. Look at how many duels Guendouzi wins every game, it’s crazy. Look at how many tackles Guendouzi and Torreira win. Xhaka is (we already know this) awful at tackles, more likely to foul than win the ball, and seemingly incapable of intercepting the ball. He is good at headers, I guess.
Passing, both players are either equal or superior. Neither Torreira nor Guendouzi give the ball away as much as Xhaka does with both his failed long and failed short passes – though they are caught in possession more often, but that would even out in the wash. In fact, I think Arsenal would be objectively better in possession with Xhaka off the pitch.
Torreira has the same “entry pass” ability as Xhaka and both players have an assist (Torreira’s was from open play, Xhaka was from a corner). And before we worry about “who will take corners” Ozil was boss of that before Wenger decided to give it to Xhaka. Ozil, Mkhitaryan, and Torreira can take free kicks as well.
Who will score from direct free kicks? The forwards. I would have Ozil take them and get the ball into the mixer for Lacazette and Auba.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that I know better than Unai Emery. I’m also not suggesting that this will ever happen. In fact, this post is actually meant to just highlight how good both of Arsenal’s young midfielders are. I do think that one day we will see this lineup and when we do, I think it will be a Douzi.
Sources: Opta via SofaScore.com and WhoScored.com