Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has been unfairly treated since joining the west London club in a £50m deal from Liverpool, according to Mikel Arteta.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's clash between Arsenal and Chelsea, Arteta said some of the criticism directed at his fellow Spaniard has been unwarranted.
"I don't like the way he has been treated because I have known him since we were 16, 17 and I really appreciate him," said Arteta.
"He is a friend of mine. Obviously, football is like that - it doesn't matter what you have done in the past, it is only what you have done in the last few weeks.
"He has been criticised. Mentally he is a really strong guy even if someone doubts him.
"When you play as a striker and they pay £50m for you, you are under huge pressure."
Since joining Chelsea for a British record fee 18-months ago, Torres has scored just nine goals in 51 league appearances. Although Arteta believes a player's position will influence the level of criticism that comes their way.
"When the ball isn't going in the net, it is even more difficult because people always look at that.
"For a striker, sometimes it is not fair. For a midfielder or a defender it is a bit easier to adapt."
Despite wishing Torres returns to the kind of form that marked him out as one of the most feared strikers in Europe, Arteta will be hoping it comes after tomorrow's fixture at the Emirates.
"Hopefully, he is going to get over that and it is going to become a better situation because it is not nice," he said.
"I talk to him a lot. When we were in Liverpool, we used to live next to each other and he is a really nice guy. Everyone would tell you the same.
"Even if he plays for Chelsea, I don't want something bad to happen to him. Obviously when it comes to the game tomorrow though, we are not friends."Reuse content