Dani Ceballos’s dream Arsenal debut gives Gunners plenty to be excited about
It’s safe to say that Dani Ceballos had a successful opening match at the Emirates Stadium. On loan from Real Madrid, the 23-year-old midfielder dazzled the home crowd on his full debut with the Gunners. Arsenal grabbed the victory against Burnley, as Ceballos provided assists on both goals scored by the north London club. As impressive as that is, it was his overall game that was truly special.
To go along with the two aforementioned assist, Ceballos also posted a 90% pass completion rate (63 of 70), made three key passes, completed all four of his attempted dribbles, and also collected two tackles as well. The practically flawless performance earned the Spaniard the game’s Man of the Match award.
Following the win, Ceballos reflected on the moment. “The truth is that for me it has been on of the most special days of my life,” claimed the midfielder. “I think that starting at home by winning and with this passion at the end of the match, I think it will be hard to forget this day for me.”
“I really want this year to truly demonstrate the football that I have inside,” Ceballos continued. “I have a lot of enthusiasm for this season and give a lot of joy to [the Arsenal fans]. The confidence they have in me, I want to return it to them with my performances.”
Although it was just one match, this should surely give Arsenal fans plenty to be excited about for the 2019/20 campaign. Active, energetic, technical, and tidy can all be used when discussing Ceballos; however, it is his versatility that makes him so dangerous. Able to play as a number 10 just in behind a striker, or deeper, in a more box-to-box role, the Spaniard could give opposing defenses nightmares going forward.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery addressed this versatility following the Burnley match on Saturday. “[We want] to use his quality in the best position in our team, said Emery. “I spoke with [Ceballos] before coming here, it’s to play as an eight and as a number 10. He started like a 10, but changed with [Joe] Willock.”
If Ceballos can keep this form throughout the entire season, the Arsenal brass will certainly want to talk to Real Madrid about making the player’s deal a permanent one. Though there was no option or obligation to buy Ceballos following his loan move, it has been reported that Florentino Perez, Real’s President, will sit down with Raul Sanllehi and company regarding the player at season’s end. The likelihood of anything coming out of that meeting would, however, seem doubtful.
Ultimately, Arsenal getting back into the top four would help deflect any anguish about Ceballos returning to Spain at the end of the current campaign. The Gunners will only be hoping that Ceballos can carry the confidence that he gained against Burnley and take it to Anfield at the weekend. He was virtually unplayable against the Clarets, but Liverpool is a different test.