Dani Ceballos: An Answer To Our Prayers?

We do love a hero in football, don’t we? So quickly crowned, venomously disavowed on their departure.

Mostly, not always. Liam Brady, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry. Different ages, different reasons; all understood and still adored. For others, the venom is undimmed down the years. Treachery is not easily forgiven; ask Frank Stapleton and Robin van Persie.

The pair left for Manchester United amid different circumstances. Stapleton ran his contract down, van Persie didn’t want to wait for his move to Old Trafford.

This weekend saw him disingenuously claim Arsenal didn’t offer him a new deal. That’s true, according to contemporary records including his own crass letter. It leaves out one important detail; the Snake didn’t want to sign a new deal.

He, hung by his own words, made it clear to Ivan and Arsene that a new deal would be left hanging in the wind. He was going.

If he’d left to go abroad – anywhere but the evil triumvirate of Liverpool, United and Spurs – few would have objected. Most agreed that Arsenal weren’t spending wisely and that the reliance on youth was over. But he didn’t; the snake left for Old Trafford, succumbing to the dark side of the force.

The funniest part of his move is that Ferguson blatantly lied to him. Van Persie claimed he asked the Scot to confirm he was staying at the helm for at least three years; Sir Alex was gone inside twelve months.

Alexis Sanchez is on the cusp of leaving Old Trafford two years after his rash departure from Arsenal. It hasn’t worked out for him; tough. I find it hard to laugh, however. We didn’t come out of the deal well; the £60m bid we rejected from Manchester City looks foolhardy with every passing wage bill.

Super Chicken

This morning sees Sam Wallace claim the squad labelled him ‘Super Chicken’. Essentially, his ego and focus on his own performance were to the detriment of the team. The logic sustaining that is how we didn’t perform any worse in his absence.

That’s a matter of opinion. Certainly, there were numerous occasions when we needed someone as dynamic as Alexis at his best. This is all supposition; we don’t know he would have rescued us but it can’t be proven he wouldn’t either.

Desperation breeds strange dreams.

Anyway, this is all a long way round to Dani Ceballos; the latest hero. Our reality is that he leaves at the end of this season, determined to prove his worth at Real Madrid. The hope is that the Spaniards become so desperate they spend hundreds of millions of euros this summer and winter.

A permanent deal might be possible if FFP has teeth. Manchester City flipped the finger at FIFA and probably think they can do the same with UEFA. PSG are less convinced; they are selling Neymar to cover themselves.

Of course, we’ll end up buying Ceballos and get a string of anonymous performances; that’s the Arsenal way.

There’s more to the deal than that; does he like England, can he perform in the big matches, etc.

That’s the beauty of football. We get carried away for 90 minutes and the immediate days after. Sensible stuff goes out the window. You know, the practicalities of signing a player.

And whether he can maintain the level of performance. We’ll get some indication of that on Saturday at Anfield. Ceballos has the talent to grab the game by the scruff of the neck; can he mentally in the cauldron of noise which rises in the opening minutes.

Superman, SuperDan, Super Womble

The sloth or genius of others impact on his performance, of course. I wouldn’t expect him to carry the team and given the talent we have, he shouldn’t have to. Then again…

Ceballos was outstanding against Burnley. Not perfect but as I said yesterday, I cannot think of a better home debut. The only thing missing was a goal. It wasn’t, however, through lack of effort and some good goalkeeping.

It is the big matches that we need his talents in, where he needs to flourish. Let’s be honest, it’s in his selfish best interests to perform. Real Madrid exists – in its own mind – for the big matches; recent league form exposes the flaw in their thinking. Supported by three Champions Leagues in a row, mind you.

Ceballos could be a big player. He could be a good thing for Arsenal. I wonder, however, when we look back next season, with another shiny new toy, whether we’ll remember him as fondly as we do right now?

VAR was the next big thing and its detractors have plenty of material to work with. Manchester City had a perfectly good goal disallowed because it struck an arm as it traversed the penalty area. An attacking arm; handball!

Had it been a defender’s arm, would it have been a penalty? Of course not. The IFAB in their flatulent wisdom decided an imbalanced law was the answer to debates through the years. Mr Bumble is not amused by such a one-sided rule and no doubt, one quietly disappearing next summer.

A Quantum of Solace

If there is any solace for Pep Guardiola, Sean the Ginger Dinosaur was equally unhappy when Ben Mee was punished for a handball he knew very little about. I have no sympathy for Sean; he was a twat after the game when he brought up diving as a spurious diversion to his own team’s stupidity and use of the black arts.

Maybe that won’t give Pep any solace after all. Still, at least the rule is being applied consistently across Europe. Leipzig had a perfectly good goal disallowed for similar reasons in their rout of Union Berlin. Romance, it seems, is as dead in the Bundesliga as it is in the Premier League.

’til Tomorrow.

23 thoughts on “Dani Ceballos: An Answer To Our Prayers?

  1. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Dyche’s whingeing certainly would have carried more weight had his players not clearly been instructed to leave a boot or knee in at every opportunity. His indignance was at an Arsenal that dares to give one back after so many years of turning the other cheek.
    I know we seem to be getting carried away by Ceballos and he may not do so well on the road but he really seems to have all the ingredients to a midfield dish we’ve been starved of. Just this once, I think I’m going to believe the hype.

  2. Damon says:


    Details carried over from the previous post. I’m loving this new look site already!!


  3. Michael says:

    It’s in his own interest to be the best he can be. He doesn’t seem to be the player that would be happy to sit on the Madrid bench.
    Hopefully we get to enjoy a class player, for however long.

  4. C says:

    Anybody who had watched Ceballos either at the U21’s or in La Liga knew the talent and performances where there. Can he do it consistently, absolutely he can and I hope Madrid spends money on Ericksen, Pogba or vanDer Bek do we can make him a permanent….if he wants to stay. The thing is Torriera hasn’t even played beside him yet and that will be really exciting.

  5. Bill says:

    Great post yogi. Love the new look.

    I think we are getting close to triple digits with the number of players we get excited about because of a couple of adrenaline fueled early season performances especially in this case it’s 1 home game against last years 15th place team. Coming into the PL is not easy and it’s almost guaranteed that things will get a lot tougher and there are going to be struggles. How many of the players like him that we have gotten excited about after a couple games have actually lived up to the hype? The correct answer is almost none. The other issue is if he does play well then Madrid will want him back. All of that said hopefully he can play well enough to keep his spot in the starting 11.

  6. Bill says:

    I am certainly not suggesting that Ceballos is going to be a bust but to hope that he is the “answer to our prayers” is probably unrealistic. Just last season we thought Torriera and Guendouzi were both the next great thing. I remember someone said Guendouzi was the greatest prospect since Fabregas and Torriera was going to change our defense and look how that turned out. Neither player was a bust but the reality of PL football certainly caught up with both very after the initial adrenaline surge wore off.

  7. jonnygunner says:

    Nice to know you’re still upbeat Bill…

    I am certainly not suggesting that Ceballos is going to be a bust but to hope that he is the “answer to our prayers” is probably unrealistic. Just last season we thought Torriera and Guendouzi were both the next great thing. I remember someone said Guendouzi was the greatest prospect since Fabregas and Torriera was going to change our defense and look how that turned out. Neither player was a bust but the reality of PL football certainly caught up with both very after the initial adrenaline surge wore off.

  8. Michael says:

    Bill I bet you are a wow at parties.
    But seriously C goes 1 way you go the complete opposite.
    Last years position in the league is no guarantee of this years, you make it sound like we only had to turn up, Burnley will surely ruffle a few feathers this season.
    With regards to Guendouzi and Torreira this will be their 2nd season and Guendouzi is putting in good performances so far and he is just 20yo, he can surely only get better with a settled midfield and age.
    As for Ceballos, I can’t think of another player for any team who put in a better performance, in their 1st start for a new club and country. The omens are looking good enough to get a bit excited.

  9. jonnygunner says:


    I only wish Guendouzi would stop throwing himself to the floor(not to sound like Dyche)-but he does it at least once a match.
    On Saturday he did it and grabbed the ball before he hit the deck.
    He leaves us down to ten men when he’s on his arse and the ref doesn’t give him the decision.

  10. Bill says:

    Only time will tell and its certainly possible that Torriera and Guendouzi may turn out to be top players. However, both started out great but both also struggled to have any impact for the latter 2/3 of their first season once their initial adrenaline surge wore off. Ceballos may turn out to be a world class player someday but unfortunately we probably won’t get the benefit because we only have him for 1 year. I am not sure why anyone who has watched the team for the last 15 years would expect Ceballos to somehow avoid the same struggles as Torriera and Guendouzi.

  11. Bill says:

    Strange as I sounds If we really think Ceballos is going to be a superstar then you could make a reasonable argument that it’s best if he does struggle this year. No way Madrid would consider selling him to us If he comes anywhere close to living up to the current level of hype this season.

  12. jonnygunner says:


    Because he’s a different person/player Bill.
    I’ve been watching our team for far in excess of 15 years mate-like many on here.
    You’ve gotta have hope Bill.

  13. C says:


    You know my mate Bill doesn’t deal in hope. Youngsters, midfielders, any player under 25m; all of that does not breed hope!

  14. C says:


    Torriera, Guendouzi, De Bruyne, Salah…..no matter the player no matter the quality they can have matches where they struggle in the PL but that DOES NOT mean that they aren’t quality and can’t produce. You also have to remember the fact they grew as the season, had a dip but also bounced back. The festive period tends to get to most players no matter how experienced but the quality is there.

    Ceballos has it all and when Pep calls you one of the best midfielders in Europe, its nothing to shrug at. I’m not saying he is going to win Player of the Year or even Player of the Season at Arsenal,; but the boy is a talent and provides us something we have lacked since Santi: a midfielder in that pivot role who is comfortable on the half turn and can operate in close quarters but also can do the dirty work and help link our defense to the attack.

  15. Steve says:

    The cynicism is unnecessary. It’s our privilege to enjoy a player that put in an amazing shift. We signed on loan for a year. No point moaning that. We just want to be in top 4. And the signs are looking good. Enjoy the moment while it last. You are not excited? Go ask Chelsea. I dream of a win for us in Anfield. Maybe people will then wake up to the reality of what is happening.

  16. Blue Yonder says:


    Well said. You can only look at what’s in front of you and, for Arsenal, it’s where we stand at present after two games and the forthcoming match at Anfield. How the team will perform in the coming months, and how players develop, are imponderables. Sanchez started out like a house on fire and was great for two seasons. After that…
    Ceballos has started out in fine form and all we can do is hope it continues.

  17. freddo says:

    Aren’t we seeing just how devastatingly hopeless the last 10 years of the Wenger era were. And they still haven’t cleaned up the mess.

  18. C says:

    Blue Yonder,

    Exactly, we will see just how much quality we have in the coming weeks but also, more than in the past couple of years, we have depth. Talent and desire rise to the top and after 2 matches and 6 points we have yet to even see what many believe to be our best XI. Imagine how we look with Torriera, Tierney, Bellerin and rotating Holding not to mentio Ozil. While many don’t fancy us against Liverpool, I say lets see what happens.

  19. jonnygunner says:

    Quite a few reports out today saying that Mustafi is on his way to Roma for a year on loan,with a £23m buy out at the end……..now THAT would be magic from Raul if he pulled it off.

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