When talking of Dani Ceballos, one instantly references the illustrious debut against Burnley back in the summer sun. A technical masterclass of fast passing, intense dribbling, and conclusion which resulted in some hand in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s scorching winning attack.
Fast forward a few months and it isn’t merely the weather, that has become bleaker. Whilst a significant hamstring injury has meant, since November, Ceballos’ playing time was taken from his hands, the matches leading up to his injury didn’t do much to create Gunners fans feel too aggrieved in his oncoming hiatus in the area.
Arteta, talking to the media over a week ago said, ‘He’s getting much closer to the physical fitness levels that I expect from him to be competing with his team-mates.
“But he’s a player that could fit our personality and now he wants to take a step forward and make things hard for me and my choice. Now he’s about to step in.”
When Arsenal conceded late at the weekend against Sheffield United, Arteta decided to trust his side to discover an even afterward winner, choosing to not throw the Spaniard. Whether this is an indication that Ceballos’ compatriot nevertheless doesn’t yet trust him enough to alter a match remains unclear.
But, Arteta is appropriate that Ceballos can match the style where he desires The Gunners to perform. Having played at the more central number 10 function and as a heftier number 8, it creates a dilemma regarding whether Mesut Ozil or among Granit Xhaka or Lucas Torreira are ousted.
Based on the current form, it would be most likely to find the former German global switch out with the more stubborn 23-year-old. The 10 becomes almost another striker along with Alexandre Lacazette. Ozil matches this function rather well yet Ceballos less so.
Santi Cazorla was frequently referencing to when describing Ceballos because of his propensity to come profound, collect the ball and push at opposition players before finding a pass. From the Arteta system, the number 10 isn’t tasked with falling back to drive play ahead, more so this is the task of both pivot midfielders.
Were Arteta to opt to switch Xhaka out for Ceballos, it would certainly add more attacking flair, something Arsenal have been in search of with too many opportunities being made in matches, but the defensive frailties will most likely be further exposed to resistance attacks. This a flaw too important to ignore and therefore Xhaka and Torreira, barring any improbable January activity, seem set to keep their tenure at the bottom of Arteta’s midfield.
Regrettably, for Ceballos, the most likely scenario is that the Spaniard continues to struggle for minutes from the seat. With the coming FA Cup and Europa League fixtures, there should be opportunities to reveal Mikel Arteta the way he can assist the Gunners’ fight back in this second half of this season.