Dani Ceballos is a wonderful character at Arsenal.
His demeanour off the pitch and his chest-pumping on it are endearing qualities from the perspective of Arsenal fans. Someone who gives his all. Plays for the badge.
While the Spaniard may not have hit the heights expected of him in north London, such battling traits can go a long way in this division. That said, aggression and dedication can also boil over.
As was revealed during the international break, Dani Ceballos and David Luiz were involved in a minor altercation that resulted in the Brazilian clocking his teammate over the nose. Blood was drawn apparently. Must have been terrible!
Of course it wasn’t. This is top-level football, emotions can get the better of everyone, and such instances in training indicate that the the standard of practice is dogged and committed.
Ceballos had initially called out the claims and labelled them as incorrect. He’s since backtracked on his initial position while speaking to The Sun, but insisted only good will come of the scuffle.
"“I’m not going to say that there wasn’t a clash or a scuffle. It was not an exemplary behaviour but it is good to see Arsenal is alive – that the team has character.“We are two footballers with very similar leadership qualities and these things can happen.“We didn’t let a single day go by. We spoke that same afternoon after training. We have to learn so it does not happen again.”"
Despite a lack of goal input this season – and last – Ceballos can’t be beaten with the lack of desire stick. He lists himself as a leader, and while someone without a strong grasp of English, constant communication on the pitch and backing to the younger players demonstrates that.
Why he hasn’t provided enough is not solely his fault; the system isn’t fluid and he’s asked to play deeper than initially intended when he joined at the beginning of last season. Mikel Arteta clearly doesn’t fancy him playing in an advanced role with less emphasis on covering passing lanes and backline protection, which restricts elements in his game that would flourish in an advanced role.
He looks set to start against Wolves based on his minor involvement on Thursday, where the hopeful return of Thomas Partey may see him operate a few yards further forward. He, and the team, need a big performance.