Fantasy Football

Arsenal loan signing Dani Ceballos may not be goal and assist man Unai Emery needs

Many Premier League observers have focused on Liverpool’s failure to sign a star player, but the other top six teams haven’t set the transfer market on fire either. The Gunners have, however, made one signing that will excite fans. Of course, that is the loan signing of Real Madrid’s 22-year-old central midfielder Dani Ceballos.

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The Spaniard comes with a strong reputation as a player. But will Ceballos excel at the Emirates like fellow Spaniard Santi Cazorla or will he bomb like Denis Suarez?

Dani Ceballos – Real Madrid 2017-18

Ceballos spent just two seasons at Real Madrid after joining from rivals Real Betis in 2017. The midfielder played just 12 times in his debut Real Madrid season scoring two goals and providing zero assists.

His expected goals (xG) for the 2017-18 season was 0.38 meaning he did well with his scoring opportunities. Ceballos’ expected assists (xA) was 0.24, which meant his lack of providing a pass to set up a goal wasn’t off by much despite missing the target.

Ceballos’ two goals came just inside the penalty area to the left of the ‘D’. The shooting area was nearly identical for both strikes. Three of Ceballos’ five shots that were saved, blocked or missed came from outside the 18-yard box.

Dani Ceballos – 2018-19

The midfielder’s second season at the Santiago Bernabeu saw his appearances nearly double. Ceballos appeared in 23 La Liga games scoring three goals. It was 0.76 goals better than his xG. He once again failed to register an assist missing the xA mark of 1.25.

Unlike his first season at Real Madrid, two of Ceballos’ three goals came from outside the box while the third was a tap in from close range.

Meanwhile, nine shots from outside the 18-yard box were saved, blocked, or missed. Ceballos’ goals were scored every 415 minutes.

In addition, he tallied three yellow cards in 1,245 minutes on the pitch. Ceballos averaged just over 45 minutes per match.

Dani Ceballos – What will he do for Arsenal?

Ceballos can play as a central midfielder, attacking midfielder, or left-sided midfielder. However, his lack of assists — zero in two seasons at Real Madrid — does not bode well for him suddenly turning into a goal provider at Arsenal.

In his two seasons at Real Betis before moving to the Santiago Bernabeu, Ceballos tallied a total of four assists and two goals.

It would be foolish to suddenly think Ceballos will turn into a goal-scoring machine or top of the league goal provider.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi was the team’s leading Fantasy Premier League points-man last season. His 99 points were the best of an Arsenal midfielder. Iwobi scored three goals and tallied eight assists to lead the way in midfield points.

Can Ceballos top Iwobi’s points? Perhaps. Will he equal the Nigerian’s assists numbers? History does not show that Ceballos will be able to overtake the midfielder’s numbers from last season.

The new Arsenal midfielder looks set to play a big part in Unai Emery’s team with Aaron Ramsey gone. The now-departed midfielder excelled in xG and xA last term. Ramsey scored above his xG of 3.71 (actual goals four) and tallied more than his 2.30 xA (actually assists six).

Ceballos isn’t a like for like change. The question is, however: will he be more Ramsey or Denis Suarez?