Dani Ceballos made his Arsenal debut, while Nicolas Pepe will arrive at Emirates Stadium after completing a medical examination. How improved is Arsenal’s power when this duo is present?
It is easy to recognize two of the drawbacks of the Emirates Stadium last season: the ability to exit pressing from the middle line to maintain the seamlessness in the gameplay, as well as the ball-making moves from the wing corridors.
Lack of people who do the above tasks well, it is easy to understand why Arsenal cannot deploy the football right away from the opponent’s field. Many times the Gunners’ defensive players have to choose a safe solution to pass to goalkeeper Bernd Leno, instead of boldly putting the ball into the opponent’s field early to defeat the organized defenses.
Coach Unai Emery, Sports Director Raul Sanllehi and Edu Technical Director quickly recognized these problems and sought to complement by quality recruits. For central midfield position, Arsenal successfully borrowed Ceballos from Real Madrid. He moved to Emirates Stadium after giving his strength to help the Spanish Under-21 team to win the European U21 Championship. Ceballos has many similarities with Santi Cazorla, a countryman and has played for many years for Arsenal. The strength of this 22-year-old midfielder is the ability to handle the ball well, possesses great ball passes, as well as thinking ready to put the ball forward to break the opponent’s defense, instead of just pure selection. Choose a safe solution to push the ball to the nearest teammate.
This is the complete opposite of Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder was slow, heavy, using his left foot with an excessive frequency, as well as a weak ability to play, making his play easy to capture. Both Cazorla and Ceballos have one thing in common: it doesn’t take too much time to handle the ball. On the contrary, Xhaka often slowed down the pace of the game because it needed time to handle the ball, making the opponent have enough time to approach or read his ball pass.
Find mutations from wings with Pepe
Of course, Arsenal not only needs a Ceballos to perfect the middle. They need more attack options, especially at the border. Pepe was targeted by Emirates Stadium after they failed to recruit Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace. The Ivory Coast player just went well (averaging 2.7 times per game in the previous season), had a rather high goal contribution, when he was one of the two players in the top five leagues. Europe contributes more than 20 goals and 10 assists. Speed and ability to break through enemy crafts is another strength of Pepe. His ball passes have clear intentions, plus a good technical background.
Before recruiting Pepe, Arsenal had a lot of difficulties in situations where the ball was deployed on both sides because wingers like Alex Iwobi were disappointed, while other options such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Oezil were good. Aaron Ramsey is just a temporary solution. Occasionally Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang also flocked to the wings, but this inadvertently limits the instinct to hunt the table of a Gabon striker.
In the previous seasons, Arsenal frequently owned mutant winger like Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, at a time when they had not been injured so badly that they had a negative impact on his career. Specialties gradually disappeared in the last years of Arsene Wenger dynasty. Emery realized that, but had to wait until this summer’s transfer window, Arsenal added a quality signature to raise the attack from the wings. Two rookies Ceballos and Pepe will definitely bring another image to Arsenal this season, instead of a previous season’s lack of vitality and lack of vitality.