Dani Ceballos was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up for for today’s 4-0 win over Newcastle.
The last time the Spaniard started a game for the Gunners was in early November, the 1-1 draw with Vitoria, during which he picked up the hamstring injury which sidelined him for almost two months.
Mikel Arteta made it clear that his compatriot would have to up his game in training if he wanted to play games – around the time the Real Madrid man’s future was mooted to be in doubt as he targetted a move away to secure a place in the Spain squad for Euro 2020.
However, it seems as if the 23 year old has really got his head down at London Colney and impressed the boss sufficiently for greater involvement.
“He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough,” said Arteta to the BBC.
“He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.
“Dani was ideal for this game in that game position today. The way he’s been training he completely deserves a chance.
“I’m so glad with his performance.”
That’s high praise indeed when Nicolas Pepe scored one and assisted two, and Bukayo Saka delivered his 8th assist of the season – the team’s most assists by some distance.
It’s definitely overstating it, but it was an impressive performance from Ceballos, and after such a long period out of the team, it’s good to see him back because having greater options in the final part of the season can only be a good thing.