Dani Ceballos’ Arsenal legacy flirted with disaster last night when two mistakes by the Spaniard gave Benfica the advantage in the second leg of our Europa League last-32 tie in Athens.
First the Spain international conceded a cheap free-kick on the edge of his box that Diogo Goncalves converted and in the second half a misjudged header back towards Bernd Leno teed up Rafa Silva to put the away side ahead.
Thankfully for the midfielder, a piledriver by Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late winner saved the Spaniard’s blushes and meant he was able to laugh off the collective heart attack he’d caused Gooners across the world.
After the match, Mikel Arteta was quick to point out that Ceballos’ efforts since he joined Arsenal on loan didn’t deserve to be undermined by an off night.
“I’m especially happy for him [Dani] because he really loves this game and he does everything in the right way to be as prepared as possible,” he said.
“You can see how he celebrates every single goal. He doesn’t have a 10 year contract at the club, he’s on loan and still feels and defends this club in the best possible way.
“I think someone like him deserves good things to happen to him in football.”
🔴⚪️🙌🏻👏🏼⚽️ This is football and you can always learn and make up for your errors! 💪 Up to the next round! Thank goodness😅! Let's go Gunners! Thanks @Aubameyang7 ❤️@Arsenal #EuropaLeague #VamosGunners #NextRound #ArsenalVsBenfica pic.twitter.com/VLbg0JCR6x
— Daniel Ceballos (@DaniCeballos46) February 25, 2021
He also noted: “He[Dani] is a player that lives this profession like the most important thing in his life, and when he made that mistake, if that would have cost the team to be out of the competition, it would have been mentally really tough.
“That’s when you need players in the team like the ones we have with Auba and Bukayo creating and KT scoring the goal to save him. Out of a difficult situation created a really nice moment.”
Ceballos has now played 65 games for the Gunners since joining on loan from Real Madrid in the summer. All three parties have a big decision to make about his future in the summer.