Arsenal fans were very delighted with the unique performance of Dani Ceballos as many said he is really a joy to watch, especially in the second half of Arsenal Premier League home game with Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium today.
Ceballos performance was very impressive despite been quiet in the early minutes of the game, he easily won balls from the opposition and always tries to find Bukayo Saka with good through balls, he also seemed to be the man at the heart of the arsenal play and his absence was felt after he was substituted.
Arsenal was apparently over relying on him to play out from the back, control the game tempo and play effective finals third passes to the front three, which is far too much responsibility for one central midfielder, but yet he still proved to be the best player on the pitch.
Dani Ceballos starts against Sheffield United: He made 92% pass accuracy, 82 accurate passes, 2 key passes, 3 long balls, 3 dribbles, 1 foul won, 2 interceptions, and 4 duels won.
As the 2020-21 Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, where Fulham hosted Arsenal in a 0:3 encounter for the curtain-raiser in a stadium unable to welcome fans and missing one of its four stands.
It represents great symbolism for the campaign ahead: Is anyone really ready to play football?
Half-baked transfer activity, a farce of a pre-season and an international break that interrupted vital preparation time would suggest no. Alas, we move on.
Football is a business that must continue, and as post-lockdown football in June taught us, it will only take a few matches for everyone to get back up to speed and things to feel pretty normal again. Heck, we might even get some fans in by Christmas.
All of these uncertainties make predicting the Premier League table and the winner for the campaign ahead even more impossible than usual, but have we ever shied away from a challenge? Absolutely not. So let’s give it a go!
20. West Bromwich Albion
The summer business has been solid and well thought through, but as so many promoted sides have found over the past few years, the step up in quality is serious.
It’s tough to have faith that West Brom’s collection of strikers (Charlie Austin, Kenneth Zohore and Callum Robinson) can score the goals that keep them up, while the first run of fixtures (Leicester City, Everton, Chelsea, Southampton, Burnley) is rough.
Once you get into a downward spiral in the Premier League, it’s hard to break out of.
Fulham have been promoted as a much more settled unit than in 2018, allowing them the chance at a much smoother summer of business. But like with West Brom, it feels like what they’ve done (at least so far) probably isn’t enough.
That could change in the weeks to come, but concerns over the attack’s potency and the defence’s ability to cope are fair. Captain Tom Cairney needs to shine much brighter than he did two years ago, though injuries played a part in his previous struggles in the Premier League.
18. Brighton & Hove Albion
You’re going to start sensing a theme here: When it comes to Brighton, who scores the goals?
Outside of Neal Maupay, who managed a solid 10 last season, the Seagulls badly need Leandro Trossard to step up more regularly and the talented Alexis Mac Allister to explode.
There’s a lot to like about this Brighton side under Graham Potter, but it’s hard to escape the feeling they don’t feel particularly threatening. They’re one of four clear contenders for 18th, and it’s a tough spot to call, but they’re the pick.
17. Crystal Palace
Palace have committed to freshening up their side and getting a little younger in the transfer market, which is a crucial step for them; it had felt a little like they were sleepwalking toward relegation in previous years.
Eberechi Eze will steal focus from opposing defences and keep them more honest toward Wilfried Zaha on the opposite side. That, plus Roy Hodgson’s reliable coaching in the clutch, is what probably keeps them up.
16. Aston Villa
It’s been a nervy summer for Villa as their pursuit of a striker hit dead end after dead end, but Ollie Watkins has finally signed, and he transforms their prospects in the final third.
Add his speed and potency to the fact that this group of players continue to rise to every challenge set to them—the most recent one being a remarkable eight points in four games to survive relegation in July—and it feels silly to bet against them, particularly with Jack Grealish still around.
15. West Ham
Arguably the most difficult team to place in the table, West Ham are, quite literally, anyone’s guess.
On talent levels alone, they’ll be more than fine; Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio form a great spine, Tomas Soucek is emerging as David Moyes’ new Marouane Fellaini and they have a glut of playmakers to sprinkle on top.
The concern is just how combustible the club is. When your captain is tweeting angrily about player sales, you know things aren’t quite right—and that’s a threat that constantly hovers over the Hammers and puts them in relegation contention.
14. Newcastle United
A predicted table compiled two weeks ago would have had Newcastle in the relegation zone, no doubt. There was more than a fair share of fortune attached to quite a few of their results last season, and had the same side continued into 2020-21, it probably wouldn’t have gone well.
But the club clearly recognised this, and in recent days, they have pulled off a series of blinders in the transfer market. Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis have followed Jeff Hendrick (the most Steve Bruce player ever), greatly strengthening the side and solving problem positions.
It’s now pretty easy to see the Magpies gliding to safety.
13. Leeds United
A newly promoted side finishing as high as 13th isn’t such a bold prediction any longer—particularly in light of Sheffield United’s top-half finish last season—but this will still take some by surprise.
Quite simply, it’s all about the manager, Marcelo Bielsa. A figure held up as the tactical inspiration for Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and more, his high-pressing, abrasive tactics will take many by surprise and take a while to adjust to.
Add this to the fact that they have bought well—Rodrigo and Robin Koch are very good players—and a quick start (that opening game against Liverpool aside) that sees them sail to safety is coming.
12. Sheffield United
Ah, yes—the ominous second season. So many promoted sides fall foul of it, as it can be so hard to sustain momentum over a break and into another campaign.
A 12th-placed finish would be a drop of four places for the Blades on last season, but most fans would accept a stabilisation campaign. They will be less of an unknown but just as difficult to play against in midfield, just as difficult to break down and just as robust up front.
Not a single signing in sight for Burnley, which is probably cause for concern.
But Sean Dyche and his men are bomb-proof; a legion of people have predicted them to go down every season since promotion (this writer did last year), and they continually defy those suggestions.
They have a strong, robust spine, England’s best goalkeeper, an excellent prospect in Dwight McNeil and a battering-ram strike force that still bullies defences.
A 10th-placed finish would probably disappoint Everton, but the gap between where they are and where they want to be is absolutely massive—bigger, perhaps, than they realise.
Signing Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez represents potentially transcendent business, but we’re holding back a little on the Toffees because there’s a lot to put in place before they take off. We need to see it.
If post-lockdown football is anything to go by, Southampton are a rising force that look set to hit the 2020-21 campaign running.
Their behind-closed-doors points tally (18) was bettered only by those of the two Manchester clubs as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s ideas fully set in and his team swept opponents away one by one.
A ninth-placed finish will need Danny Ings to hit top form again, Che Adams to rise up alongside him and the defence to remain as stout and reliable as it was in June and July.
8. Leicester City
We shouldn’t be talking about Leicester City here at eighth because their season prospects should be so much greater.
Their post-lockdown slump saw them slip from third to fifth, missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification as things unravelled a little. It’s hardly an unfamiliar story wherever Brendan Rodgers is involved, and the trend has been that when that happens, Rodgers has struggled to claw it back.
With a crowded schedule because of their Europa League involvement and no Ricardo Pereira (injury) or Ben Chilwell (transferred)—though Timothy Castagne is an excellent pickup—we’re a little down on the Foxes this term.
7. Tottenham Hotspur
Talentwise, Spurs are a top-five outfit, no question.
But the club are up against other issues this season that are beyond their control—namely, the ludicrous playing schedule they face because of their involvement in four competitions.
Thanks to the Europa League qualifiers and the Carabao Cup third round, they could play seven games in September, with the first coming on the 13th. The squad as it stands can’t handle that; they need three or four more through the door to cope, physically, with the demands that beckon.
Perhaps seventh is too much of an adjustment—and were it not for the schedule, Spurs would be higher—but it just seems impossible for Tottenham to play up to their full potential.
6. Wolverhampton Wanderers
While Spurs’ schedule has filled up, Wolves’ looks pretty clean. We’re tipping that as a difference-maker between the two.
Even having lost Matt Doherty to Spurs, Wolves represent one of the strongest clubs in the division, and now they’re able to focus solely on domestic matters, they should rise up the table again.
The quality of Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Adama Traore is undoubted, and the defence will be as strong and combative as ever.
Arsenal in fifth is a big call, but they’re on the up, and there’s a lot to like about what Mikel Arteta has done over the course of 2020.
Adding Willian to an already strong attacking corps gives them incredible flexibility in how they line up, while the addition of Gabriel Magalhaes goes a long way to finally shoring things up at the back.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spearheading a tactically sound and intriguing side, they’re in line for a very good season.
4. Manchester United
United have been generally superb in 2020, with Bruno Fernandes representing the final piece in what became a very, very good starting XI.
But it’s clear they need more players to take a big step forward this season. As soon as one of the 11 players they came to rely on during that goal-filled run post-lockdown ducks out, the team will take a step back.
Placing them in fourth is a show of respect for how good they can be but also recognition of the fact that they need three or more new faces to be able to sustain that sort of level all campaign long.
Chelsea, they’ve been busy, haven’t they?
Six signings, five of which directly upgrade the first team, have whipped fans into a frenzy of optimism and hope. Can they mount a title challenge, or at least close the frankly cavernous gap to last season’s top two?
The former still feels impossible, but the latter is within their grasp. If they can pull to within 10 or even 15 points of Liverpool and Manchester City (they finished 33 points off the title in 2019-20), riding on the wings of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, that’s a building block toward a future challenge of their own.
The agonising wait for their first Premier League title is over; the 2019-20 campaign, however tumultuous, felt like “mission complete” for Liverpool and their jubilant fans.
It will be interesting to see what their title defence looks like given how this summer’s course has run. While the Reds have invested in just a back-up left-back, passed on Timo Werner and are threatening to do the same with Thiago Alcantara, Manchester City have purchased more aggressively and are threatening to continue, per B/R’s Dean Jones.
1. Manchester City
So, while Liverpool may be 5 per cent flatter, having achieved the ultimate, City will be the opposite. There will be a hunger to them in 2020-21 after a genuinely disappointing previous campaign; the last time Pep Guardiola endured such a season, his side bounced back with 100 points.
None of this is to discredit the Reds’ motivation or professionalism, but in such a tight race between two elite sides, 5 per cent of something either way could decide it. We’ll tip City, the wounded animal with a point to prove, to regain the title this term.
The transfer of the young, highly rated attacking midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen follows on from the purchase of Timo Werner from another Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, and is in addition to the recruitment of Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva as Frank Lampard’s squad for the forthcoming season takes shape. They have also signed young French defender Malang Sarr who is going out on loan with a view to gaining more experience before he is involved.
Havertz had this to say on becoming a Chelsea player. ‘I am very happy and proud to be here, For me it is a dream come true to play in a big club like Chelsea and I can’t wait to meet all the players and the trainers. Yeah, I am very happy to be here!’
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: ‘Kai is one of the best players of his age in world football, so we are very happy that his future lies at Chelsea. He has proven pedigree in one of the best leagues in Europe, he plays for the German national side and he is an exciting, dynamic talent. We are delighted to be able to add his versatility and quality to the squad before the season begins.’
Havertz has become one of German football’s highest-rated young players following his breakthrough at Bayer Leverkusen, setting a series of records for his achievements, including those for the youngest player to make 50 and 100 Bundesliga appearances, which were both previously held by Timo Werner.
Tall (he is 6ft 2in), fast and technically excellent, the 21-year-old has shown impressive versatility given his age. Predominantly a central attacking midfielder known for his accurate and incisive passing, along with an ability to retain possession in tight spaces and win the ball back in advanced positions, Havertz also played wide on the right earlier in his career, cutting inside onto his favoured left foot.
More recently, he proved himself a capable striker while filling in for that role due to injuries in the second half of 2019/20, and has been dubbed an ‘Alleskonner’ in his homeland – meaning a player who can do everything.
Having received his early education at local lower-league clubs Alemannia Mariadorf and Alemannia Aachen, the former run by his grandfather, Havertz joined Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 11 in 2010 and made a name for himself in their youth set-up, receiving the Silver Fritz Walter Medal in 2016, given to the best Under-17 players in Germany.
He made his senior debut that same year, becoming the club’s youngest Bundesliga debutant, and continued to grow in stature over the course of the 2016/17 season. He made his first Champions League start in that season’s last 16, although he missed the second leg of their defeat to Atletico Madrid because it clashed with his school exams. Before the end of the campaign he had his first goal, in a 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg, making him Leverkusen’s youngest Bundesliga scorer.
Anglo-Nigerian youngster Bukayo Saka has emerge as the UEFA Europa League Best Young Player of 2020, according to the latest announcement published by the highly rated statistics website: whoscored.com.
The 18-year-old player who is top on the list of players the Nigeria Football Federation are trying to convince to play for Nigeria was a top performer for Arsenal Football Club in the second rated European Club competition for the 2019/2020 Season.
The Hale End academy graduate has enjoyed a stunning breakthrough season and has underlined his versatility by playing in a variety of different positions, from left back to central midfield.
Bukayo Saka was voted ahead of Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo and Kai Havertz who has been tipped to join Chelsea.
As quoted by whoscored.com in the end of the season performance publication, Saka scored more in the competition than the Premier League and was also the best creator in his team this season with 11 assists.
“His finest came way back in September against strong opposition in Eintracht Frankfurt, stealing the show with a goal and two assists to earn his first of three man of the match ratings from just six appearances.”
The men of Mikel Arteta have come out top at the expense of Pep Guardiola for the first time in few years and in the process broken the Manchester City record of 22 marches unbeaten in cups competition.
Arsenal under Arteta has shown great promise, though, it stand in the 9th position on the Premier League table at the moment without any hope of Champions League football next season, but the signs of the future is great.
Thrashing Manchester City 2 : 0 is not a small fit considering that it is one of the hope of Man City of winning major trophy this season. And now even though, Arsenal season is not as good as desired, but it still may hopefully ends well a silverware.
The outcome of Chelsea vs. Manchester United second Semi Final today will complete the match up for the Emirate Cup (FA Cup) Final to be decided in August.
The win coming immediately after Arsenal dusting the English Champion, Liverpool on Wednesday in similar passion, coming from behind to win the game 2 : 1 is a clear statement of intend on the part of Arsenal of what to expect next season.
The tactical superiority is fully responsible, as Mikel Arteta come with a game plan and in the end executed the game plan to perfection against Liverpool and Manchester City.
Concern over the future of players like Aubameyang, Lacazette leaving Arsenal for Champions League football elsewhere is likely to die off, as the team is obviously on the right direction. With transfer market ahead of us all Arteta needs are couple of option in attack and defence, especially the defensive midfield to support young promising players like; Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, Maitland-Niles and a world class holding and commanding playmaker to stand for Mesut Ozil who obviously has seen his better days in the Emirate to build a formidable team next season.