Today, it was Dani Ceballos’ world and we were all just living in it. The Spanish central midfielder ran the show from start to finish, putting in a clear-cut Man of the Match performance. Okay, technically it was until he was subbed off, but close enough. His boxcar stats were simply stunning. Just as impressive was his close control — he glides around the pitch with the ball seemingly glued to his foot.
Dani Ceballos' game by numbers vs. Burnley:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 17, 2019
100% take-ons completed
90% pass accuracy
4 take-ons completed
4 chances created
3 fouls won
2 tackles made
No one could get near him. pic.twitter.com/3DwPY1oCkG
Ceballos’ two assists came on two class finishes from Arsenal strikers. The first, from Alexander Lacazette, was an incredible display of strength and composure. The Frenchman held off two defenders, was almost certainly fouled, turned, and lashed it through the keeper’s legs as he was going to ground. The second, from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, was good recognition and a great shot. He drove the ball upfield, found a pocket of space, saw the keeper leaning, and curled it low into the near corner. Aubameyang has scored every time he’s faced Burnley, 7 goals in 4 matches.
Arsenal’s defense was passable today. I’d give it a B / B-. The Burnley goal was a bit unlucky. A deflection came right to Ashley Barnes, and Matteo Guendouzi’s tackle actually put the ball off Barnes’ foot into the goal. Then again, the striker had drifted free between Guendouzi and David Luiz, which isn’t great. Other than that, Luiz looked solid on his Arsenal debut. His confidence on the ball and passing ability will be great for the Gunners this season. Not for nothing, he’s also got sneaky pace.
Nicolas Pépé impressed in his second Arsenal appearance. Swapping him on for Reiss Nelson (who put in a fine shift) improved the Arsenal attack. Pépé starts attacking moves. Nelson gets on the ball and does things further downstream in the move. The Gunners needed (and got) the former today. He also did this to Ben Mee, which I’m pretty sure is a crime in most countries.
All in all, a solid performance from the Gunners. Today’s win makes it the first time in 10 years Arsenal have opened a season with back-to-back wins. With away to Liverpool and home to Tottenham as the next two matches, those six points could go a long way towards making Arsenal’s position in the table after four look respectable as opposed to panic-inducing.