Burden lifted: Ozil’s Arsenal career could quickly change thanks to hungry new face – opinion

Dani Ceballos and Mesut Ozil are two graceful players. Individuals with the capabilities of unlocking stern defences.

Ozil, of course, is a World Cup winner and has won multiple honours with Real Madrid.

His new teammate, however, is at the opposite end of his career. Fresh off the back of European U21 success with Spain, Ceballos has also played for Real.

Technically, he still does.

The 23-year-old signed for the Gunners on loan for the season, becoming one of the first major moves in Arsenal’s summer activity.

They completed their work in rather stunning fashion by landing Nicolas Pepe for a club-record fee whilst also finally getting their man in Kieran Tierney.

Yet it’s the loan star who has so far made the biggest impact in N5.

Ceballos was rather mistreated at Real Madrid, a situation that had Zinedine Zidane having to publicly apologise.

That is now in the past and instead, the midfielder has a chance of a fresh start.

The Spaniard got off the mark brilliantly against Burnley at home, putting in a shift that was way above any of his teammates.

Against Sean Dyche’s men he was magnificent, claiming two assists, having three shots and also winning two tackles, per WhoScored. It was the complete performance from a man seemingly left in the wilderness at Real.

But there is a bigger picture here and one that involves Ozil.

For different reasons, Ceballos can lift a burden from the German’s shoulders in 2019/20, that’s if Unai Emery can find a role for him following a security incident involving Sead Kolasinac too.

Understandably, Ozil is yet to feature this season but it surely won’t be too long before he’s back in the fold.

His rather strained relationship with the manager was well documented last season as Emery left him out of a trip to West Ham despite being fit whilst the former Madrid midfielder also started on the bench away at Bournemouth.

Whether he has the mentality to play on the road is questionable whilst this mystery illness he seems to have continues to be a problem.

He’s already missed a match this term because of it and it remains to be seen what the actual issue is. However, Ceballos is someone who can allow Ozil his off days.

Why? Because he can create goal-scoring opportunities. He laid on three against Burnley in his first home start.

Ozil’s history when it comes to assists is renowned. Throughout his career he has 213, 19 of which came in a single Premier League season during 2015/16 according to Transfermarkt.

He hasn’t come close since, and neither have any Arsenal players. Last season the highest number was eight and Ozil made the most key passes, 1.9, despite only playing 24 matches.

This shows Arsenal have concerns with creativity, particularly when the 30-year-old is missing.

Therefore, Ceballos can make all the difference. For Spain at the U21 Euros, he average 2.8 key passes per outing.

It’s a different level but it demonstrates the capabilities he has.

As a result, Arsenal can make do without their sometimes sluggish German this season if they have their new loanee ready and available.

This can particularly be the case on the road.

His performance against Liverpool was disappointing as he failed to make a single key pass on that occasion, but some of the qualities he’s displayed in his time with the Gunners show he can be the man Arsenal need away from home.

He can pass and he can also get stuck into a game defensively too, two dynamic qualities that are rarely on offer.

Ozil was left out last season because he wasn’t the type of energetic player to help them in ties away from the Emirates.

Ceballos is the opposite of this.

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He won two tackles against Liverpool and completed the same amount versus Burnley. His role in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against the latter was a fine example, hurrying his man before winning the ball back.

But this isn’t new to his game. Against Germany U21s in the European final this summer, he won four tackles and also made two interceptions, per WhoScored.

This is the major advantage the former Betis man has over Ozil but it proves why he can lift some unwanted burdens from him and make the ex-Germany international’s life easier.

In pre-season, Emery praised Ceballos’ hunger.

Certainly on the evidence we’ve seen so far, that isn’t an attribute that’s lacking.

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