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Dani Ceballos is not Arsenal's own but masterminding Newcastle's downfall can help secure his future

Turkish Delight, The Arctic Monkeys and loan signings. Of the things toughest to love, those three are certainly up there. 

But just as rose water with a hint of pistachio and the nostalgic qualities of Fluorescent Adolescent can go a long way, so too can a stylish Iberian with a sculpted beard and top-knot nourish the soul even if only for a little while. 

It was around 65 minutes in against Newcastle that Arsenal fans began singing Dani Ceballos’s name. By rough estimate, it was only a matter of seconds and mostly emanating from those in red at the Clock End. 

But it was not the first time Ceballos's name has rung out: even he has made a note of appreciating just how big a deal that is. But with the Gunners 2-0 up and their midfield taking charge of what began as a nervy affair between 11th and 12th in the table, it was only right to laud the 23-year old who had made it all possible. 

The Spaniard put in a performance that might rank as the best of his 12 Premier League appearances to date. Statistically, anecdotally and perhaps even medically, there was much for him and Arsenal fans to savour. 

Perhaps it’s best to start with the third of those and work backwards, because the manner in which Ceballos covered ground and put his legs in harm’s way belied that of a player both returning from injury and still getting to grips with the rough and tumble of Premier League football. 

There were 83 days between picking up his hamstring injury against Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League at the start of November and his 21 minutes at the end of an FA Cup tie against Bournemouth on 27 January. 

Much of that time was spent recovering in Spain until Mikel Arteta’s appointment on 20 December gave Ceballos an appreciation that tactical rehabilitation was as necessary as the physical work. That sense of duty underpinned by a deep frustration that he could not do more for Unai Emery began a quest for further application on the training ground. 

It was this, ultimately, which gave Arteta no qualms in starting Ceballos just 20 days after that Bournemouth cameo. “I thought that Dani was ideal for that game, in that position today,” said a satisfied Arteta, a second league win in the bank at the eighth attempt. “The way he had been training, he totally deserves a chance.” 

That faith was rewarded beyond elegance. In an interview with Marca, the Real Madrid loanee spoke frankly of issues around his hamstring tendons. Not that you could tell it was playing on his mind with the sprints back without the ball or clashes with Newcastle’s central pair of Sean Longstaff and Nabil Bentaleb, and whoever else, to win it back. He might have only won 26.3 per cent of his duels, but the fact he attempted 19 – the second-most of any player on the pitch – was commendable. 

It was this aspect of his play that allowed both he and Mesut Ozil to play in the same midfield. On paper, certainly to the neutral, that combination looked a luxury indulgence of a problem area, like covering bathroom damp with a Manet. 

But by 82 minutes, as Ceballos trudged off to applause, cuts and grazes across his knees, tendons with stories to tell, those fears were unfounded. Arsenal fans will tell you, though, this robustness has always been evident. He might look like the kind of well-groomed man who could sell you a suit on Savile Row as easily as he could sell you a dummy on Hornsey Road, but he has an appetite for the scrap. His bonus gift might have been allowing Ozil to last 90 minutes.

The flair, though, is what you come for. And if it is not the intricate turns that require barely a yard of space while seemingly affecting the entirety of the pitch, it is the quickness of his passing that shows you the level at which he operates.

Because the numbers were all there on Sunday. A 95.6 per cent success rate from his 91 attempts, of which 63 of those 85 passes made came in the opposition’s half. Though there were no assists, it was he who gave Pepe the chance to catch not just his opposing full-back, but also his opposing winger off-guard for the cross that led to Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s opener. 

Dani Ceballos ran the show as Arsenal thrashed Newcastle 4-0 (Getty)

In that moment, just as others which did not result in a goal, he was able to bring the ball forward and play it forward at the right time. It is what Liverpool and Manchester City do well now and, heck, what Arsenal did well before. Catching teams out of step with simple acts executed simply. 

Against an organised Newcastle, who Arteta praised for their solidity, it was Ceballos’ pro-activeness that prised them open. From then on, the other 10 players did as he had done. 

On a personal level, this felt like the culmination of what Ceballos is trying to imprint on his own game. He was a No 10 as a kid and honed as such in his formative years at Real Betis. But he arrived as a force in an era where that role was slowly being phased out. 

“Now all coaches want complete players, whereas before quality alone as enough,” he told Marca. “Now, No 10s have virtually disappeared, so you have to be more complete.” It’s worth reiterating once more that he is 23 because it is rare in football to have someone so young speak of his craft with this much self-awareness. 

That, truly, might be the quality Arsenal need most from him as they begin embracing that trait themselves. As promising as victory was, it only takes them to 10th, still six points behind Tottenham who occupy a new Champions League position of 5th. 

So, back to the main question: can Arsenal love him as their own when he is anything but? Well, of course they can. 

What scepticism of loan-love they had after borrowing Denis Suarez from Barcelona, which both he and north London rank as “six months to forget”, has been quashed. The real issue is a longer-term relationship rests solely on the player.

His immediate ambitions are to establish himself for Arsenal to make a play for Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the Euros. Invariably if that comes to fruition, he’ll have plenty of other offers, including the chance to start again at the Bernabeu. 

Perhaps, for now, that’s how Arsenal need to look at this. A symbiotic fling that may leave both parties torn but certainly in much better places. 


This news item was provided by the The Independent - Premier League website - the original link is: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/arsenal-vs-newcastle-result-score-dani-ceballos-performance-epl-premier-league-loan-signing-a9338656.html

Joelinton: What does the Newcastle United striker offer?

Joelinton watched on as Arsenal celebrated during their 4-0 win

One Premier League goal all season, and currently enduring a run of 22 consecutive top-flight games and 1,856 minutes without finding the net.

Newcastle striker Joelinton's statistics don't make pleasant viewing for a player that cost a club record £40m in the summer.

Manager Steve Bruce admitted after his side's 4-0 thrashing at Arsenal on Sunday that those at the club "would all like him to have 12 or 15 goals" by now.

So what does Bruce see in the player and why does he continue to lead the line for the Magpies?

A number nine who plays outside the box

The Brazilian was Bruce's first signing when he replaced Rafael Benitez, and the striker was handed the famous number nine shirt previously worn by club legends Jackie Milburn, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole.

But the former Hoffenheim frontman - who scored just seven Bundesliga goals last season - has failed to live up to those before him, a winner against Tottenham back in August being his only English top-flight strike so far.

Although he has fared better in the FA Cup with two goals in three games, those came against lower league opposition in Rochdale and Oxford.

The main issue Newcastle have with Joelinton is the fact he is a player who has been brought in to lead the line, but actually finds himself doing more work outside the box than in it. Newcastle have scored just 24 times in the Premier League, with only Crystal Palace netting fewer.

Against Arsenal, he had a total of 47 touches - most of which were on the left, close to the halfway line. Just three came inside the Gunners' penalty area.

'A strange stat'

Those numbers surprised Bruce when they were put to him after the game.

"In the opposition box? Really?" he asked. "That seems a strange stat. We have to find a way of scoring more and certainly Joe of being more selfish.

"He has played a lot of his career to a side and not played as an out-and-out number nine. He is 22 years old, he has a lot to learn and give."

He did have one good opportunity against Arsenal in the first half, but flicked his shot wide when unmarked from eight yards out.

Although he had to reach behind him a little for the ball, a striker in form may well have tucked it away, and a different result could have been on the cards.

Joelinton has just the solitary goal from the seven 'big chances' that have fallen his way this season. Only Southampton duo Che Adams and Shane Long (one goal between them) and Sheffield United's David McGoldrick, who has not scored this season, have fared worse.

'We have to find a way of getting him into the box'

A glance on Twitter shows the frustration from some supporters with Joelinton's performance against Arsenal, with one "trying to figure out the purpose of Joelinton and struggling to make any case for his inclusion in the side".

Another said he was "abysmal" and is someone who "would not cut it in League Two".

Being generous, his presence in the Newcastle team bears similarities to the role Olivier Giroud performed for France in their World Cup triumph in 2018.

The Chelsea player appeared in all seven games, despite not scoring a single goal, with boss Didier Deschamps saying he was "important for our style, we need his supporting play".

Joelinton faced more duels (26) and won more fouls (4) than any other player at the Emirates, which suggests he is not shying away and is up for the battle. But while Giroud brings the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann into the game, Joelinton does the same for Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron - who are not quite at the same level.

"I was pleased with his performance again today," said Bruce. "He does a lot of unselfish work outside the box and we now have to find a way of getting him in the box for the crosses that Allan put in when he took players on."

But his last line was telling, with Bruce adding: "He is a great team player but centre forwards are judged on how many goals you score."

On that regard, Joelinton has plenty of room for improvement.


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51526267

Harry Gregg: Munich air disaster hero and Northern Ireland goalkeeping great dies

Harry Gregg bravely rescued team-mates and other passengers during the Munich air disaster

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, hailed as a hero of the 1958 Munich air disaster, has died at the age of 87.

Gregg bravely rescued team-mates and other passengers following the plane crash in which 23 were killed.

When he joined United in December 1957 for £23,500 he was the world's most expensive goalkeeper and was voted the best at the following year's World Cup.

He made 25 appearances for Northern Ireland between 1954 and 1963.

The former goalkeeper's charitable Harry Gregg Foundation said that the goalkeeping great died in Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

"Harry passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by his loving family.

"The Gregg family would like to thank the medical staff at Causeway Hospital for their wonderful dedication to Harry over his last few weeks.

"To everyone who has called, visited or sent well wishes we thank you for the love and respect shown to Harry and the family.

"Details of his funeral arrangement will be issued in the next few days. We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this difficult time.

"Never to be forgotten!"

United learn of death with 'deepest sadness'

Less than three months after making his Old Trafford debut, Gregg and his team-mates were travelling back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade on 6 February when their plane crashed after they stopped to re-fuel in Munich.

The crash's death toll included eight Manchester United players.

Gregg would become known as the 'hero of Munich' for his actions following the crash, where he rescued a number of survivors including a young baby and team-mates Bobby Charlton and Jackie Blanchflower from the wreckage.

Two weeks after pulling several team-mates from the wreckage of the Munich Air Disaster, Gregg kept a clean sheet as Manchester United put Sheffield Wednesday out of the FA Cup.

Gregg was named goalkeeper of the year after helping Northern Ireland to the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup

The goalkeeper was determined that the tragic event would not define his career, or indeed his life.

"I would be telling lies if I said that I thought about it all the time. In fact I would go insane," he said in 2018 before a service marking 60 years since the disaster.

"I know the media would like to talk about what happened on a runway. I don't blame people for that but if all I was ever part of, or all I ever achieved was to do with what happened in Germany, in Munich, if that was what my life was all about, it didn't come to very much."

Indeed, the career that followed would cement Gregg's legacy as one of the finest goalkeepers in Manchester United and Northern Ireland history.

A life in professional football saw Gregg, who Sir Alex Ferguson described as his hero, spend 35 years in England and Wales.

After his return home to Northern Ireland, he opened a hotel in Portstewart and in 2015 launched a charitable foundation aimed at encouraging young people's participation in football and other health, lifestyle, educational, heritage and social inclusion activities.

He made his final trip to Old Trafford in 2018, before being named OBE in the Queen's 2019 New Year's Honours.

Northern Ireland's football governing body, the Irish Football Association called Gregg a "legend of the game and a brave, selfless giant of a man".


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51400376

Meet Women’s Footballer of the Year nominee Lucy Bronze

BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2020: Lucy Bronze profile

We are profiling each of the five nominees for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2020 award. You can vote for your winner on the BBC Sport website until Monday, 2 March at 09:00 GMT. The result will be revealed on Tuesday, 24 March on BBC World Service.

Age: 28 Position: Defender Plays for: Lyon and England

Achievements in 2019

  • Won domestic double and Champions League with Lyon
  • Uefa Player of the Year
  • Runner-up in World Cup Golden Ball and Ballon d'Or

Did you know?

  • First English player to win Uefa Women's Player of the Year award
  • Played college football for the North Carolina Tar Heels before starting senior career
  • Won WSL three times before moving to France, twice with Liverpool and once with Manchester City

In her own words

Greatest achievement of the past 12 months?

"Winning the Champions League final, that was special. Although it's my second Champions League final, the first time I wasn't convinced by my own performance. But this year I was happy with how I performed and the team performed. It's the marquee game and you want to put on a good show for women's football - so that was a huge highlight. That first half I smiled all the way through."

Proudest moment?

"At the World Cup I was so disappointed as my mind was set on getting to the final, so everything to do with it now I feel a bit sad. But winning the SheBelieves Cup with England - we performed well, especially in the USA game, we scored some good goals and beat some of the best teams in the world."

Is there pressure to win everything with Lyon?

"We don't feel it as pressure. We have so many world-class players in our team to share that pressure that it doesn't feel like pressure. You normally hope two or three perform in a team, but we know someone each week will help the team win. Winning is not boring - losing and drawing is boring."

Biggest regret?

"When I was 17 I went to America to study at university because I got told I wasn't good enough to go to this England programme. I only stayed the one year. They said if I stay, I won't get picked for England for the next couple of years - it's too far. So I came back to England and then I had a run of injuries and thought I should have just stayed in America. But I didn't know I was going to end up playing for England as much as I have."

Life goals?

"I want to have a family. I say to the girls at Lyon every day, I want a baby. I've turned 28 but it's going to have to wait a bit longer. That's a goal in life. I was brought up in a great family and it's something I cherished more than anything growing up."

When have you been star struck?

"[Meeting] Lionel Messi at the awards ceremonies, David Beckham too... but the moment I was star struck was when I was 14 and Arsenal Ladies were playing Sunderland Ladies and I played for the academy. Rachel Yankey was there - I know her quite well now having played for England together. I was with Lucy Staniforth and Demi Stokes. We were watching and so star struck."

Who would play you in a film?

"Sandra Oh. Really random but I like the role she plays in Grey's Anatomy. And in Killing Eve - they're quite similar characters to what I'm like as a person, funny sense of humour, not socially always the best but very driven."


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51391702

Ramage sacked after ‘unacceptable’ remarks

Last Updated: 16/02/20 11:55pm

Max Lowe criticised the comments made by former Derby player Craig Ramage

Max Lowe criticised the comments made by former Derby player Craig Ramage

Former Derby player Craig Ramage has been sacked by the BBC following "entirely unacceptable" comments he made about the club's black players.

Ex-Derby midfielder Ramage criticised the club's "young black lads" and claimed they needed "pulling down a peg or two" after the Rams drew 1-1 against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Speaking on BBC Radio Derby's Sportscene Podcast, Ramage said: "When I look over and I look at certain players, their body language, their stance, the way they act, you just feel, 'whoa, hold on a minute - he needs pulling down a peg or two'.

"So I'd probably say that about all the young black lads."

Derby left-back Max Lowe spoke out on social media against the comments made by radio pundit Ramage, which were later removed from the podcast.

A BBC spokesperson said: "These were entirely unacceptable comments and we will no longer be working with Craig."

Derby earlier issued a statement condemning the remarks made by their former player and said they "stand shoulder to shoulder, together as one with all our players".

It read: "Derby County Football Club is aware of comments made by a BBC employee after yesterday's game against Huddersfield Town, directed specifically at a section of our young players.

"We have been in contact with the BBC throughout the day and underline that we do not in any way condone any form of discrimination.

"We take comments like these extremely seriously, we do not tolerate them, and stand shoulder to shoulder, together as one with all our players."

Ramage issued a "heartfelt apology" for his "wholly inappropriate" words on Sunday evening.

Ramage posted on Twitter: "I wish to apologise unreservedly for a comment that I made after yesterday's game. What I said was wholly inappropriate and unintentional. Race is irrelevant to the issues that I was discussing and I deeply regret what I said. I sincerely hope that the players accept my apology.

"I would like to reiterate my heartfelt apology not only to the players but also the fans that have listened to me over the past seven years and also to those that followed me throughout my career. I would like to reinforce that this error in no way reflects my personal views."

Lowe, who was an unused substitute against Huddersfield, wrote on Instagram: "As a young black footballer making my way in the game, I was shocked by comments made by one of the analysts on BBC Radio Derby's Sportscene programme after our 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.

"With the support from people I have around me - and after reading today that Raheem Sterling is to spearhead an anti-racism and anti-discrimination taskforce on behalf of players from all backgrounds - I have decided to speak out on behalf of black footballers at Derby County.

"Racial ignorance, stereotyping and intolerance negatively affects the image of impressionable young footballers and creates an unnecessary divide in society.

"I am also disappointed that a public service broadcaster did not step in to ask the analyst to explain his reasoning, or to distance themselves from these archaic thoughts.

"This was broadcast at the same time BBC Derby is promoting a 27-minute feature with former Rams defender Charlie Palmer about the difficulties he faced a as a young black footballer in the 1980s.

"As a professional footballer at an ambitious, high-profile Championship club I know that my performances will be scrutinised and I have no problem with that whatsoever - but I do not think it is acceptable for myself and my team-mate Jayden Bogle to be judged by the colour of our skin.

"Thank you for taking your time reading this - in a world where you can be anything, be kind."


This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/11936046/ex-derby-player-craig-ramage-sacked-by-bbc-after-unacceptable-comments