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The Hyping of Dani Ceballos


Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid (Via Wikimedia)

Nobody does hype better than the English press. Hands down they are the winner. After all they invented the tabloid newspaper in 1903 when some dude called Harmsworth started the The Daily Mirror. Appealing to the mass market, it presented crime stories, human tragedies, celebrity gossip, sports, comics, and puzzles. There was a time when the tabloids were looked upon as low brow and low class journalism compared to the broadsheets but now virtually all the so-called serious newspapers have become tabloids. Sensationalism and fake news sells, very well. Their football coverage is no exception.

Enter stage left is young Dani Ceballos, on loan from Real Madrid, in his home debut for Arsenal versus the might of Burnley FC, who came 15th in the league last year. After the match English press was in unison, Dani was “brilliant”, a word now so over-used it is practically meaningless. The stats shows he had a very good game.

  • Minutes played: 82
  • Shots: 3
  • Shots on target: 1
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 2
  • Key passes: 4
  • Pass accuracy: 90% (2nd only to the Matteo Guendouzi and tied with Reiss Nelson)
  • Aerials won: 0
  • Touches: 97 (highest from either side)
  • Passes: 70 (highest from either side)
  • Crosses: 5
  • Long balls: 6
  • Accurate long balls: 4
  • Throughballs: 1 (In the last podcast I said zero. Wrong!)
  • Dribbles: 4 (joint highest from either side with Nicolas Pepe)
  • Fouled: 3
  • Tackles: 2
  • Fouls: 2

After single-handedly destroying the mighty Bricklayers from oop North and putting in the shade eminent passers such as Guendouzi and Riess-Nelson the English press decided that Dani Ceballos was the Second Coming.

The BBC, which is supposed to be staid and conservative, was the leader in the hyper-ventilating. In the words of Garth Crooks, who shoehorned Dani into his team of the week:

“This lad can play. He seems to have a touch of the Aaron Ramsey about him, albeit a little more mobile. It will be interesting when Mesut Ozil returns to see if Unai Emery will accommodate both players.”

Not to be outdone is proverbial Arsenal critic and ex-Liverpudlian, Danny Murphy:

“He can see a pass a bit like Fabregas, can sit in there and dictate play as well if need be.”

The Daily Telegraph’s headline read:

“All-round midfield crowd-pleaser Dani Ceballos proves he can be Arsenal’s missing link.”

The Daily Mail added the Spaniard to their weekly power ranking:

“Gunners fans are right to be excited about his talent.”

The inevitable result of all this over-the-top adulation is people are beginning to see Dani as some sort of savior. One young 23 year-old writer for the EPL Index has already decided:

“Ceballos’ impact could be the difference between Arsenal getting back into the Champions League and missing out for the third year in a row.”

One Arsenal blogger, who shall remain nameless has already begun pounding the table with great vigor:

“Ceballos has changed my mind regarding the Pool away game. He goes straight on to the team sheet. I believe we can beat Pool away.”

To me the whole Dani thing is way out of hand. While it is earning clicks online for both mainstream media, bloggers, tweeters and podcasters, Ceballos is far from being the greatest 23 year-old midfielder ever to grace the Arsenal midfield. Six years ago Aaron Ramsey was 22 years of age and in that 2013/14 EPL season had banged in 10 goals and provided 8 assists. Heroically, in the FA cup finals, he came off the bench, having recovered from a serious injury, to smash in the winning goal and break a 10-year trophy drought.

Meanwhile the new regime allowed Ramsey to leave on a free this past summer after trying to mislead Arsenal fans about the circumstances surrounding his contract negotiations. Fact is Ramsey was offered a contract which was then withdrawn, at which point the Welshman decided to rundown the rest of his term with the club and go elsewhere. Due to this monumental failure by the management, the club had to find a short-term solution by signing Dani on loan and guarantee him a number of matches. No doubt he will be a great addition but elevating him to being a savior, in similar standing to his predecessor Aaron Ramsey, is premature to say the least.



  1. Not sure I agree about the Mirror, pretty sure William Randolph Hearst got there first ( soz to be a twat/pedantic/smart arse) in the late 1890s? And smack on about all the bs of hype and sensationalism. Really shallow and lacking (imo).
    However agree with the rest of the piece. Im not sure, sometimes we need to be careful and watch rather than react too quickly (not easy for sure). Egg all over yer face isnt nice.
    As you hit on, too often we are looking for messiahs to make things work. Even the original concept of what is a messiah has been misunderstood and morphed into something else (mixing with other concepts too).

    In our case its going to need team work and Dani is only a piece of that. Great article, and glad you brought this up.
    Cheers Shotts! Keep them coming.

    • Ha, Ha, Ha. I love that history lesson Millsy. According to Wikipedia, Randolph Hearst pioneered “yellow journalism” in the US in the 1890s through to the early 1900s. Evidently both he and the Mirror used the same techniques. But let us not get tied down in history. Yellow journalism is alive and well on both sides of the Atlantic, Football coverage is no exception. Poor Dani is being set up for a fall but he has an escape route back to Madrid.

      • I only knew because Im into old Hollywood, and did a load of research into Orson Welles (especially Kane and the Ambersons period) which lead me to Marion Davies and Hearst.Must be pretty left field to be living a Hearst life, I met people on the power echelon a notch below and it left me cold. None too pleasant when you see oik written in their eyes as they look at you.

        Orson never really recovered even though RKO weathered the Hearst storm-that was Hearsts power.But time did for them all in the end-as it will the current heir to the throne.

        Orson pretty much apologised for people thinking that Marion Davies was the basis for Susan in the film. Davies was a great comedienne ( doing the first screwball comedies) , who transitioned well into the sound era. The bi-opics seems to not capture her really, you have to look at the old films and read between the lines.
        Orson may have been the greatest talent in theatre, yet mostly people concentrate on his bizarre life in film. Utterly talented but unable to satisfactorily finish anything major ( plus endless budgetary hassles)
        But your right about not getting tied down, and the olde yellow journalism is everywhere in the world now, and even worse that lies underneath it. The Uk journos sadistically love to build em up and smash em down. And if you survive that then they tend to leave you alone, or used to. France has some pretty good privacy laws though.

        Lets hope Dani doesnt become the latest talented scapegoat for the AFC. Also click liek for Fins comment under.

        Shotts do you follow baseball?

        • I must admit I don’t follow baseball nor any other sports for that matter. There was a time I closely followed American football and basketball but since falling in love with the Arsenal in 2006 I lost interest in all other teams. Did a piece for PosArse two years ago explaining how Arsenal rekindled my love for football mainly because of the values of the club as represented by Wenger. To this day it is those values I embrace despite the bastards.now in charge. As for Orson Welles i have read and seen a lot about him and the RKO studio; another eccentric genius. The DiCaprio movie humanized him hugely which was the obvious intent.

          • I can imagine, Wenger certainly did something really really special to the club. We are with you on the values Shotts.

            Oddest thing is how much Welles could bs about things, even though some of his stories were fiction, there was something about him that was so charming and entertaining that it still compelled you to listen. I wonder if he should have stayed away from Hollywood?

            Well, slowly creeping towards the Liverpool game.

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  3. Excellent Shotts

    On the one hand the clowns are honking their appreciation for Daddy Raul.

    Yet on the other they tried to avoid the quality of Ramsey on and off the pitch, for years, till he rammed it down all their throats by literally owning he pitch of the FA and the FA’s and broadcasters most favoured team.

    Thank you for objectively highlighting this observable difference which when we reflect upon it is quite funny as these are the same people who spent years attacking the club and I quote “being difficult for agents”. People can interpret that to mean what they like by anyone with the footballs to admit it knows what they mean. Not Billy Big Blagger then. Nope!

  4. Ghost of WengerAugust 21, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Great read Shotta. Have you seen American Sniper? You should change your name to Overwatch.

    The press, pundits and media will oscillate between lionising and demonising players, managers and teams. Currently Auba, Ceballos, McGuire, Pepe, Klopp, ManC, Liverpool etc are all being effusively praised.

    Anyone older than 14 should have seen many a player impress in a game or two. To try to extrapolate the performance in those games to predict the impact on the season is infantile but that still doesn’t deter them.

    Can Ceballos do it on a cold rainy Monday night in Burnley? We hope so but let’s wait calmly and see.


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