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Dani Ceballos hails Alexandre Lacazette as Arsenal’s de facto No.10 and likens forward to Karim Benzema

4 min read

Dani Ceballos says Alexandre Lacazette is key in the way Mikel Arteta sets up his team (Picture: Getty)

Dani Ceballos has highlighted the important role Alexandre Lacazette plays in the way Mikel Arteta sets up his team at Arsenal and likened the forward’s position to that taken up by Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

On the face of it, Lacazette has had his worst season yet in front of goal for the Gunners, managing just 12 goals in all competitions compared to 19 last term and 17 in his debut campaign at the Emirates, and the 29-year-old has faced some criticism for his level of performance.

Lacazette has even found his place come under threat, with academy product Eddie Nketiah impressing in recent months, and there have been rumblings that Arsenal would be open to selling the striker this summer.

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However, it’s clear Lacazette has an admirer in Ceballos, who has hailed the Frenchman as Arsenal’s de facto No.10 in Mesut Ozil’s absence and underlined his work which often goes under the radar when playing against ‘dominant’ teams such as Manchester City and Liverpool.

‘Lacazette plays in a similar position to Karim Benzema at Madrid. Laca likes to come to play and moves well in that area’ the Arsenal loanee told Spanish outlet El Pais.

‘The only way to defend as a block is to be very close, and that the nine is that player who is practically a ten. 

‘When defending against very dominant teams, such as Manchester City or Liverpool, the position of ten is vital so that they do not have freedom with the ball and Laca has done it perfectly. 

‘Then Pierre [Aubameyang] and Nico [Pepe], the wingers, practically act as forwards.’

Ceballos has likened Lacazette’s role to Benzema’s at Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

Ceballos added: ‘When City pressed us we found spaces going out with our goalkeeper. 

‘When you play with your goalkeeper you always have one more player: he is the one who has to hold the ball until a forward jumps to press it and there, through a third man, find the exit. 

‘Our third man is Lacazette, who does what Karim does in Madrid.’

Arteta hoping to keep Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid for another season, with the midfielder greatly impressing after forcing his way back into the side in February, and the latest reports suggest Arsenal are closing in on an agreement.

‘I have been very happy at Arsenal. If I had to choose Arsenal again, I would,’ the Spain international continued.

‘I feel I am a leader in this Arsenal team and an important player with responsibility, surrounded by people who believe in me.’

Ceballos has worked his way back into Arteta’s side after a mixed start (Picture: Getty)

Ceballos added: ‘I like to be in contact with the ball over and over again and if I lose it, I will ask for it again quickly to get rid of the error.

‘It is the only way to gain confidence and dominate the game.

‘After all, the more you master this, the more opportunities you have to influence a match and win games.’

Speaking ahead of the FA Cup final, Ian Wright heaped praise on Ceballos for the way he worked his way back into the team after a mixed start at Arsenal and claimed the Spaniard simply has to start at Wembley.

‘Ceballos has been fantastic,’ the legendary ex-Arsenal striker told Arseblog.

‘When you hear Mikel talking about him before the trip to Dubai, they were questioning his application and he wasn’t really sure about how he was gonna go.

‘He’s worked on that, he’s got himself in the team, he’s now a focal point of what we’re doing in respects of creativity and I think he’s somebody that has to play

‘When you look at people who are not buying into Mikel Arteta’s plan and how it’s turned out for Dani Ceballos, it’s a real bloody shame. It’s a real shame.’

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MORE: Martin Keown highlights key battle ahead of FA Cup final and makes worrying Aubameyang claim

MORE: Ian Wright explains why Bukayo Saka should start on the bench for Arsenal against Chelsea in FA Cup final




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