Another entertaining weekend of Premier League football has been and gone. The second round of fixtures threw out plenty of drama and talking points as the new season begins to click into gear.
While gameweek one saw strikers steal the headlines, the midfielders were the winners at the weekend.
Asides the team contributions, both players will be particularly glad as they are both on a quest to “impose” themselves once again.
Injuries limited De Bruyne to just 19 appearances in the Premier League last season, as Manchester City were robbed of arguably their most creative player.
The talented Belgian was well and truly back to his impressive and devastating best on Saturday though as City were held to 2-2 draw with Spurs.
The 27-year-old midfielder was virtually unplayable as he set up Raheem Sterling’s opener, before teeing up Sergio Aguero with another beautifully weighted cross.
Man City may have dropped points in the match, but with a player as good as De Bruyne back to his best, it could tip the title race very much in their favour again this season.
Arsenal look to have found themselves one hell of a baller in Dani Ceballos.
The 23-year-old really impressed in a closely fought 2-1 victory over Burnley at The Emirates.
Arsenal’s midfield looked far more menacing and productive with the Spaniard orchestrating the play with his vision and clever play from the middle of the park.
Ceballos had a dynamic performance that saw him cover all areas of the pitch which eventually gave a deserved man of the match award.
The highlight being an assist each for the prolific duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It may only be early days, but if the Spain international can carry on this kind of form, he could make the difference for Unai Emery’s men in the quest to reclaim a Champions League spot.
This analysis compares the performances of both players for their respective teams and how much of an impact they were over the weekend.
In literal terms, both players look to be equally matched.
The Belgian and the Spaniard both produced two assists but a further look into stats will show who had a more dynamic attacking performance.
Kevin De Bruyne was a menace upfront with 9 chances created, way better than Dani Ceballos who only made 4.
The Spaniard makes up for that as his 97 touches of the ball significantly dwarfs the Belgian’s 79 touches. They both had the same take-ons (4) and were equal in that regard.
An interesting perspective to it though is that Dani Ceballos had an impressive 90% pass accuracy compared to De Bruyne’s 85%.
Making you wonder if the Spaniard was actually more clinical, considering he had lesser chances created still had the same output (two assists) as the City man.
Dani Ceballos for Arsenal vs. Burnley:
• Most touches
• Most passes
• Most passes in the opp. half
• Most chances created
• Most recoveries
• Most fouls won
• Most assists
• Most duels
• =Most tackles
• =Most take-ons
• =Most shots
Involved in everything. pic.twitter.com/90NAHRAKF5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 17, 2019
However, the killer blow from Pep Guardiola’s talisman is the manner and quality of his assists. His first assist for Sterling was inch-perfect and literally, anyone would hit the target with a cross as good as that. He also set a little personal record in the course of the game.
Bar wasteful finishing and mispositioning from some City players, the Belgian could easily have had a hat-trick of assists within the first half. He was phenomenal.
Kevin De Bruyne attempted 13 crosses from open play against Spurs, the most by a Man City player in a single Premier League game since Pep Guardiola took charge of the club.
Two sensational assists coming from them as well. ? pic.twitter.com/Sx3V0HQcPT
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 17, 2019
Dani Ceballos without a doubt clearly wins this aspect. The Spaniard was all over the place and had more duels won by a large margin.
His 19 duels won is way better than De Bruyne’s nine, showing the willingness to always get on the end of every ball.
From taking the ball in front of his own goalkeeper to taking a shot at the other end, Ceballos was a constant everywhere and the data plot below only gives more insight to that.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 17, 2019
Both players had stellar performances over the weekend but you sense that Arsenal will be looking like the winner here.
For all of De Bruyne’s range of abilities, a number of City players can cover up for him or at least try to replace him even though not as efficiently.
Ceballos, on the other hand, offers something different to his team’s style of play – that balance of transition between defence and attack they’ve lacked at the centre in recent years.
It might be one game but both players have shown they will be very important personnel for their respective teams in the course of the season.