Villarreal brutally troll Arsenal star during Europa League semi-final first leg victory



Dani Ceballos endured a night to forget as Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Villarreal in their Europa League semi-final first-leg on Thursday.

The midfielder, on loan from La Liga giants Real Madrid, was back on home soil as he partnered Thomas Partey in the Gunners’ engine room at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

However, Ceballos was not able to do himself justice on his return to Spain with Arsenal.

He was partially to blame for Villarreal’s opening goal scored by Manu Trigueros inside the opening five minutes as he allowed Juan Foyth too much space to move into and didn’t do enough to stop Samuel Chukwueze’s ball into the box.

Then two minutes before half-time, Ceballos was left walking the disciplinary tight-rope for fouling Foyth as the Tottenham loanee looked to break into the box.

And with the Gunners 2-0 down, needing to score the next goal to get back in the tie, they could ill-afford to go down to 10-men.

Except they did.

10 minutes into the second half, Ceballos was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence for standing on the boot of Daniel Parejo.

As revealed by Mikel Arteta after the game, this decision forced him to alter his tactics after revealing the plan was to replace the midfielder with Gabriel Martinelli – a move that would have resulted in a change of shape for the Gunners.

“We talked at half time that we have to be careful,” said Arteta after the game. “I was going to take him [Ceballos] off and by the time Gabi [Martinelli] was ready to come on, that action happened and he was out.”

At 3pm today until 11:59pm on Monday, all sports channels across the entire Reach network, including football.london, will join the boycott of social media as part of the campaign against online hate.

So far this season players at all of the capital’s top-flight clubs have been subject to horrendous abuse – from Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Willian to Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Reece James to Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.

No dressing room has been spared this disgusting plague. Enough is enough.

That is why the Premier League, FA, Kick It Out and Women’s Super League have been joined by clubs up and down the country as well as organisations from cricket, rugby, cycling and horse racing in staging the boycott. Above all they want the social media platforms to take more responsibility for keeping hate out of our sport.

As journalists this is not a decision we take lightly but we believe it is important that Reach titles add their voices to the calls for greater action against the epidemic of online hate and be a force for good in the communities we serve.

As the nation’s biggest sports publisher we will of course continue to create the outstanding sports content – from Premier League to local matches – for which we are famous. We just won’t be sharing this content on social over the weekend.

Our news accounts will also continue to share the biggest breaking news this weekend, including covering the impact of this boycott.

But whilst Arteta was left to rue Ceballos’ red card, the Villarreal USA Twitter account aimed a brutal dig at the midfielder.

As spotted on Arsenal reddit, the post read: “The Ceballos red doesn’t change anything. We already had a man advantage with him ON the pitch.”

That post clearly showed just how bad of a game the Villarreal USA social media team thought Ceballos was having that him being sent-off was a boost for Mikel Arteta’s side.





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