Arteta: I believe in Ainsley Maitland-Niles

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There wasn’t a duff performance from the Arsenal players in tonight’s 2-0 win over Man City which sent us through to the FA Cup final.

However, one man in particular can feel very pleased with himself. Ainsley Maitland-Niles might have been a surprise selection for the left-sided wing-back role, but played fantastically well, repaying Mikel Arteta’s faith in him.

At the end of a week in which stories emerged about his potential departure, it almost felt as if his inclusion was a way for the manager to demonstrate his belief in the 22 year old.

It was put to Arteta that AMN had been magnificent, and he told arsenal.com, “Absolutely. And I was sure about that with the way he’s training, the way he’s changed his mentality and his mindset.

“He has everything, he has great qualities, I believe in him. I had to give him opportunities and today he took it with both arms.

“He had a really good performance.”

The commitment from his players is something the Arsenal boss is delighted with, and it sounds as if the recent schedule has been extremely demanding for them on a physical level.

“They are trying to play every week, every day,” said Arteta. “It doesn’t matter, we have players with injections, players that were sick, but they’re willing to play.

“At the moment I have a feeling that I can pick anybody that is ready to play and perform at that level.”

Check out: Arsenal 2-0 Man City – player ratings

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Naked Cygan

He can play on the left, he can play on the right, he likes to play in the middle. We should make sure he stays. He was great today, specially with how little he has played recently. He will only get better, needs to improve his final ball into the box, but his commitment and fighting spirit is what he showed today.

goonerrah

He plays well in a structure and told to shut down a player. But week in week out, he would not be an ideal option. He’s a bit of a specialist. Going forward he is below average on both sides of the pitch.

The Arsenal

A good utility player should never be frowned on. Even the word seems a little demeaning but its not. Our invincibles were great because of guys like Edu , Parlour, Wiltord etc…Guys who can come in a and do a job.

Fabulous

Well said. James Milner is a great utility player. Joshua Kimmich another. Fernandinho for City. Nacho for Real Madrid. Most teams have one.

Samgunz

Ray Parlour comes to mind, always had something but was raw and inconsistent. In his mid to late 20s excelled under Wenger into a beast n should’ve played for England more. This could be a similar path for Maitland under Mikel. Future cpt material also.

Samgunz

Both he and Ray also possess a natural elegant technique, the kind you find often coming out of our academy.

Gunnerboreus

Utility players, strangely, like a good wine – they mature with age. It’s rare to see a player with the athletic gifts of AMN….and he’s very young. If someone offers £40 million, well that might be OK

Samgunz

And atleast he doesn’t seem to be injury like many past young talents

Samgunz

Injury prone*

Aaron

Kimmich and Fernandinho are not utility but brilliant in more than one position.

Milner, yes and Nacho, maybe.
AMN could be what we all thought Flamini would have been. Hate to lose him at any cost. And he’s British and home-grown and from the academy, so what’s not to like.
STAY for God’s sake, Arteta is building something special.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

But guys who made these players useful like Bergkamp, Vieira, Pires, Sol Campbell, Kolo Touré, Ashley Cole, Lauren, where are they? I am assuming Auba is more or less providing Henry’s goals.

Merlin’s Panini

He’s basically what Eboue used to be but he seems to be a bit more sensible. He’s done pretty well this season. He racked up a few assists from right back. He has quality. He just needs to keep listening to Mikel and he can be a reliable asset. The sort of player every team needs. Perfect as a sub to competently plug gaps in most positions.
Maybe he can be more than that.

Lettra

He is one of our own Give the lad more chances ..He is way ahead of Kola on the left .. and should be in the discussion to start at Rb ,and in discussions as 2nd choice for RW , LW , CM there should be more opportunities especially against the big teams or big name players the stats support this. Great athlete and an excellent ballwinner it’s odd to see it’s like there is a magnet in his shoes at times.

atom

I strongly suspect if Arteta can get any money to spend this summer, he’ll try to move us towards a back 4. AMN could be really useful in a midfield 3 for us and also has the versatility to fill in on at the fullbacks / wingbacks if we change up the system. I’m not sure he’s a nailed on starter, but we he’s one of the young players that will be really useful and if he stays should see a lot of minutes next year. There should be genuine competition for places next year as Arteta has clearly shown… Read more »

Mayor McCheese

One of the things I love about Ainsley Maitland-Niles is that his name came ready-Edwardianized for the Arsenal Gent. Speaking of which, where is the Gent these days?

adelaidegooner

Being wondering where is is….and rambling Pete too!

Bossman Bill

Yeah I’ve been missing the Gent too, I have to say

Crispy

I’m sure the gent has stock piled Laudanum and is partaking in a controlled manner…

ClockEndRider

Probably busy getting ready for the peasant shooting season.
And I use the term advisedly.

SB Still

“At the moment I have a feeling that I can pick anybody that is ready to play and perform at that level.”

Sounds like some of the players (three) particularly in midfield and defence that have been sidelined, Arteta would love to replace them with ones he could use.

onenil

AMeN to that!

IGtheshy

Other than his crossing in the final third, the rest of his game is fantastic today.

gooner

crossing on your weaker foot is a million times harder than passing on the same foot. Even getting the correct amount of weight behind the cross never mind the accuracy and the pressure from the defender

Michael D

I thought some people in the Arsenal community were really harsh on AMN a few months ago; slagging him off when he played in difficult circumstances, filling in for other players, and so on. However, I think he has always given 100% and tried to improve his game, and for that, he deserves a lot of praise. He put in some shift tonight – he is approaching ‘must be kept’ status I’d say.

COYG1001

Agreed. He’s not particularly demonstrative, but he’s intense. Traore, Walker, Mahrez. Specialist stopper. Deserves more runouts. Eventually, some true midfield starts. This is the guy who broke his leg defending against Walker a year (2?) ago. Tonight, he helped shut that side down!

BillyKrystal

Yes, he’s a warrior. The hug from Arteta at the end said everything. AMN please don’t go!!

oregoon

Mahrez had one decent move against him, but thought Man City lost some threat when he went off and Foden came in. Their right side pretty much went mute after that, as Ainsley gave Foden nothing.

Pete

A fresh Foden got absolutely nothing from AMN.

GraeB

There is so much different about him now from a few months ago when he was slow to recover, lackadaisical in passing and tackling.

Maybe under new management he has matured and realises the world doesn’t just come to him, he has to work at it.

Maybe our missing players could get those lessons too.

Tanned arse

I hope the penny will drop with ainsley. He can be an ok average cm in the prem. Or he can be an absolute elite right back (left back too although he’d be more effective in the attacking 3rd if he’s on the right). One of the hardest guys to beat 1v1 out there. It may not be what he always dreamt of being but change the dream and potentially become a legend holding down that right back spot for the next 8 years. Tierney on one side and maitland-niles on the other in a back 4 could easily be… Read more »

GraeB

With many teams having wide players on the “wrong” side who cut inside to use their favourite foot it can be useful to do the same with full backs. AMN looked more worried when right footed players went at him in second half.

GoForIt

Totally agree with Tanned: AMN has all the tools (including potentially outstanding ability going forward) to be a world class right back, if he would really claim that position as his own and commit himself to mastering it. Ainsley, if you should happen to read this, get the Arsenal staff to provide you with highlight film of great right backs from recent years — especially another Arsenal midfielder-turned-right-back by the name of Lauren, who quietly went about the job of becoming world class in his new position, and a certainty on the team sheet for the Invincibles.

Nick

I would like to see him play CM

RoyalT

He is a shutdown winger who can make nice crosses while keeping possession. He took away his side of the field and Kevin de was not televised as advertised. Put up the 125k a week for him

aced

AMN brilliant today. And he could become a James Milner type player for the Arsenal, as he’s young and can have a very productive career getting enough playing time as a utility either side midfielder or wing/fullback.

Obama Young

The very last thing we should do this window is sell off a promising 22-year-old Englishman with a lot of potential. Keep him, work with him, help him keep improving, and it will pay off.

Dave cee

Totally agree, and he is one of our own! Really would like to see Ainsley blossom in a great new Arsenal team. Delighted he got his chance and took it today, another highlight from this match.

Ahby

AMN did very well today. Mahrez (a very tricky player) only had one shot at goal. he did same with Mane too earlier in the week. Give the lad more chances.

Stephen O Abifarin

You have forgotten how he kept adama of wolves mute. I think we underrated his work today. What if mahrez could not get a shot on target but consistently cross for his teammate to tap in? He didn’t allow any cross coming from mahrez. His display against wolves, Liverpool and now man city is legendary

Qwaliteee

Another player whom Arteta is gradually getting the potential he has always promised but hitherto failed to deliver. I honestly began to think his Arsenal days were over, but last night he was a colossus. Long may it continue.

Ozillator

AM fucking N

Goo-nerd

I believe in Arteta.

John C

He’s still an average player whose passing is still way below where it needs to be, according to the stats he completed 64% of his passes yesterday.

Yesterday was an outstanding team performance but let’s not get carried away we’re 9th for a reason and without a considerable turnover of players we won’t be competing for a champions league spot anytime soon.

Hopefully yesterday’s performance will entice some bids for him.

Stephen O Abifarin

For your information, arsenal do not have wing back that is as good as Niles in ball playing. He can dribble out of pressure and can drive forward. Under Wenger he did this many times against Chelsea ( victor moses suffered in his hand) and other teams. Yesterday, he showed that again whenever man city players marked him and the only player (outlet) for him to pass to. He create the outlet for himself several time. Tierney , bellerin, kolasinac, etc would have released the ball under pressure to a marked person or backward. With Niles in that wing yesterday,… Read more »

Teryima Adi

Awesome performance from AMN and the rest of the gang.

Paul

He’s in the shop
Window so a decent game can only help , or am I being cynical

TeeCee

I’ve heard people say they believe in Jesus, but I thought he was a bit shit for Citeh in the match.

Gunner4life

AMN is a versatile player and a fan favorite. Humble boy who reminds me of Lauren Etame Mayer who for Cameroon played as a midfielder but was converted to right back and did wonders for Arsenal. AMN is a player that wants to play and from all indications can even be a striker. Kid game is going to get better. Arsenal should keep him – Hale End boy.