Arteta impressed by attacking mindset of Maitland-Niles & co.


Mikel Arteta says he was impressed by the way Ainsley Maitland-Niles performed in a more attacking midfield role as Arsenal eased past Rapid Vienna 4-1 at the Emirates.

In a heavily rotated team, the England international was given a role similar to that which Joe Willock has occupied recently. With 8 final third entries, 5 progressive passes, 2 key passes, 1 assist and a couple of shots – stats via Scott – he seemed to enjoy himself and was a central part of our most progressive attacking performance in quite some time.

Given the limitations of the opposition, it’s a bit of a leap to suggest Ainsley is the answer to our midfield problems. However, on a night when fellow Academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe enjoyed a goal-scoring cameo, courtesy of a Maitland-Niles assist no less, it has given the boss food for thought.

In his post-game press conference, Arteta reflected: “What he’s done today the great thing with Ainsley is that he can fill various positions and that’s a great thing to have in a squad.

“He has played on the left as a wing back, on the right, he can play as a holding midfield, as an attacking midfielder and again the performances like tonight helps, and he has a chance to play like anyone else.”

On Ainsley’s energy adding something to the midfield, he added: “Yes, the same with Emile and the same that Joe Willock gives in those positions because they are attacking midfielder, they are not holding midfielders.

“They have it in their minds that they want to make those runs, make that final pass, they want to shoot and at the moment we need that: we need people with the mindset to score goals.

“They want to go there, they want to take their chances, they want to be aggressive when they have the ball and when the ball is far from them, they have to make it to the box because the middle of the goal is when goals are scored. When you get in those positions constantly, the chances of scoring goals increases so it is good to see that.”

The day before the game, Arteta had lamented Arsenal’s dearth of goals from midfield and questioned whether his current options had it in them to solve the problem. It was almost like he was laying down the gauntlet to them. Last night, they responded to the call. Now all eyes turn to Sunday.

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Merlin’s Panini

I hope this serves as a wake up call for the rest of the squad. Their places should be well and truly up for grabs… now.


Although Rapid Vienna is no way the level of the PL.

Ashburton Red

On Sunday would like midfield 3 of Partey, Elneny & AMN

Johnny 4 Hats

I did enjoy the way Ceballos sprayed the ball around when he came on though. We don’t have many players who can make those passes (who are eligible).

I think in the Prem he usually sits too deep to get into the final third but if he can pass like that on the reg, we need to get him up the pitch way more often.


I thought the same thing. In the Prem we seem to be so scared of being countered and Ceballos and anyone else plays so deep. But, in the Prem we don’t have anyone quick enough to cover those spaces aside from Partey. I would hope that Arteta could see how much better Ceballos could be when he as someone who can run next to him.

Cultured Determination

now we have AMN. he and partey in midfield will make the opposition think they’re playing agaisnt 4 CMs. throw in Elneny and we’ll be playing 14 v 11 every game.


I really think that Ceballos is playing to instruction so I find the criticism of him to be a bit jarring. Especially because he’s actually defending well. We know he’s capable of more going forwards, it’s more a case of Arteta letting him off the leash.


He also plays with heart and passion.


I don’t think it is criticism of him. It’s of how he’s being used. (I mean, I might criticise him for fighting with his team mates, he seems like he might be a bit of a cock). But he showed yesterday that he can bring creativity we lack.


Yeah why on earth it’s Ceballos dropping deep to collect the ball is beyond me. He’s much better further forward.


It seems to me in the league we’re improving but still having problems playing out from the back through a press, so he’s dropping deep to help out. Xhaka’s not very much help there because he turns like a tanker. Dani’s the one (or Mo or Partey when they’re on) that can receive, turn with the ball, and start moving us forward. Slightly Santi-esque, a role which Arteta witnessed from close quarters. But we’ve been playing without a 10, (until the very recent trial with Willock) so there’s been a huge hole middle of the park between mids and forwards.… Read more »


I agree, really good points. I think in the league he’s been hoping Laca was gonna play that deeper role, but he’s just not got the feet for it. Giroud would have suited it much better. It does seem strange Arteta isn’t clocking it and making in game changes, rather than allow the awful predictable horseshoe to continue.

Eddy F

Main difference between this and the weekend. When we had the ball the CB’s went wide and Elneny held his position well in the middle to receive and distribute the ball without getting in the way of the CB’s.

On the weekend Xhaka and Ceballos basically just played in the same part of the pitch as the CB’s, so there was no pivot in the middle and one less forward runner available.


It´s called playing with the handbrake on


Ooo… I love that podcast too! Handbrake OFF that is. Second favorite podcast after Arseblog


Not The Tuesday Club??? Combining arseblog and Alan Davids rants is success.


The main difference is Rapid Vienna, Molde and Dundalk are shite, EPL teams aren’t and they know how to control us. And we are still waiting for the team to prove otherwise.



Man Manny

Sunday is another proposition entirely. We won’t be playing a team who look like rabbits caught in car headlights at night.
Our plan on Sunday should be to make it a tight affair.
I have the belief we can go on and nick it by the odd goal, especially if Thomas is fit to come to the Partey.


Please. We’ll end up getting smacked around by Spuds.
Arteta needs to leave. There’s no process and he’s confused.


Pretty pessimistic… give him time… Ferguson was nearly booted out after a year… I’m not saying Arteta is that good, but we don’t know yet how good he is. Top 4 is still very possible, so too is Europa League


Clarify, I’m not feeling pessimistic – the original comment is very pessimistic

Arsene's Coat

I’d rather keep Arteta and boot you out instead.


You can see clearly how Arteta wants to play in the Europa games. Not his fault that he has so many brain dead players


you absolute fun sponge.


Maybe you should post on Facebook Trez.

Artetas Assistant

Not at all


It is getting a little tiring hearing all this praise only for them to be buried on the bench or not even in the EPL and for us to run out Willian and Xhaka very bloody game and setup with the same conservative approach that forces us to play at a snail’s pace and every attack to go through wide areas. ESR must be getting pretty fed up that even when the Europa group is wrapped up he is still only allowed a half hour off the bench. We are crying out for creativity and our most promising AM has… Read more »


Yeah its mad, you immediately see what he brings when he comes on. His runs, quick progression of the ball, use of space and ability in tight areas (saw him turn calmly out of a press of about 4 players almost as soon as he came on) are exactly what we need in the team. Surely it should be a case of giving him as many minutes in the Europa league as possible and if he takes his chance sticking him in the first team. It’s a no brainer with the teams need what it is at the moment


Spot on. Partey el neny AMN. Seems like a juicy midfield to try out.

If only fans could dictate how games are played and what line ups are used.

Artetas Assistant

Mikel is Ronaldo-stuff (Cr7). He sees the talent of the Messi’s (AMN, Pepe)and can’t imagine that they don’t turn into ‘hardworking’ footballers full of fight for every scrap. If you’re a Messi-type (more languid, autopilot kinda guy eg Pepe, AMN) and are nurtured under a Mou/Mikel/Ronaldo type they’ll put you under all sorts of expectation stress cos they see the potential of God inside you. The longer you stay positive and believe in yourself and work to improve you’ll come out a monster.

Mikel is going to do CR7 stuff with Martinelli.


Artetas Assistant

Btw Happy birthday to the HipHop equivalent of Jurgen Klopp , Shawn JayZ Carter .
A god was born today..


Pretty rando, but happy 51st nonetheless JayZ!

Artetas Assistant

Yeah, Posted sth in reply to your post that’s not left moderation before that..

Artetas Assistant

Mikel is Ronaldo-stuff (Cr7). He sees the talent of the Messi’s (AMN, Pepe)and can’t imagine that they don’t turn into ‘hardworking’ footballers full of fight for every scrap. If you’re a Messi-type (more languid, autopilot kinda guy eg Pepe, AMN) and are nurtured under a Mou/Mikel/Ronaldo type they’ll put you under all sorts of expectation stress cos they see the potential of God inside you. The longer you stay positive and believe in yourself and work to improve you’ll come out a monster.

Mikel is going to do CR7 stuff with Martinelli.



I have never understood the resistance to giving AMN a run in midfield. He wants to play there and all the ability. With what we currently have in the squad, surely he could make that spot his.

Johnny 4 Hats

Hi Karl.

Dave cee

This. AMN bossed it at Old Trafford when Wenger was still in charge ( and was dropped next game) give him a chance to show what he can do there, please!


Maitland-Niles is like a modern day James Milner. If he continues this trajectory of improvement, I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t have a door named after him at London Colney


What are the established quantifiable criteria to achieve door naming rights?


It all hinges on being able to handle the pressure.

Heavenly Chapecoense

You forgot to plug Ozil into your comment. Nice comment, I loved it.


I might be in the frame then……


yes, it’s not as easy as an open and shut case unfortunately


I reckon there’s a good chance we revert to a back 3 against Spurs, so AMN is more likely to feature at wing back than anywhere else. But after that, I’d like to see him compete for starting slot in midfield. I’ve always been a little surprised by how much Emery and Arteta favoured Willock over him in midfield. AMN is the more technical player, he holds on to the ball better and is a more accurate passer. Willock’s physicality and attacking mindset maybe gives him an x-factor, and the fact he can play as a 10 (even though I… Read more »


In all this, I have yet to understand why AMN lost his place. Not necessarily as a wingback, but if Arteta laments not having enough personnel for the 4-3-3, surely he can have AMN in the middle 3? With Partey? Xhaka and Ceballos are like blocks of sluggish wood really.


Good to hear the fans last night asking that perennial question: “what don you think of Tottenham?” brought a tear of nostalgia to my eye…


They did good on the night but it will be foolish as per usual to confuse this with what’s going on with our league form. We can take away the short quick crisp passing in attack and I think to a large extent the big influence in this was actually having Laca drop deeper to playmake in absence of any other alternatives besides young (less experienced) Willock. But suddenly highlighting AMN for example as a new asset in midfield is erroneous. What looks good against a much lower level opponent may likely not translate to the higher level competition in… Read more »

Colin Wong

It could be well that talented players are subdued playing poetry football due to following structure arteta wants. He insist to keep the shape because he beliefs in keeping possession but this has prevent players to play with their instinct. We dont see Bergkemp Lundberg Pirez keep backpassing just to keep possession?


Arsene also loved a bit of internal solutions


Basically the tactics these days are very attritional.

Once you are neutralised then it comes down to individual quality… which we don’t have in abundance.

‘Just block their left side’ is too easy a strategy for opposition teams.

Cultured Determination

would be very disappointed if he doenst start AMN in midfield against spurts this weekend, though i have a feeling he’ll go for the usual xhaka bullshit. hope to be proven wrong.


AMN in for Xhaka at spurs please.