Is Maitland-Niles first in line to be promoted to the Arsenal first team?

Arsene Wenger was obviously worried about facing a battling in-form Norwich side this evening as he only named three inexperienced players in the Arsenal starting line-up. We all knew that Matt Macy was going to replace the injured David Ospina , and Reiss Nelson has been wowing all of us every time we have seen him play.

But it would seem that the third of the incoming trio, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, is the one that has impressed Wenger the most. He said before the game: “The huge advantage of Maitland-Niles, and the disadvantage as well, is that he can play everywhere,”

“Sometimes when you’re a manager, you use the comfort of being able to get him to play wherever you need him to. He can play on the flanks without any problem because he has pace, he’s an intelligent boy and I think he needs to add that little bit of extra force for 90 minutes. But he’s so comfortable on the ball, so quick, so good and can steal the ball too.

“He can also play central midfield, but I must say that he’s close now to being a regular in the first team as well. I would be on my toes if I was a regular player in the Arsenal first team. His preferred position is central midfield and that’s where I believe he will end up.”

Everyone has been clamouring for Jack Wilshere to take over from the disappointing Granit Xhaka in the midfield position, but could Maitland-Niles be even more likely to make the step up to the starting XI? Mind you, Wenger used to say the same about Oxlade-Chamberlain….



  1. Arsenal has some youngsters that are ready for some first team football…….and if Wenger does not give them hope by giving them some game time…..I’m afraid some of them are going to leave……..Maitland, Nketiah, Nelson, Willock, Martinez and Nwakali to name few…….are ready for first team football

    1. Us Tott and Liv are the only teams that give youngsters a good chance at the top clubs, and we are the only clubs yet to win a title lately. Conte was moaning about not getting players he wanted yet they had arguably the best set of youngsters in the league, or had ones who deserved a chance at least.

  2. Mainland-Niles is a top top player but right now it is Nelson that is first in line.

    1. Maybe not Reiss because of the formation the first team plays – unless Wenger’s going to risk playing him where Ozil normally plays or changes the system. Because we’re having a few problems in defensive midfield then probably M-Niles would be the one.

  3. …currently, to date – its maitland-niles followed by eddie nketiah then reiss who i would want to be in the first team mix. its not always the favourites in football that eventually show what it takes to be a professional footballer. maitland-niles is the first for being incredibly neat passer and having a physical presence, something i think is important in the prem. if you’re weedy you wont last long in the prem (imo).

  4. So I’ve just read that we may face disqualification or we may have to replay v Norwich because of too many substitutions in extra time…. same for man city

    1. No the Sun headline is misleading and they even clarify the rules in the story itself. If you have made the usual max 3 subs in normal time then you can also use a 4th in extra time. If as we did, only made 2 subs in normal time then it was quite legal to make 2 more in extra time. In essence, a total of 4 subs are allowed in the game but only if it goes to extra time. Also the 4th official who monitors substitutions would have stopped them if he doubted the legality.

  5. Arsenal have some promising youngsters in the team and Wenger should give them playing Time naitland miles and Willcox and neison should play more, ntakiah as well

  6. Niles is more suited to a holding role than Wilshere, at least it’s another option besides Elneny and Coquelin. It’d be good to find out who he works best alongside, my gut tells me it’ll be Wilshere but the lack of height may be a disadvantage. Still looking forward to Bielik eventually given a shot. Niles and Bielik is who I had down as most likely because of their ability to take and give knocks. I had Nketiah down as an outside shot but it’s still early to tell. Nelson I’d worry about, if you are of slight physique but tricky and pacy you will feel the brunt of many badly timed challenges, esp in midfield as you see the ball quite often. I wouldn’t want him getting a bad break while still a teenager, I’d hate to see that.

    1. Very sensible comment and fully agree that Maitland-Niles is more suited than Wilshere and Coquelin and possibly Elneny. Believe with coaching, experience and confidence he’s got the mojo to even improve on Xhaka who has been average so far…

      So I would be for selling Coquelin and even Elneny.

      However I believe we need a world class CM to get us challenging!

      Also impressed by and have feeling that Nketiah and Nelson can be the real deal and should start getting bench time!

      1. Was an interesting comment from Wenger. I may be reading too much into it but I thought he was sending Xhaka etc a message.
        He knows they haven’t been performing to the level we expect but that there is nobody really there to come in and replace them.

  7. Do we have young cb in youth academy than we should give them chance instead of playing eleny @ that position in these type of game or Europa league.

  8. For now I want to hear the name Nketiah.
    He deleted embarrassment that was written against us till he came in. Instant hero.

  9. Arsenal appointing Raul Sanllehi ex Barcelona man to be Arsenal sporting director, to work alongside Arsene and bring in the next Neymar. He brought Alexis to Barcelona, it’d be great if he could convince him to stay.

  10. Apart from the goalkeeper(s), I am a bit worried there are too many young talents of the same type:
    Good on the ball and good going forward.
    But none with a strong physique and with “steel” in their play, so they are valuable, when we don’t have the ball, and none who looks capable of giving us, what we really need. A strong DM and a new strong CB.

    1. Agreed… we need some big and quick defenders… Da Saliva could be ideal with his physique… he should have slotted into back 3 last night and Elneny moved forward… no point having Coquelin at all as CDM when we are at home … against Norwich,… in Carabao Cup !!!

      1. Dasilva has something about him! I would love see him getting a chance down the line to debutise for Monreal….

  11. Mainland-Niles is really nothing special. Jack is so much better. Xhaka just doesn’t have it. As a team we have a few good players but I don’t see Mainland-Niles making us better. Wenger’s transfer policy was bizarre last summer.

    1. Hold on there…I didn’t see anything from Jack that got me excited yesterday. I would say that he didn’t show enough to warrant getting ahead of Xhaka!

      Jack is one of ours but lets stay objective….

      Actually would like to see Maitland-Niles in first team environment to see what he could do.

      Coquelin is an enigma…how come he was further forward than Iwobi most times yesterday when supposed to protect back three???????

  12. I just hope he won’t end up like the Ox also cos this was how he started ‘he is vasertile, he can play everywhere’; yet he ended up not being good anywhere…….

  13. When Wenger start youngsters all supporters cry, when he does not start them then you guys moan too. I really dont understand what fans want. Arsenal has produced a lot of young talent during Wenger’s time. But fans want teams to be run like Chelsea, Man City, and United. These three teams, how many youngsters did they produce in the last 10 years? I prefer Wenger’s initiative of promoting young talent. Other big teams buy “world class players”

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