Arsenal lost to rivals Spurs on the weekend, which has all-but ended our hopes of qualifying for Europe via our league position, but would Ainsley Maitland-Niles had made a difference.
The young midfielder has done extremely well in his limited opportunities since the break, albeit at right wing-back on in midfield, but it is man-marking defensive ability which stands out for me.
We’ve already witnessed AMN completely nullify the threat of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ beast Adama Traore last week, and you would have thought that while our right-hand side was being targeted, the Englishman could easily have shored things up.
Bellerin and Mustafi were being hounded in the final 30 minutes of the match especially, and I was crying out for a change, although the goal ended up coming from the corner in the end, had we stopped our opponents from regularly getting so deep down our flanks we may have seen ourselves given much more impetus in attack.
Cedric Soares eventually came on for the Spaniard shortly after we had fallen a goal behind with limited time to play, a change made all too late, and while the former Southampton man would also have been a fair replacement to cover for the failings of Hector, at that point in the game we only had intentions of chasing goals, as opposed to keeping some sort of balance.
Maitland-Niles has come under question this season, with claims that he told the boss that he was better off being used in midfield, but he has since came out to say that he will do a job in whatever role he is given, even willing to done the goalkeepers gloves if that is what Arteta wants from him.
Does AMN deserve more minutes than he is getting? Would he have put an end to our weak right-side being exploited by the likes of Lucas Moura, Son or Kane?