Should Maitland-Niles replace Xhaka in the Arsenal midfield?

Granit Xhaka made a good impression when he arrived at Arsenal and looked very promising, although it was obvious that e needed to iron out his rash challengers and disciplinary problems, but now a year later he doesn’t seem to have progressed at all, in fact many Arsenal fans have said he has gone backwards and have called for Wenger to play Ramsey with either Elneny or Wilshere instead of the Swiss international.

But now it looks like Wenger will have another option to challenge for Xhaka’s position, as young Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was only promoted to the first team this season, could now be ready to be played in his natural position in central midfield. After playing many times this season as a wing-back, Wenger finally gave the youngster a go in midfield against Ostersund, thanks to both Ramsey and Wilshere being left back in London, and the Boss sounds like he was pretty impressed with AMN. Le Prof said after the game when asked about Maitland-Niles porformance: “It’s his natural position. I think 80 per cent of his game was good, and I feel he can win the ball back well. Defensively he’s quite strong, he’s got good acceleration and it’s a positive game for a first run.”

If there is one thing that Arsenal have needed for years is a strong defensive midfielder, and with Coquelin departed we really have no other option than Xhaka in reality, but is it time for Wenger to start giving his position to AMN a bit more often?



  1. Fitty says:

    Try kolasinac in there! He is strong on the ball! As long as he doesn’t surge forward to attack!

    1. Steve h says:

      I would play him full stop.

  2. Neil Fitt says:

    Try Kolasinac in there !

    1. Midkemma says:

      LB plays DM, DM plays LB…

  3. Midkemma says:


    Please consider this, Xhaka is not a DM and BM got the best out of him by playing him alongside a DM.

    It shouldn’t be either AMN or Xhaka…

    It should be more like ElNeny or AMN, they was both putting in the miles and put in the tackles, cover the back 4…. When ElNeny has played, he has played more of a DM than Xhaka.

    ElNeny has been used as the DM to allow Xhaka and Wilshere to push up in a 3 man CM.

    Wilshere and Xhaka should be competing for the Deep Lying Playmaker(DLP) role.
    AMN and ElNeny should be competing for the DM/Def B2B role next to the DLP.

    Neither ElNeny or AMN is a leader but Wilshere is a leader and Xhaka was/is a leader.

  4. Break-on-through says:

    Arsenal fans are maybe putting too much pressure on Niles to succeed at first team players expenses. You want youngsters feeling like they have not got anything to lose so may as well give it my best shot. But allot of eyes were on Niles in that Europa game and no-one held back afterwards when printing their thoughts down. The old over-hyped bit was used even though he’s only trying to break into the second team. Even if he replaces Xhaka there will be more competition along the way. Someone mentioned how we are doing so badly in the league that we may as well give him his run now. I do expect to see him more but Arsene will try and protect him from the fans expectations.

  5. Kenny Rolfe says:

    No doubt about it, anyone’s better than Xhaka especially a young talent like AMN. At least to the end of the season. League wise ,nothing to play for. Trouble as usual is Wenger, he spent big money on him so will play him until he comes good. I won’t be holding my breath

  6. Phil says:

    Just how much longer is Xhaka going to get given to prove what he can bring to the side?His displays this season have been mediocre at best most games and his defensive attributes are all but non-existent.How many goals have we conceded due to his continual failure to track back with his man?We are desperate for someone to play as a CDM and we will continue to have a soft underbelly until a top draw player is introduced.Elneny sat deep for the 2nd half of the semi-final against Chelski and we immediately looked more compact and solid.The Back 4 had protection and we were rarely under pressure.Elneney is not the long term answer and is a squad player at best but he is more solid than Xhaka defensively although not as capable when in possession.
    Is AMN the answer?He will surely get game time this season with a start next Thursday a chance for him to impress.But until we buy the Top Drawer CDM we have been crying out for since Gilberto’s departure we will not have the base on which our attacking players can thrive

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Spot on Phil with Elneney

    2. Midkemma says:

      When thinking about Gilberto, it is hard not to remember Vieira and how the partnership between them was ideal. They complimented each other so much… Oh how I miss watching them.

  7. Durand says:

    Sell Xhaka and Ramsey and bring in Fabinho for DM.
    Wilshere and AMN will thrive going forward.

    What do i know; probably get another attacking player, Fekir or Malcom.
    Bailey worth a shot tho

    1. Midkemma says:

      Fabinho could be good, without a doubt 🙂
      I think Fabinho could be one for AMN to learn and compete against, as well as give AMN tons of Vieira vids to learn from 😛

      If Wilshere sits deep with occasionally driving forward through the middle if the team needs it then that means AMN can occasionally step forward with the ball, if one or the other stays back then they can cover for each other in moments. Harder to predict which CM will step forward with the ball…

      Having both CM play with the ball ahead of them will provide extra cover for our fullbacks who can offer a lot in attack, Monreal atm 😉

      I think it would also offer more freedom to our attack to be the attack, knowing they can pass the ball back safely to AMN or Wilshere who will not then just pass it back to CB, it could be that platform to build attacks on, pressing high and trusting in AMN pace.

      Obviously swap AMN to Fabinho but yeah, hope you get what I mean 🙂

  8. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Even a cardboard cut out of Xhaka in midfield would be more use than him.

  9. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Can a Gooner mention one Top Drawer CDM he or she thinks Arsenal should sign in next summer window? Top Drawer CDM is not easy to get in the transfer market because no club will be willing to sell it’s Top Drawer CDM to another club. Save, if the Top Drawer CDM forces his way out of the club which rarely happens.

    Having recognized this shortage of Top Drawer CDM in the market to sign must have led Le Boss to be trying to find an internal solution to the problem by trying to convert a Gunner or two to the CDM role for Arsenal which hasn’t quiet yielded any great result since the advent of Coquelin’s conversion to CDM which looked to be succeeding until injury restricted his capacity in that role as a dependable CDM for Arsenal.

    Nevertheless, I think Le Boss will not stop starting Xhaka if he:s 100% fit to play because Le Boss has faith in him and in a 100% fit to play Ramsey and Wilshere. So, it’s left for Xhaka to repose the confidence Le Boss has in him by improving on the quality of his game for Arsenal on consistent basis. I think Le Boss will have a selection headache when all his top drawers central attacking and defensive.mid-fielders of: Oezil, Mkihi’, Ramsey, Wilshere, Kolasinac, Xhaka and Iwobi are available to play as he can only start 4 out of the 7 and drops 3 to the bench. Certainly, Oezil, Mkihi’,Xhaka Ramsey are his favourite starters. But what of Wilshere who is considered a top drawer deep lying? When Ramsey and Wilshere are 100% fit to play, who’ll bench the other. This is where I foresee Le Boss will havie the most selection headache. While he can easily drops Iwobi and Kolasinac to thebench, he’ll find it difficult to drop any of Ramsey and Wilshere for each other to the bench, I perceive.

    For the nonavailability of Ramsey and Wilshere to play against Ostersunds, Le Boss hand was forced to play AMN centrally in that match. But that does’t mean that where he’ll be playing him regularly. For, he has already converted him to a left back/wing back as understudy to Monreal.

    1. Phil says:

      Do you seriously believe this position has not been identified as a priority to fill with a quality performer?For years we have had a lack of physical presence and the Sven and Raul team will be working on this with Central Defenders also on the list.
      Xhaka is not of the quality we need.No ball winning skills,continually loses possession,hardly impressive goals tally,questionable engine and no pace at all.
      He will be replaced as he is not good enough.Simple as that.He may have been a Wenger buy but it’s not Wengers call anymore.Judging by his transfer incomings over the past few years it’s easy to see why.Wenger is losing his POWER before he loses his JOB.The Granit Xhaka buy is evidence why.

  10. Godswill says:

    Xhaka for now.

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