On a night where Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira stole the headlines, one player yet again was making a case for himself to be a member of the starting XI in the months to come.
After a poor game on the weekend against Everton where Bernard tormented the out of position Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the youngster redeemed himself with a flawless performance against Napoli as the Gunner take a good 2-0 scoreline to Italy next week.
Maitland-Niles has quickly asserted himself from a decent back-up option for the injured Hector Bellerin to a player Unai Emery is going to find hard to replace when the Spaniard comes back from his long-term injury.
The 21-year-old was yet again great in the right-wing back position against the Italian giants, dangerous in the attack and constantly being a nuisance for the Napoli defence. His defending clearly needs work, but this is something the Arsenal academy product will improve on as he learns the position.
People forget that at fullback, Maitland-Niles is playing a game that is unnatural to him and something he needs to adapt and improve at, which is what makes the England U-21’s performances of late so impressive.
Bellerin’s injury in January was seen as the moment Arsenal fans gave up on hope for a top-four finish, but in Maitland-Niles the youngster has installed belief back in the club in not just the league but in Europe, and if he continues to perform at a consistent level, Emery is going to have a selection headache when the Spaniard returns.
Arsenal fans, will Maitland-Niles retain the right-back spot when Bellerin returns? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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