Arsenal player Ainsley Maitland-Niles had to endure quite a lot of criticism on social media since Saturday’s 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town, where the Gunners produced a poor second-half showing.
The North London club were without their main striking force, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, due to illness while Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil also missed the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium.
But, the 21-year-old Maitland-Niles was given quite a hard-time on certain platforms in the aftermath of the match that saw Arsenal climb to just one point outside the top four of the Premier League.
Ever since bursting into the Arsenal first-team last season, Maitland-Niles has been playing out of position to help accommodate the team’s injury problems.
Normally more accustomed to playing on the right-wing in an attacking formation, Maitland-Niles has been playing as either a right-back or a wing-back due to the season-ending injury to Hector Bellerin.
Stephan Lichtsteiner’s struggle to cope with the pace of the Premier League has seen manager Unai Emery placing his trust in Maitland-Niles rather.
On Saturday, the youngster was caught in possession on a few occasions, while he also gave away a few lose passes.
But, the criticism he’s had to face by some sections of the Arsenal fanbase on Twitter specifically, after the match was a little bit unfair, given how good he was in attack on the day.
Maitland-Niles was causing the Terries a lot of problems with the runs he made on the right-flank and his linkup play with Alex Iwobi was also very impressive.
It was ultimately he who assisted Alexandre Lacazette with a neat pass to score Arsenal’s second goal of the afternoon.
The fact that Maitland-Niles has actually adapted so well to a defensive position since getting the nod in Arsene Wenger’s first-team last season, shows the great potential and talent he has to become a great Arsenal player in the future.
The club’s fans should rather give him time to grow into the experience of being a regular starter for the team before laying into him on social media.