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Unsung Hero: Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles continues to thrive under Mikel Arteta

Unsung Hero: Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles continues to thrive under Mikel Arteta

Arsenal comfortably beat rivals Manchester United to earn their first win under new head coach Mikel Arteta with one player going under the radar.

Goals from Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis ensured that Arteta earned the first win of his managerial career with the Gunners winning just the second game in their last 16 across all competitions.

Pepe opened the scoring after a cross from Sead Kolasinac deflected off the heel of Victor Lindelof into his path, allowing him to slot home (via BBC).

Can Pepe continue to thrive under Arteta?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The Ivorian was then involved in the second goal as he whipped in a corner for Alexandre Lacazette to flick on with Sokratis hammering home from just a few yards out.

David Luiz proved to be the standout figure for Arteta’s side as he continued to shine in the centre of defence.

The experienced defender blocked the most shots (2) and made the joint-most clearances (4) as he carried on where he left off from against former club Chelsea (via WhoScored).

However, it was the performance of Ainsley Maitland-Niles which seemingly went unnoticed as the Englishman continued to shine under the new management.

Maitland-Niles made the most interceptions (4) and the joint-most tackles (3) as he continued his rich vein of form.

However, his influence in the attacking side of the game shows just how big of an influence the former Manchester City assistant manager has had on him this season.

Nobody in Arsenal’s side played more passes (73) or had possession of the ball more (6.9%) than the 22-year-old.

The Times agreed with this assessment of Maitland-Niles’ performance as they gave him a seven out of 10 as they picked out his defending against Marcus Rashford.

They said: “Composed display to nullify Rashford and recovered from poor blind pass that set United on a counter.” (Source: The Times)

Arsenal fans, what did you make of Maitland-Niles’ performance? Let us know your thoughts!

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Article title: Unsung Hero: Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles continues to thrive under Mikel Arteta

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