The Arsenal fans were delighted with their side’s performance in the Europa League against Ostersunds last night, but they were far from impressed with the display of one individual.
There was plenty of pre-match hype surrounding Arsenal’s trip to Sweden last night for their last-32 first-leg fixture against Ostersunds. The rise of the Swedish side from the 4th tier to the Allsvenskan in the space of just seven seasons under the leadership of Graham Potter was highly publicised and romanticised throughout the British media prior to kick off, but the Arsenal players didn’t allow the pre-match narrative to distract them from the task at hand.
Arsenal took Ostersunds to the sword and dominated the match from start to finish if truth be told. Arsene Wenger’s side were unquestionably aided by the fact that their opponents have been on a significant winter break since the start of November, and the signs of rustiness and lack of match sharpness characterised Ostersunds performance.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were allowed to roam the park and they impressed the supporters by flashing their Premier League quality throughout proceedings. However, the Arsenal fans were not impressed by everyone’s performance last night, as they took to Twitter to criticise their 20-year-old youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles after the game.
Maitland-Niles made a rare appearance in the centre of midfield, as Wenger usually deploys him in wide-positions, but the majority of supporters seem to believe he is too casual on the ball and wasteful in possession to justify a starting berth in central midfield.
Here’s what the Arsenal fans have had to say about Maitland Niles since the conclusion of their Europa League tie last night…
If anyone can watch that performance and still call for him to start in our central midfield in any meaningful game then football is just not for them I’m sorry
— Jordan Denner (@DennerJL) February 15, 2018
Woeful from Maitland-Niles.
He’s been poor tonight and that sums it up.
He's just so casual on the ball. He acts like he's the world best. Always acting like he's the strongest. I blame Wenger for playing him
— Midin (@akinyelefula) February 15, 2018
He looks far too laid back for me you can get away with that sort of stuff at youth level and under 23s, needs to raise his game a bit
— Anthony storey (@storeyanthony) February 16, 2018
Did you not watch the match. He was awful. Not ready for the PL
— kev the gunner (@garyshiels2) February 15, 2018
Was that because he gave ball away 18 times.
— Bob P (@bob1947p) February 15, 2018
Maitland-Niles' composure is one of the most impressive aspects of his game, yet he's often too passive.
Struggles in compact defensive situations (particularly at full-back) because he's lackadaisical in appreciating and reacting to danger. Similar issues hindering him today. pic.twitter.com/G7PBwV69Lk
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) February 15, 2018
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is far too casual at times.
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Haven’t been impressed with Maitland Niles, Playing far too casual in CM & keeps giving the ball away.
— Arsenal (@ffarsenalfc) February 15, 2018