Arteta already has a Second Beast in Midfield But Will he Finally Grasp His Opportunity?

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, is it the name of a city law firm, an MP of a leafy suburb or a writer of sophisticated crime novels?

No of course not, AMN is an almost 25 years old midfielder playing for the most fabulous club in the world. We all know him, we all believe in him and in a bizarre way we all love him, but when is Ainsley breaking through?

It feels like he is now well and truly in the last chance saloon. There’s an ideal spot for him: back up, or even better, competition for Thomas Partey.

His spell at Roma was uneventful and with well over 100 PL games under his belt now (albeit many as a sub) he should be having much more impact.

His strength seems also his weakness. Ainsley is calm on the outside which gives him maturity, but he also comes across as not bothered. It feels like AMN switches on and off during a game, something he cannot afford, especially not with duracell bunny Arteta on the sidelines.

Yet Ainsley has a good first touch, is a good passer and offers natural physicality to the game. He also reads the game well, is fast and has good stamina. So it is time to push through now, to make a claim for the right midfield spot, to show us all that the genie is finally out of the bottle! He should be our second beast in midfield… Should be..

Come on Ainsley, THIS IS YOUR MOMENT!!!

By TotalArsenal

46 thoughts on “Arteta already has a Second Beast in Midfield But Will he Finally Grasp His Opportunity?

  • The issue that i have is to decide on the backup for Partey and just make sure that we use these backups regularly and not wait for the inevitable breakdown of Partey. We keep the backups warm and then it wouldn’t such a big change when the inevitable happens. I would be happy if we can integrate AMN align with Elneny. 4 Academy graduates in our first team would be huge.

  • Agreed Madhu, and with the European games Arteta has a great opportunity to play AMN, Elneny, Sambi and one or two other midfielders regularly. Given Partey also breaks in PL games seems the right thing to do.

  • We are looking at buying Arthur Melo.. maybe more players as well to boost the team.

    With the players that came in, we suddenly looked like a team that can challenge for honours.. and our second team is not too shabby as well.

    For me, Elneny will be starting games if Partey is not available. AMN seems to fit in with a formation that favours a central midfield instead of a holding midfielder.. one that can defend and attack.

  • It’s good to see the club talking to the fans, via Edu, it’s surely better for the well-being of the club and fanbase to do this rather than keep everything ‘in-house’ and allow the media and click-baiters to drive the narrative.

    This of course won’t please the click-baiters be they Football.London, Metro, HITC or Just Arsenal News etc etc etc, so even if Edu is candid with us they’ll still try to twist his words and their meaning, it’s what they do, we’ve just gotta be more selective in what we click on.

    Arsenal have a fan base that’s growing, sometimes it’s scary thinking about how big we could become and if the club is smart enough and employs the right kind of switched on PR people, who don’t take us for fools but treat us with respect then the club could marginalise the shit-stirrers and grow the product to the benefit of us all.

    I mean why can’t Arsenal be as big as Man United?

  • Regarding Niles, as it stands Arsenal have I’d say about 19 nailed on over 21’s for our 25 man squad.

    If we add a couple more players that number would rise to 21 leaving 4 spaces available if we don’t move on all the players we want to and Niles could be one of those for sure but I’m not sure you could put him at the base of our midfield, even in a pair, and expect Arsenal to compete to the level we’d like to see, but who knows, Elneny and Eddie have rescued their careers so there’s alway hope?

  • Ainsley is a no for me now TA. The ship has sailed.

    I think Arteta doesn’t like his nonchalant style and lack of visible emotion. I always describe him as silky smooth. But that’s not what the fiery boss wants.

    Watch the Amazon documentary that begins on August 4th.. should be very interesting about the boss.

  • Hi Kev. I imagine you mean by asking why arsenal can’t be as big as Man United, that you are thinking of present profile. Most certainly the Munich disaster and their periods under Sirs Matt and Alex have lifted Manchester United to be the club they are in the international public consciousness. They are a quite rightfully a footballing institution. Liverpool FC share this exalted status, and so, I would argue, do Arsenal. Not only are we steeped in tradition and trophies….
    1. We have history. Formed in 1886, not early enough to be included in the original formation of the league, but earlier than Liverpool (1892). Chelsea (1905), Real Madrid (1902), Barcelona (1899), Bayern Munich (1900), Juventus (1897), Ajax (1900). We were the first club from the south to join the Football League. Arsenal hold the record for the longest unbroken record in the top division of football.
    It could be said that Arsenal were the dominant club in the world in the 1930’s and may have continued as such into the following decades but for WW 2. No other side has won the double in two different centuries. Only Preston North End can share the title of “Invincibles”.
    2. We are innovators. The tactics and style of our two greatest managers, Herbert Chapman and Arsene Wenger changed the way football was played. A tube station named after the club, the first to have under pitch heating and numbers on shirts. Our two legendary stadiums.
    3. Arsenal has more blog sites dedicated to it than any other club. The best books written about the club. We have the best looking fans (having recently met him, I can vouch that Frank aka Total is a fine looking fellow), the best chants (see the seminal work, “We’ve only got one song”.) The club is in London, one of the worlds greatest cities, a huge attraction for players.
    We stand poised with a great management team, impressively talented squad of players, and increasingly substantial backing from the owners. If world circumstances allow for the continuance of our great game, I am sure that Arsenal will be at the forefront.
    I agree with you, Kev. Yes, we can be as exalted as any club in the world. And further more, we can win the league this season.

  • I don’t think we need AMN again in Arsenal. He, like many others had his chances and never utilized it. Now in the midfield, you have Partey, Xhaka, Odegard, Elneny, Vieira, Sambi and Zynchenko when necessary.
    Let him go elsewhere and be more useful.

  • Ainsley’s passing’s too sloppy for playing midfieder at top-level.
    He was at his best 3 years ago, in the Europa League, when he was made to play RWB in the 2 legs of the semi-final against Valencia, but he often did a very good job on the other wing too. What he doesn’t have in his locker is a talent for curlers “à-la-AArnold”, but very few players have (Cedric’s cross to Sambi was an absolute beauty of the kind, the other night). In that position he makes me think a lot of Jocelyn Angloma, the former Marseille and France RB/RWB, who wasn’t crowned World Champion in 98, just because Lilian Thuram’s time had come – Ainsley just has to convince himself he’s that good, and that time has come for him to let go of his midfield dreams.
    As things seem to be going right now, there’s a fair chance we might have lost Hector-Reiss-Ainsley at the end of this TW, after losing Joe W. one year ago … this is not what I expected when AW was shown the door, but then again, I just couldn’t imagine we’d be able to afford spending that kind of cash on the transfer market in just 12 months; and beyond the result, the kind of football we played in the first half sunday morning was an absolute joy to watch, so what’s there to complain about?

  • Kev, I know I always bring the squad size in the conversation, but currently we have 27 players above 21.
    On the first glance that shouldn’t be an issue. We have to dispose (sell, loan, release) 2 to be able to register everybody in the PL and competitions. And we have more than that who are looking for an opportunity to leave.

    However in practice we should dispose 3 more, as by the end of next season Saliba, Martinelli and Saka will become 21+, so without that buffer space we will be under pressure to sell/release only for the sake of keeping the squad in check.
    Realistically it means we should get rid of 5+X players, where X is the number of new guys we plan to bring in this summer. (Kevin Campbell wants to bring in 3 more – Tielemans, Paqueta and one from Gakpo/Sane – but we all know he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer).

    So in the case we want to sign 1 player more we have to rephrase the question. Can we reduce the current squad by 6 without saying goodbye to Maitland-Niles. (Where Pepe doesn’t even count as his departure would automatically mean an incoming transfer – he is not surplus to requirements, but below the expectations influenced by his transfer price.)
    My answer would be yes, but it wouldn’t be easy. In case we find proper clubs for
    – Leno
    – Mari
    – Rúnarsson
    – Bellerin
    – Torreira
    – Tavares
    then there will be no pressure to add Nelson and Ainsley to the list. But Edu must work really hard on making this scenario a reality.

  • LeGall, you do well to remind us of Angloma. What a wonderful player. Dispensing with him showed just how highly Thuram was regarded, one of the best players of that world cup.

  • A blast from the recent past, our old academy full back Dominic Thompson has just transferred from Brentford to Blackpool for an undisclosed fee.

    I thought at one time that he was good enough to make it in the Premier but alas he didn’t, or hasn’t yet, so beware the fickle finger of fate o’ young Omari…

  • That’s right Stuart, because as you suggested, prior to the Busby Babes and Real Madrid’s European Cup successes, our very own Arsenal stood alone as the most famous club side in the world.

    I read a book a couple of years ago and some Arsenal players from the mid 1950’s and during Arsenal’s steady decline spoke of a club tour to Brazil, it was around 1955/56/57 if I recall, anyway the Brazilian public and media treated Arsenal like royalty, every game was a major event and although that version of Arsenal was a pale imitation of the great teams of the 1930’s, late 1940’s and early 1950’s and consequently were well beaten in every match the players recall the reverence that Arsenal were held in by the Brazilians. I’m sure that GN5 has something on that tour in his extensive database.

    So yes mate, we don’t always realise quite what a big football club we support, how lucky we are to have made such sensible football choices…

  • Peter, Kevin Campbell, bless him, can say some quite, hmm, how can I put this delicately, some quite questionable things concerning Arsenal, I’d rather remember him for his efforts in an Arsenal shirt rather than his punditry.

    But yes, I’m sure that Arteta and Co have an eye on players’ ages, if I’m correct I believe that Saliba qualifies as Home Grown and we have a few spaces there currently.

    It could be that the business done these last two summers was a deliberate policy to close the chasm between us and the top two and that the next few summers will see a reduction in signings?

    Next season (2023/24) as you say Saka, Martinelli, Balogun, Rekik, Okonkwo, Cottrell, John Jules, Hillson, Akinola, Alebiosu and Harry Clarke are over the 21 mark so a lot of decisions need to be made on their futures?

  • Cheers Kev. It was 1949. Check this out:
    Speaking of books, I was in Devon over the weekend and, visiting an antique centre found a treasure: “Alex James, the life of a football legend”. A biography written by John Harding and published in 1988. Cost me 7 quid but is a great read, includes some wonderful photos, tactical diagrams and illustrations from newspapers of the era.

  • Wow great comments last night and today!

    Haha Stu, you are quite easy on the eye yourself, like a young Sean Connery.

    I can tell that most are no longer very keen on Ainsley. A real shame but I think that indeed his time is (almost) up.

  • Talkin’ about midfielders: according to “l’équipe” site, Juve and Aaron have just agreed on terminating our boy’s contract
    Against well-organised, bus-parking teams, there’s bound to be some be stalemates at the Emirates this season
    On one of those days, there’s an outside chance that bringing on the lad 20 minutes from the final whistle might break the deadlock, or so I think
    And also i’d have nothing against hearing the “Yma o Hyd” belted out in his honor (” we’re still here”, isn’t that exactly what you’ve just been telling us, stu and kev?)
    Start practising your welsh, kev, just in case:

  • Beautiful, LeGall. “Despite everyone and everything, we are still here”…

  • The posts/comments on here today have been 🔥, to be honest. Stuart’s bold affirmations were edifying and make me fall in love (and in awe) of the club ll over again. Thanks for that. It helps to remember.

    Jync, I did see the trailer of the Amazon documentary (“all or nothing”?) and think it will be an interesting watch indeed. This transfer window may be a watershed one for this club in our quest to be taken more seriously as a top top club and a European powerhouse.

  • Stuart here is a piece that I put together for a series I ran a few years back to get bloggers to vote for their all time besy Arsenal team.

    Alex James made 261 appearances for Arsenal over an 8 year period and scored 27 goals.

    Born in Mossend, Lanarkshire, Alex started his career with local youth clubs.

    Alex joined Raith Rovers in 1922, where he spent three seasons, recording nearly one hundred League appearances, before moving to Preston North End for £3,000 in 1925.
    He spent four years at the Second Division side, scoring 55 goals in 157 appearances; however towards the end of his stay there he fell into several disputes with the club’s management, partly over wages – at the time, the Football League operated a maximum wage of £8 a week – and also because Preston refused to release him for international duty with Scotland.

    Alex left Preston and joined Arsenal in 1929 for £8,750, making his debut against Leeds United on 31 August 1929. In order to circumvent the maximum wage rules, Arsenal arranged it so that his employment at the club was supplemented by a £250-a-year “sports demonstrator” job at Selfridges, the London department store. James had an unremarkable first season at Arsenal, in part due to the recovery from injuries he had accrued playing in the Second Division; however, he played in Arsenal’s 1930 FA Cup Final win against Huddersfield Town, scoring the first in a 2-0 win to give Arsenal their first major trophy.

    Over time he settled into his role and became part of the dominant side of English football in 1930s. Playing deep as a supporting player, he scored relatively few goals for Arsenal – only 27 in 261 appearances – but created many times that number. Alex’s passing and vision supplied the ammunition that David Jack, Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake and Jack Lambert all put into the net.

    He helped Arsenal to their first ever First Division Championship win in 1930-31, but was injured during the title race in 1931-32; without him, Arsenal finished second behind Everton and lost the 1932 FA Cup Final against Newcastle United. He had been passed fit before injuring himself in a pre-match photo call for the press, without him, Arsenal lost 2-1. He recovered to help Arsenal to a second title in 1932-33, as Arsenal scored 118 goals in the League that season. Another spate of injuries marred his1933-34 season, as Arsenal retained their title but scoring far fewer (75) goals in the process, but when he recovered they won a fourth, and their third in a row in 1934-35, with Ted Drake scoring 42 league goals that season, many of them supplied by Alex. The following season he won a second FA Cup winners’ medal, captaining the Arsenal team to their 1-0 win over Sheffield United.
    He was famed for the excellent quality of his passing and supreme ball control, leading many modern-day comparisons with Arsenal forward Dennis Bergkamp. His rheumatism meant he wore “baggy” shorts to hide the long johns he wore to keep warm; the baggy appearance became his trademark.

    Despite his form for his clubs, he won just eight caps for Scotland, partly due to Preston’s reluctance to release him for international matches. He made his international debut on 31 October 1925 against Wales, which Scotland won 3-0, his short international career included an appearance for the legendary “Wembley Wizards” team that thrashed England 5-1 at Wembley in 1928, with Alex scoring two goals.

    With age and injuries taking their toll in the last two seasons of his career, Alex retired from playing in the summer of 1937. During World War II he served in the Royal Artillery, and after the war he became a journalist, as well as running a football pools competition. In 1949 he was invited back to Arsenal to coach the club’s youth sides.

    Alex was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the English game.

    He died suddenly, of cancer, when he was just 51 years of age.

  • LG, that Welshman would feel well at home among his brethren in Brittany, me, I’d be more at home in Friesland. 😉

  • 22 players under pressure should be the title for that game
    you can feel how tense they all are
    mead”s done 2-3 very nice things after her early miss, hope she’ll shine her scoring light on this one, eventually

  • “ask, and it shall be given you”
    arsenal 1 sweden 0
    and what a cracker that was: the first touch, the volley, classy beth indeed, well done lady

  • Arsenal 1,5 + Bronze 0,5 – Sweden 0
    Perfect corner by Queen Jane, the rest was easy
    Arsenal – France ahead? Germany, help me out on that one

  • Queen Beth
    Spent the aftenoon listening to King Bob, can’t keep this one out of my head

    “Now when all the bandits that you turned your other cheek to
    All lay down their bandanas and complain
    And you want somebody you don’t have to speak to
    Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane?”
    He was 24, what a genius

  • 3-0
    out of respect for her team-mates, bethany jane didn’t do much on this one
    russo’s backheel was cheeky to say the least, but the swede keeper didn’t exactly cover herself in glory on that one

  • Arsenal 2 + Russo 1 + Bronze and Kirby 0,5 each
    One more assist by you-know-who
    About Kirby, forgot to mention that she had a top-class tackle in England’s box when it was still nil-nil
    Wembely, here they come; may this song be sung for Lionnesses too?:

  • That’s all, folks
    Wish I were anywhere in England to celebrate this (Guinness for me please)
    100% un-biased (organic, you may say) comments those were, as you might have noticed …

  • I’m starting to like these 4-0 score lines. Beth’s first touch for her goal was reminiscent of our blogs eponymous hero. Russo’s back heel was straight out of the TH14 playbook.

    Thanks GN5. I would have two number 10’s in my all time best Arsenal team; Denis and Wee Alex. I’d play them behind Ted Drake with Bastin on the left and Thierry on the right. There is a lovely photo in the book of Alex as a “Sports demonstrator” at Selfridges.

    Recommend away, Kev. I have a good few in my library back home, my all time fave being “The End. A history of the North Bank”. It drips nostalgia.

    I’m starting to grow fond of you, LeGall. Any man who loves Dylan and The Arsenal qualifies for top mate status…

  • Congratulations to the England Ladies. They started tentatively (one would have thought, timidly and feared for them). Beth Mead has represented the badge (you know the one) well and so has Williamson.
    My favourite goal on the night, though, was the Henry-esque back heel by Alesia Russo. That was audacious even though the keeper has not covered herself in glory there.

    With home support and focus, I fully expect England to take win the tournament.

  • As a swede I couldnt appreciate yesterdays humiliation. Still, England deserved that and hope Mead&co take down the tough germans on sunday.

    Dont see AMN happen. Think the AMN train left the station when he said no to RWB.

  • Hats off to the memory of Terry Neill, Arsenal’s youngest ever captain and youngest ever manager. Despite his time at Tottenham, an Arsenal man through and through.

  • Terry Neill has passed
    Of course I’d lied if I said I remembered him clearly, but he was on the Rouen pitch in december 1969 when I saw Arsenal for the very first time
    About the history of the club, Stu, Kev and GN, I clearly remember my dad, who was born in 1924, telling his-10-year-old boy this was one of the very best clubs in the world he was taking him out to see that night
    Terry is also associated in my memory with what may be the best time I’ve ever had in London, a 2-week-stay with my best buddy in february 1980; we saw arsenal – under terry’s management then – beat bolton 3-0 at highbury after being at the greatest gig I’ve ever been to, Clash at the Lewisham Odeon the day before
    To this day, I’ve never seen a player with as silky a touch as Liam Brady that night …
    RIP, Terry

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