Opinion: Arsenal is a lot better with Maitland-Niles in the side
Paininthearsenal's Josh Sippie explains why the Gunners look like a completely different team with Maitland-Niles in the side.
On Sunday Emery decided to give Maitland-Niles a deserved rest but the manager's plan, unfortunately, backfired. Carl Jenkinson was decent but not good enough for us.
The 21-year-old provides the team with something special and unique, something Jenkinson cannot do. Maitland-Niles has always had that drive and energy which makes him look like a right-sided Kolasinac but what truly sets the youngster apart is his potential and rapid development.
In a few months, Ainsley has improved significantly in the defensive department and is set to battle out with Bellerin for the starting position next season, having impressed many fans and media lately.
Moreover, the wing-back has become even more important in the last month as Kolasinac's form has dropped off a bit and the team desperately needs an energetic and inform wing-back to provide width and a creative outlet.
"Maitland-Niles is doubly important because Sead Kolasinac has not been as reliable as he has been for literally the entire earlier part of the season. Meaning that the creation that Maitland-Niles provides is such a crucial part of any match. Not least of all because he provides such a valuable outlet to the midfield.
"We need that presence back on the right side. Since the left-hand side has been far from locked down lately, winning the other side of the pitch can make all the difference."