Mikel Arteta sent two-word Ainsley Maitland-Niles message after another no-show against Tottenham
Former Crystal Palace and Aston Villa winger Yannick Bolasie wants to see Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles given more playing time under Mikel Arteta.
The 23-year-old, who broke into the club’s first-team during the 2017/2018 season, has been left as an unused substitute in five of Arsenal’s 11 Premier League matches this season.
He has made five appearances in England’s top flight since the beginning of the campaign, but has only played 187 minutes in total.
Bolasie, who remains contracted to Everton until July of next year, took to Twitter to express his disappointment at Maitland-Niles’ situation.
He posted a simple, two-word message: “Free AMN.”
The former Ipswich Town loanee was again overlooked during Sunday’s north London derby, with Arteta instead electing to introduce Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah from the bench during the match.
Maitland-Niles, who can play at full-back as well as in central midfield or out wide, is a product of Arsenal’s youth academy and has already played for the club’s senior side on 112 occasions.
Two first-half goals from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane decided the result of Sunday’s match, condemning Arsenal to 15th place in the Premier League table while Spurs leapfrogged Chelsea to return to the summit.
The club’s problems in front of goal seem to be more apparent than ever, with Arteta’s side failing to score from open play in any of their last seven league outings.
Despite the result, the Spaniard praised his side’s efforts following the final whistle at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“I take a lot of positives for the way we played, when we come here in this moment and play with the personality, the courage, the passion, the energy and the belief the boys showed,” he said.
“At the end it’s a football match and you have to win it, and we lost again today.”
Arsenal return to Europa League action on Thursday as they travel to Ireland for their final Group B fixture against Dundalk.
Three days later the Gunners will welcome strugglers Burnley to the Emirates Stadium as they desperately seek an end to their disappointing run of recent form.