Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles has disputed Granit Xhaka’s claims that Arsenal were scared against Watford on Sunday, and also stated that the Gunners should have stopped playing out from the back.
The £35k-a-week (Spotrac) man said: “Words can’t describe how I feel about it. I don’t think (that the team was scared), I think we tried to play the way we played. We should have changed it instead of being so persistent and trying to play out from the back.
“We’ve spoken to each other as a team and the manager has also spoken to us. We know we’ve done wrong, we can all hold our hands up and blame each other if we wanted to, but we’re a team and we take the responsibility as a team to be better.”
TBR’s View – Maitland-Niles’ assessment is pretty much spot on
Arsenal showed a lack of personality in terms of changing their approach, instead robotically persisting with passing out from the back.
But they were not scared to get on the ball – if anything they tried to play it too short too often. Perhaps it’s a concern that a young player like Maitland-Niles has a better assessment of the game than Xhaka.
It’s a tricky situation for Maitland-Niles, who is a young midfielder pressed into action at right back for too long because of Hector Bellerin’s injury.
He must be hoping he can return to the midfield sooner rather than later.