Paul Merson’s two-word Ainsley Maitland-Niles verdict as Mikel Arteta drops selection hint

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Here is your Arsenal morning digest for Monday, September 20.

Merson’s Maitland-Niles verdict

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson was impressed with Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cameo against Burnley on Saturday.

“Maitland-Niles came on, who I thought was did really well when he came on, very well”, Merson told Sky Sports News.

The Hale End graduate replaced Ghana vice-captain Thomas Partey in the second half at Turf Moor as the Gunners were able to hold onto their 1-0 lead after Norway captain Martin Odegaard gave them the lead thanks to a stunning free-kick.

The 24-year-old could start for Mikel Arteta’s side as they take on AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Keown hails Arteta

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has heaped praise on manager Mikel Arteta for his decision to deploy Partey as the lone defensive midfielder during the Gunners’ win against Sean Dyche’s side.

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“The use of Partey was really intelligent today, getting him in front of the back four so he can compete”, Keown said on BBC Match of the Day.

“Partey just sitting in front and then you can go and play your football with that base.

“If I had been in this back four today I would have wanted Partey challenging for that ball and then the central defenders can just mop up nicely.

“Ben White looking the part here because he is getting the best use out of the players in front of him.”

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Read more here.

Wimbledon selection hint

Arsenal starlet Folarin Balogun starred against Chelsea’s Under-23s team on Sunday afternoon, bagging two goals and an assist before being substituted in the 38th minute.

Some Gunners’ supporters guessed that Balogun coming off was perhaps a hint at how first-team head coach Mikel Arteta could lineup for the aforementioned game against Wimbledon, with the 20-year-old likely to lead the line.

The Hale End graduate started the north Londoners’ Premier League opener against Brentford before making an additional appearance from the bench against Chelsea the following week.

Read the full story here.

Source by Football London

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