Arsenal are back in Premier League action this week when Norwich City come to town. And the stakes have never been higher.
Anything but a win could well see Mikel Arteta lose his job at the Gunners,. And three points could be the spark that will ignite Arsenal back to their best. So yeah, Saturday is quite a big deal.
And ahead of Norwich, Arsenal fans will already be sweating following the news that both Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny are both out. Thomas Partey’s return will ease the growing injury list. But the former Atletico Madrid star and Albert Sambi Lokonga as midfield depth is not the best of signs.
However, the news could gift forgotten Arsenal man Ainsley Maitland-Niles back into the spotlight. The Hale End academy graduate was eager to leave this summer. Only for the Gunners to block a late move from Everton for the 24-year-old.
Maitland-Niles could be the difference for Arsenal against Norwich
Despite public outcry from both fans and the player himself on social media, Maitland-Niles ultimately stayed at the club as the transfer window slammed shut. Yet in the back of the minds of supporters, they believed that the England international will never see the light of day.
But, with this news of Elneny and Xhaka as well as Roberto Martinez revealing that Lokonga picked up a small knock for Belgium in training, Maitland-Niles could return to the Arsenal XI for one of the club’s biggest games in months.
Moreover, his skill set to impress in almost any position could mean that should Arteta select the midfield, Maitland-Niles might compliment Partey well, leading to the Ghanaian unleashing his true quality for the Emirates faithful.
There’s no official word that Maitland-Niles will feature for Arsenal, let alone start. But with midfielders dropping left-right and centre, Arteta could give the former West Brom loanee the chance he has been begging for for years.