Maitland-Nyles … The New Vieira?

Seems that many bloggers are keen to integrate young players into our team…getting excited about Tierney and Martinelli…others are making the point that we also need experienced players to help grow the younger players.

As mentioned (too) many times, I am a firm believer that some of our younger and home-grown players should be integrated in the first team but they must be played in their best position. Bellerin, Holding, AMN are starters for me and I believe that there is case to be made for Chambers if we get a very strong CM next to him.

I think there is no debate about Bellerin and Holding. I want to make a case for AMN as our new PV4.


He played 11 games as a starter in the EPL:

  • 5 in defensive midfield (or right full back in a 3-5-2 set up) for 1 assist
  • 3 as right back
  • 1 in right midfield
  • 1 as an attacking midfielder on the right for 1 goal
  • 1 as left full back
  • He also came in 5 games as a sub.

Performance analysis averages:

  • 2.1 tackles per game
  • 1.2 interceptions
  • 0.7 clearances
  • Executes 1.2 dribbles per game
  • Gets dribbled past 0.9 times a game
  • Fouled 0.8 times per game
  • Dispossessed 1.1 times per game
  • 1.6 instances of poor control per game.
  • 0.5 key pass per game
  • 1 cross per game
  • Completes 0.9 long ball passes per game

AMN is 21, he is fast, rather athletic and has demonstrated a good attitude – I think he has all the attributes to develop into our new box-to-box midfielder. He needs to improve but he should be given a chance – he has the engine and the desire to be a strong player for us. He also is rather good at going forward.

He can only develop into our box-to-box midfielder if he is played day-in day-out and I think that in the right set-up, he could do extremely well. Henry said of him that he was the best one-of-one young attacking player he had seen in our team before he took over Monaco so…

Rewind to my first paragraph and project yourself to the beginning of the season and imagine the following line-up:

Leno – Bellerin, Recruit, Holding, Tierney – AMN, Chambers, Vidal – Pepe, Aubameyang – Lacazette

Ages: 27 – 24, ?, 23, 22 – 21, 24, 32 – 24, 30 – 28

We’d need an experienced CB but we can also live with Sokratis although not ideal. Vidal would play the experienced person in middle of the park and up front, we re OK.

So is AMN our next PV4 and can we succeed with a young, yet experienced team? My answer is yes.

Written by RC78



67 Responses to Maitland-Nyles … The New Vieira?

  1. LBG says:

    Good post and understand your approach. I differ slightly, as I believe AM-N does not have the discipline defencewise for a PV4 role. I believe he and Smith-Rowe will be better suited in the end for more like the central attacking Ramsey role. Both have speed, dribbling ability and tricks to set up and score goals.
    The Vieira role is the conundrum I cant solve at present. On your suggestion I have watched Doucore and think he might do, but is there anyone else. Chambers could do the disciplined defensive bit , but not really the going forward dynamically ,( yes it’s my favourite football word). Time will tell with youngsters, as long as Dick gives them a (proper) go.

  2. It’s bit patronising to hang ‘The New Vieira’ label round Ainsley’s (or any one else’s come to that) neck. Far to much to live up to and I’m sure it would be resented by a decent young player who could make it as first choice box to box or central mid for a number of years to come and who would indeed revel in being known as the first Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

  3. RC78 says:

    LBG – I agree with you that AMN is for now better at going forward. My point was that he could be a good box to box if given the chance, a bit like Ox IMHO.

    SR- good point. The idea was not to be patronising but to trigger discussions on whether you think that AMN could play as a box to box.

  4. Els says:

    I’ve got high hopes for the lad. He looks calm and has good technique. Calmness in a young player is something that always excites me. Add in that he’s a big unit and can move. I’d love to see him in the centre.

    That said I doubt he’ll have players like Vidal and pepe around him though. That balance between youth and experience is going to be tricky to get. That’s why I’ve got no problem with Sokratis as first choice next season. I bloody love him. I can’t believe he doesn’t get more praise. He did excellent individually as part of an average defence. Even with Mustafi next to him we’d still potentially improve overall. Then let holding come back at his own pace and drop Mustafi like a particularly hot stone. We need a tough left back to make the defence more solid imho.

    Good write up mate.

    I’m also looking forward to seeing how much time Willock gets. Also it may be a that Medley has leaped ahead of Mavropanos?

  5. LB says:

    I ask myself how many points am I prepared to see Arsenal drop for the sake of AMN getting used to playing in the midfield, week in and week out, and the answer I come up with is — none.

    Now if the idea is to integrate him into that midfield role in the early stages of the Europa or the Coca cola cup then fair enough but straight into the starting line up in the EPL then no, he has not done enough to justify that responsibility.

    Give youth a chance – Arsenal give more opportunities than almost any other EPL heavy weight and I don’t see them stopping now.

    Anyone who wants to put all our eggs into the Reis Nelson basket right now needs to think again because it is way too early, we need an experienced Zaha.

    We do not have a LB coming through the ranks so I expect us to sign Tierney – is that giving youth a chance? It is to me.

  6. RC78 says:

    Hi Els – last year we got Liechtensteiner so maybe this year we could get Alves…

    Am annoyed that Vidal and Naingollan are both available at cut prices and we re not making a move for them.

    LBG – in the Premier league, it s tough to find available PV4 type of players. Doucoure is maybe one we could lure into our squad. The one that will be a PV4 or Essien type of player is Tanguy Ndombele who just joined Spurs regrettably.

  7. RC78 says:

    LB – good points.

    But there would be no harm in testing AMN as B2B during the preseason and see how it works, for example.

  8. Rasp says:

    Great work RC.

    I tend to agree with LB, but I guess it does revolve around who we buy and who we sell in this window.

    Stats always confound me … I could have sworn AMN was better than 1 cross a game. One of the things that impressed me when he was playing at RB was that he would look up (as in the pic) and put in decent crosses … often pulling it back and picking up a late run into the box.

    He’s definitely a keeper and hopefully a first choice in the starting 11 within the next year if he keeps improving.

  9. RC78
    I prefer the defensive part of his game. He has superb recovery speed & tackle which is more suited to DM than the out of position role he’s been forced into (due to Hector’s injury) where he can be passed by a fast wide forward. He’s also good in central midfield and would make a better partner for Zhaka I think, or perhaps an alternative one. Not too sure about the box to box if Vieira is the criteria here, it’s such a demanding role.
    As you say he has a good attitude and doesn’t seem the sort to complain, but if he continues as wing back where he won’t have an international career and sees his midfield progress blocked by lesser players like Delph, Dier & Winks his mum is going to start making phone calls.

  10. Akan says:

    There is no sign of Arsenal buying a right back. That means Maitland Niles is going to be Hector Bellerin’s backup, which is a great waste of his true talent. Unai Emery likes Spanish players and Edu likes Brazilian ones. The home grown players are there on sufferance because of the quota. British coaches like British players so if you want more home grown players in the team get a British head coach. Problem is none of them are good enough for the premier league

  11. Els says:

    RC78 – Alves appeals to me. Hopefully he can contribute more on the pitch. How was he last season. I’m guessing you are in the know on this?

    I know what you mean about missing out on those two. Imagine the wages though!

    I’ve got to say I’m itching to find out who is and isn’t part of the plan at this point. It makes little sense talking about signings unless we know. How much game time and what type of games are going to be given to each of the following do you think?

    Chambers, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Medley, Saka

    Will we see anything form John Jules, Martinelli, Olayinka, Burton, Thompson… I’m guessing not. I tell you we are doing the right thing on concentrating on these lads. It’s an above average crop.

    Also Beilik…

  12. Els says:

    There’s going to be a lot of spanish speaking going on Akan.

    Self Righteous, haha, you are right about AMN’s Mum. Perhaps she’s the midfileder we’ve been after. Did they kiss and make up yet?

  13. Enias Hamuzwe says:

    This is very true coz AMN is a great midfielder I knew him as a defensive midfielder, how changed him to wing back I don’t know.

  14. allezkev says:

    A good read RC78.

    Maitland – Niles, the new Vieira?
    I kinda know where you’re coming from RC and I have seen him play very well in that position, but he isn’t picked there very often and I have to wonder why?
    Could it be his concentration levels, he can give the impression to me that he’s not always focused, is that unfair?
    He can seem a bit casual but fortunately his pace can get him out of trouble and I have heard it said that he possibly lacks confidence.
    I’m not sure, but as it’s been said above can we risk dropping points to give him time to develop in an area where we already have a lot of issues. Maybe start him in the League Cup there, make him captain, try to bring him out of his shell? Also the early rounds of the Europa…

    Apparently Tierney isn’t going to be fit for the start of the season, we don’t even know if he’ll fully recover. I do like the lad but I’m beginning to wonder if we should move on!
    We could always revisit a deal for him in January – if he’s fit?

    I noticed that Joachim Andersen recently moved from Sampdoria for €30m, not sure why we didn’t go for him?

  15. fred1266 says:

    I for one wants to see how AMN integrated into the midfield

  16. Els
    Not as far as I know. Last I heard was that she was living rough. Big, big shame as she was always in Wenger’s ear or making a nuisance of herself one way or another at the training ground and getting him in the squad. I suppose he got a bit pissed at it and cut the ties. I like her and if the stories are true…very upsetting.

  17. RA says:

    Another good Post, RC, thank you.

    I am not too sure about Ainsley – sometimes he is OK in games, and then other times he looks like he is away with the Pixies.

    As was said above, he sometimes seems to forget to focus, but maybe that’s because he is not playing in a position (RB)that he is comfortable with.

    One thing he is not – and never will be – is another Vieira.

    For me the jury is still out, but it is possible that he will develop in his own way — maybe a loan deal? — but with the lack of meaningful transfer activity this summer there is an element of wishful thinking from concerned fans that ‘X’ or ‘Y’ will make a good fist of any opportunities that may arise for them, but who knows?

    A club with ambitions to remain in the top 6 and even be contenders for the CL should not be p*ssing around and being unable to close deals for 2nd and 3rd tier players, or old players looking for a nice pension.

    But I guess hoping that the club do have ambitious intent is marginally worse than wishful thinking, and is more like Pee-ing against the breeze whilst the current owner and management (Sanllehi & Co) are in place.

  18. LB says:

    “Last year we got Lichsteiner so why not Alves this year”

    Nice idea but surely flawed. At the beginning of last season AMN had not established himself as an able lieutenant to Hector; hence the need for Lichsteiner, AMN obviously has now, so the idea of bringing back up to that position makes very little sense to me.

  19. Sue says:

    Interesting how we’re still top of the whispers (with Saliba)…. the spuds are now number 10, with Saliba… Haha you couldn’t make it up!!
    So Tierney won’t be fit for the start of the season…. why on earth can’t we just buy a player who is… ready, fit & raring to go would be nice! Actually, to just buy a player would be nice hahaha (no over 35’s though 😄)

  20. RA says:

    We have a potentially good backup for Nacho (who insists he does not want leave) in one of the youth team players who have travelled to the US for pre-season, called Dominic Thompson.

    Very young still but if they are good enough – they are old enough, as the old saw goes.

  21. Els says:

    Regarding LB’s point of if we are willing to lose points from fielding youngsters. I’d say that is exactly what we are signed up for now.

    We need to sign inexpensive youth, play them when others wont and sort the wheat from the chaff.

    At that point we try to offload the failed players and hope we get what we paid. Possibly keep some successful ones and sell a few to make ends meat.

    After that see where we are in the table.

    I think that’s the new M.O.

    I’m up for that as Emery is a good fit. I think he can develop players well. Also we are a totally different type of team than under Wenger. Our new style relies less on massively skilled technical players. Under Emery (when it’s working) all of the players will know exactly what they are to do. They aren’t reliant on skill to make things happen. This to me let’s us shop around a little more and also allows us to play younger players. It was too much of an ask to play an emerging Iwobi and expect him to open defences with his skill.

    I’m still looking for silver linings from Le Boss’s departure.

  22. Sue says:

    So, Newcastle are planning a boycott… when we visit. How weird would it be if the only fans in the stadium are gooners? But will it have the desired effect?
    Reckon it’ll be like that at the Emirates too…

  23. Sue says:

    Old news I know… Algeria & Senegal in the final (not who I was expecting!) Bennacer had a good game (tournament even!) from what I read on Twitter (as I didn’t watch the match last night) I think we had an option of a buy-back clause, but have decided not to bother, so looking likely he’ll be sold on & we’ll make some money from it – probably to fund a 38 year old’s (freebie of course) wages who we’re interested in, for a season or 2 😂😂😂

  24. RC78 says:

    Arsenal offerred 30 mln now for Saliba. The player will decide where he goes. We have down what we could. Will he choose Spurs over Gunners?

  25. LB says:


    I am sure you would agree that it is all about balance, Emery will try and integrate as many youngsters as he can but he will do it slowly.
    And in my opinion that is the right way to go about things.

    As for being prepared to lose points for the sake of an experiment?

    Managerial suicide…………….

    There are people calling for his head now, if we slip further down the league do you think that people will be understanding when he points to his attempts to promote more younger players into the first team?

    Those bids for Zaha are not without his consent.

  26. Rasp says:

    I Know many may think we shouldn’t be spending a rumoured £36m on a 23 year old wide striker when we need a CB (or do we?) .. but have you seen the dribbling skills of Everton?? …. he’d certainly get you out of your seat if he can recreate performances like those on youtube (I know, I know … even Chamakh looked good on youtube). MickyDidIt89 would love him in the spirit of ,,, bugger defending. we’re going to outscore you 🙂

  27. LBG says:

    Is it in any way possibly that the Club have been playing a game of bluff, and have actually found £72m for a Pepe bid?

  28. Rasp says:

    Hi LBG, that has occurred to me too … not necessarily in relation to Pepe, but transfers in general.

    All this on a day when some of the big hitting blogs have joined in the #we care, do you? open letter to SK campaign.

  29. fred1266 says:

    I think u meant Ramsey not OX

  30. Els says:

    Hey LB, I agree that it’s about balance, and for me we need a little more experience adding. However I suppose that depends on how much time he’s giving to youth.

    Regarding lost points for youth. I think a manager knows that’s the exact possible pit-fall every time they ask a player to play that isn’t at the top of their game. I’ve heard Wenger say exactly that. It’s not new to the club. I think that on the sliding star for a club that plays only established players to a team that plays only youth. We are close to the former and with that the club knows the downside to increasing players values is that you just might mess up. That’s what Emery signed up for and it’s what we are getting ‘project youth’.

  31. fred1266 says:

    LB surely AMN will be better at xhaka in midfield, the amount of points xhaka as cost us cannot see how wouldn’t want AMN in midfield

  32. fred1266 says:

    I find that strange especially since AMN did so well at RB

  33. fred1266 says:

    Els what the joke with AMN moms again

  34. fred1266
    Ainsley’s mum used to be his agent and was a very pushy soccer mom type who caused problems with Wenger (phone calls) & others at the training ground. He allegedly broke off with her and moved out of the home they shared.

  35. fred1266 says:

    So wait spurs just made us increase our bid on the player steups

  36. fred1266 says:

    Not sure how it suicide since plays like xhaka makes us lose points just the same

  37. fred1266 says:

    People talking about point being lost remember when bellerin came Into the squad and had that huge blonder but he turned out to be a great player that why am all for giving everyone a chance to see if they can actually make it at the club

  38. Sue says:

    Fred… seeing as we’re playing at 2am tomorrow morning (what time will it be where you are? I take it you’ll be watching? Me? – I’ll be in the land of nod!) It’d be awfully nice of you to put updates on here (please 🙏👍) so when I wake up (5am ish) I can look straight on here & find out exactly how it went! Nice one, Fred!! 😄 yes I know it’s a bit cheeky, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
    Here’s hoping it’s a great game (& we can forget our transfer window blues for at least 90 minutes!)

  39. fred1266 says:

    Lol ok nice hope she still his agent Emery could do with some bashing

  40. fred1266 says:

    It 9 pm here, yea I will be watching so excited hopefully they don’t disappoint

  41. fred1266 says:

    Yea will try to do another player review

  42. fred1266 says:

    Yea I for one want the international champions cup in our cabinet

    Strange how we get invited and we not even champions lol

  43. Aaron says:

    Disclaimer- I really like AMN as a player, he plays for the team, puts his head down and just plays, lb, rb, wb, whatever.

    Now, he is not a big guy, 5’10” ain’t big, so the Viera comparison is moot really, as Paddy was a physical specimen and not moved easily.
    Now, if you want a comparison, it would have to be Kante. I do not really know if AMN has that kind of stamina to be honest, but he is calm on the ball and can blow by people if he tries. My guess is Emery plays him at rb to start the season, and not his natural position.

    Concerned about the Celtic kids injury problems, especially considering how much they want for him, can’t the Arsenal just not buy an injury prone player for goodness sakes??

    Of course the Arsenal play stan the maN’s other $h*tty club, in LA to boot.

    Actually, just watched the San Jose Earthquakes dismantle the Galaxy the other day and play the kind of futbol I have been wishing the Arsenal could play. 32 shots, passing the ball with serious pace, attacking everywhere with intent to score. They blasted so many shots on the edge of the box, before the other team set up the defense, and made that impossible to block. A joy to watch, Almeyda is a very good coach.

    Hoping the Arsenal plays all the kids in these games as everyone knows the rest.

    Favorite propaganda piece this week were the pictures on the Arsenal site that show attacking and defending drills, and all I see is players moving or jumping forward. Hilarious stuff.

  44. Sue says:

    Enjoy the match, Fred 👊

  45. Sue says:

    After seeing Man City’s third kit, I’m so thankful we are now with Adidas!!
    It is absolutely vile & has made me feel rather nauseous (just like when I used to see our green kit) wth is wrong with Puma?!! Haha not our problem anymore, phew!!! 😄

    Will Martinelli play later, I wonder?

  46. LB says:


    Both you and I want AMN to be better than Xhaka and in time he probably will but I think that it is very presumptuous to assume that he would be better in the midfield than Xhaka just because we want him to be. Xhaka has cost us points with AMN’s youth and inexperience it is possible that he could cost us more.

    Slowly, slowly.

  47. Mike M says:

    I like AMN and hopefully he’ll develop into a great player for us. I think I have a couple of things to consider. First, is there even a Vieira in the Premier League any more? I think with the improvement in overall fitness of football in general, especially in the PL, his role has somewhat changed. Seems to me there’s much more of a collective attacking and defending with players interchanging. I know Petit, then Gilberto played deeper that the rest of the defence, but now we’re talking about playing with a pair of DM’s. Doesn’t that mean the roles are changing? Second, PV came into a relatively good team with some very experienced players, a great keeper, settled back 4, a prolific goalscorer and DENNIS BERGKAMP !!!!!!!!!!!. (Joking but not really !!). I hope AMN is able to play a part this season but this is a difficult team to come into in a difficult situation. I think we should be very realistic about the impact of the young players, and any new signings, might have.

  48. Mike M says:

    Deeper than the rest of the midfield (not defence !!)

  49. Aaron says:

    Saka looking good, Martinelli missed one from about the penalty spot off the post, should have scored, harder to miss really.
    Nice to see Chambers and Medley as the cb’s.

  50. Aaron says:

    Olayinka with a nice read, intercept and drive to the box, and shot for a goal.
    Eddie had one before, drive to the box, laid of for Martinelli for a give and go, Martinelli had other ideas and tried to go far post. If he laid it back Eddie had an easy goal.

  51. Aaron says:

    Marinelli’s movement and use of both feet with touch is nice to see, as compared to Jenko, who is so limited to his right foot and his inability to move in when needed. Medley with a few nice moves and passes. Burton looks like Elneny, moves to opening and passing sideways forever.

  52. Aaron says:

    Nice work down the left, starting with Medley, and worked up the field and across for a Martinelli shoulder goal.

  53. Aaron says:

    Willock, Sead and Mustafi come on.

  54. Aaron says:

    Sead so out of position, opposition went high and over him, and the Rapids forward had a good look and shot.

  55. Aaron says:

    Auba, Laca and Mesut come on.

  56. Aaron says:

    Sead dragged out of position again, their winger feighted out went in, Willock was in no man’s land, winger threaded pass between them to their forward dragged, and he dragged his shot wide- should have done better really.

  57. Aaron says:

    Laca could not get the ball out of his feet from center, would have scored, then Sead gets beat by his runner and he just drags the guy down. Resulting free kick right at 2 man wall, out man ducks and Macey has to save.

  58. Aaron says:

    Easy warm up game. Hope to see more youth played again next game.

  59. Sue says:

    3-0 hey?! 🙂
    So pleased Saka scored – really like that little beast!
    Martinelli – scoring on his debut – the sign of a good player!! Nice one 👍
    Olayinka – can’t wait to see his goal!! 👌
    Will catch the highlights in a little while… thanks Fred & Aaron!
    As I thought, the kits looked sooo lush, but why yellow on the back?? Looked a bit odd…
    A win’s a win – well done boys!!

  60. Sue says:

    Just watched the highlights (well 7 minutes on YouTube!)
    What a screamer from Olayinka – beautiful goal!
    Huge cheers when Mesut came on!!
    Just trying to work out what I’m drooling over more – the kits or Kolasinac!
    Great way to start the day 😍

  61. Sue says:

    Why has Wilf put on Instagram “Life goes on”
    😖🥺😩 I hope this doesn’t mean we’ve given up on him…. not only will I be bitterly disappointed, I’ll have to buy Fred a bloody pint!! Haha!!
    Come on Arsenal, sign him up 🙏

  62. LBG says:

    3-0 to the super yooful Arse. Well done boys the fun has just begun.

  63. Morning all

    We have a match report coming on last night’s game …………

  64. ………. New Post ……………..

  65. fred1266 says:

    LB we all complain about crap xhaka debit yet still hesitant to give AMN a chance

    You all assume that he will be thrown into a Liverpool game to play no what am saying is put youth into an easy premier game like Newcastle for instance

    I always said if our plays can’t perform against well against lower teams they don’t deserve to be I’m the side and we need to stop assuming the worst of our players AMN adapted so well at RB why u think he wouldn’t adapt better at his preferred position

  66. fred1266 says:

    Usually it a fans designed last year was the first time they did it with the number, so I guarantee they decided to do it again this year

  67. fred1266 says:

    Lol @ sue @ pint

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