Maitland-Niles and Hayden train with Arsenal first-team ahead of Chelsea game


Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Isaac Hayden trained with the Arsenal first-team squad ahead of tomorrow’s game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Hector Bellerin was also present, although the Spaniard may be left out of the squad to face Jose Mourinho’s side, with Nacho Monreal set to return. Centre-back Semi Ajayi also participated.

Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry are set to return to action later this month, but Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Debuchy are all still out injured. Abou Diaby is available but may not be called upon tomorrow as he continues to build up his fitness.

Maitland-Niles has trained with the senior team on several occasions, having made massive strides since signing his scholarship at the start of last season. Somewhat surprisingly, the youngster, who has recently been deployed as a central-midfielder rather than in his usual position on the right flank, has yet to put pen to paper on a professional deal, but that should be rectified in the near future.

Jack Wilshere could return to the starting line-up tomorrow, although, if he does, then Arsene Wenger faces a difficult decision over who to leave out of the team, with one of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez likely to make way.

5 comments

  1. I understand the U18’s drew 0-0 with Southampton this morning, a disappointing result considering they are bottom of the league table. However, after the U19’s Champions League game in midweek, some of the better players may have been rested or called up into their international squads.

    1. None of the starting eleven from midweek started today.

      When you think that only one of the u19 team, Iwobi, is 18 and therefore ineligble for the u18s side, we could put out an incredibly strong side for u18s each week. Think a couple were debuts at that level including the cb who, I think, captains 16s.

      In the short-term I love to hear of convincing victories, in the long term the way they play it is surely right (for instance Maitland-Niles, Akpom and Mavidid are doing what they do now partly as a result of fast-tracking and managing playing time for everybody); we appear to have some serious strength in depth in that younger age group at the moment. Bodes well

      But, Jeorge…why’d you have to mention Mait’-Niles not having signed yet!!…I’m a worrier and that guy looks an amazing prospect to me.

      1. Maitland-Niles just has to look at the long list of promising youth players who made it for Arsenal. Aneke, Afobe, Conor Henderson,Lansbury, JET etc. If I were him, I’d only sign a professional contract on iron clad guarantees of first team football.

  2. But none of the youth that Arsenal has let go in recent times have become superstars elsewhere. And zero on a top 6 or 8 level team. So they werent good enough.

    Maitland-Niles would be more concerned rather that Gibbs is only aged a mere 25 or so and that Wenger hasnt caught on about rotating defenders, despite all the injuries.

    1. Agreed, which is why they’ve revamped the youth structures. It’s shameful that in the 18 years Wenger has been at the club, there’ve been a handful of players who’ve made it at the club or elsewhere. Is it the calibre of player we recruit or the training methods? How do you explain Southampton having brought through Bale, Walcott, Ox, Chambers, Shaw, Lallana, Clyne, Schneiderlin etc? Even Spurs are not doing too badly with Walker, Livermore, Rose, Mason, Kane, Bentaleb, Townsend etc all playing in the Premier League. Sterling is 19 and playing first team football for Lverpool – I bet he’s glad he didn’t sign for us when he had the chance to do so.

      It peeves me that Akpom hasn’t yet gotten a game yet you see Van Gaal giving 18/19 year olds game time at United. Against Everton, he had McNair, Blackett and Wilson, all 18/19 year olds playing. When is Hayden going to get his chance? When will Akpom play – he can’t be not much worse than Yaya Sanogo?

      I look at guys like Maitlend-Niles, Akpom, Hayden etc (can’t believe Zelalem bit promoted to the first team before them) and I’m thinking – you must get the same deal that Yaya, Chambers etc got – only sign a professional contract if you’re guaranteed game time. Otherwise you’ll become the next Aneke or Afobe.

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