Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles put in a solid performance when coming directly up against Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
The 22-year-old has previously said on BT Sport that he sees his best position as being in the centre of midfield, but Maitland-Niles was used as a right-back against Crystal Palace.
For somebody who may not be at their happiest in the position, coming up against Wilfried Zaha must have been a daunting task, with the Ivory Coast international having averaged 5 dribbles per game this season – a number that is only exceeded by Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore.
However, Maitland-Niles stood up to him well throughout the game, as Arsenal went on to draw 1-1 against their fellow Londoners.
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Maitland-Niles, who is valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt, gave a solid defensive performance, as he was successful in both of his attempted tackles, while also making two clearances and one interception – in addition that, he came out on top in one aerial duel.
It offers an indication of how good he was at right-back that Zaha only managed to complete two dribbles, which is three below his usual average.
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There will, of course, be disappointment in north London about the fact that the Gunners couldn’t hang onto their lead, but it would be incredibly harsh to attach any blame to Maitland-Niles for this, as he was occupying James Tomkins when Jordan Ayew’s effort deflected in.
The academy graduate also made a slight attacking contribution of his own, completing one dribble.
If there is one thing that Mikel Arteta will be keen for the 22-year-old to improve on, it will be his passing accuracy, as his pass success rate was a disappointing 62%.
Overall, this will likely be seen as one of the more encouraging individual performances from those in an Arsenal showing that failed to secure another three points.