Pundit criticises Arsenal player who was ‘totally off the pace’
Sky Sports pundit Alex Scott thinks Arsenal defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles was “totally off the pace” in a goalless draw against Crystal Palace on Thursday night.
Arsenal made two changes for the game from their last league game as Pablo Mari and Kieran Tierney missed out through injury.
Maitland-Niles filled in for Tierney at left-back on Thursday with the England international producing a disappointing display.
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And Scott was less than impressed by Maitland-Niles’ performance as he was given a chance to prove he can adequately replace Tierney.
“We talk about missing players in this Arsenal team, another youngster in Tierney, how important we can see [his absence],” Scott told Sky Sports.
“What he brings to this team, his runs going forward, his confidence when he’s on the ball and actually making others playing around him, creating opportunities for others, that was totally missed.
“I think moving Saka into that position… Ainsley Maitland-Niles was totally off the pace today. You could see his confidence wasn’t there, he didn’t really want to get on the ball and get forward at times. But Tierney was totally missed today.”
On the Gunners’ overall performance, Scott added: “You can be frustrated with the performance but I think it’s a reality check of where this Arsenal team are and the fact we’re talking about relying on youngsters in this Arsenal team.
“So actually how critical can I sit here and be when that’s what Arsenal are depending on at the moment.
“Even though you’re having to change those youngsters, change Saka from his position that he’s been playing well in to playing at left-back, you’re bringing on experienced players who aren’t really giving you anything.
“I think it’s actually where we need to remind ourselves that this Arsenal team, this season is about trying to climb the table and still rebuild.”