Arsenal fans can’t believe what happened to Ainsley Maitland-Niles against Everton

Arsenal were not in Premier League action during this midweek slot, but there were a number of fixtures for fans to keep a close eye on.

In particular, the West Brom vs Everton clash on Thursday evening as Ainsley Maitland-Niles continues to get regular game time after making a loan switch during the January transfer window.

Significantly, the 23-year-old is being given the chance to impress as a central midfielder as opposed to the full-back role where he caught the eye with Arsenal in recent seasons.

So far it’s safe to say Maitland-Niles’ loan spell has garnered a negative reaction from some Gunners supporters on social media.

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The general reaction to the 23-year-old’s debut against Tottenham was one of disappointment, with many urging him to reconsider his stance about his favoured position.

Then despite an overall solid display on his home debut against Manchester United, some fans were not impressed with his failure to play a simple pass that would have almost certainly resulted in the Baggies taking all three points.

With that said, Maitland-Niles had the chance to show improvement when he was named in the starting XI for the Baggies’ 1-0 home loss at the hands of the Toffees.

And there was one particular moment in the second half that has stuck out to many Gunners fans.

The incident in question came when in the closing stages West Brom looked to rescue a point after falling behind to Richarlison’s header just after the hour mark at the Hawthorns.

With Mbaye Diang well positioned in the penalty area, Maitland-Niles picked out the Baggies striker with a brilliant cross and his teammate took a touch before finding the back of the net.

But Maitland-Niles was denied an assist by the offside flag and subsequent VAR check.

As expected, this prompted a response from Arsenal fans on Twitter…

@Manny_AFC1 said: “Nooo, what a ball from AMN.”

@uchmoni said: “He’s offside.. AMN assist doesn’t count.”

@afcwrld said: “AMN assist for Diagne ruled out by a tight offside call.”

@KolaSalisu said: “Wanted that Maitland-Niles assist so bad.”

@Yassine_390 said: “Maitland Niles deserved that assist.”

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Meanwhile, former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole claims Maitland-Niles’ biggest problem is his versatility which has cost him the chance to be a regular under Mikel Arteta.

“I think the problem he had was he was too versatile for his own good,” Cole said on Sky Sports. “There were so many players in the squad. You got an injury at right-back, left-back, central midfield, right-wing, left wing-back, he could play everywhere.

“But it’s very important for young players to nail down a spot and really make that their own.

“He feels central midfield is his position, that that’s where he wants to ply his trade and Big Sam [Allardyce] has taken a chance on him and given him that opportunity.”

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