Kevin Campbell has tipped Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to hand a rare start to Ainsley Maitland-Niles tonight following Granit Xhaka’s “crazy” sending off against Burnley.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Gunner striker said that the “superb” Maitland-Niles, 23, deserves to be given a chance in the middle of the park.
Xhaka was sent off for violent conduct in the 1-0 loss to Burnley on Sunday and will serve the first of a three game suspension at Leicester City tonight.
Mikel Arteta will be forced to shuffle his pack as a result and could hand a rare midfield start to England international Maitland-Niles.
The academy product has started two Premier League games this season but did not play in his preferred central midfield position in either of those fixtures.
When asked by Football Insider who he expected to replaced Xhaka for tonight’s game at the King Power Stadium, Campbell said:
“It was crazy from Granit Xhaka but it gives somebody else an opportunity now. Let’s be honest Xhaka has not been doing it.
“Tonight is a big chance for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to stake a claim and cement his place in the midfield. I would like to see him start in there.
“We have Elneny and Ceballos but Maitland-Niles could do a job in there. Now that Granit Xhaka is out of the equation for three games, why not?
“He is a versatile England international but we know that his preferred position is centre-midfield.
“In the Europa League he has done superbly there. He cannot be any worse than what we have already seen.”