It was confirmed on Thursday morning that Ainsley Maitland-Niles has fractured his left fibula and will miss six to eight weeks of action. It is just another in a long line of injuries to young, Arsenal prospects.
Here we are. Just one match into the new season and already discussing the debilitating effects that injuries have on the progression and development of young players. I am getting tired of the subject, that’s for sure.
This time, it is the turn of Ainsley Maitland-Niles to suffer the unfortunate fate of an injury right at the start of the season that will not only see him absent during the period of his recovery, but will also put him weeks behind the readiness of his teammates, restricting his opportunities until much, much later in the campaign. The injury is only half of the problem.
Maitland-Niles hobbled off against Manchester City in the 35th minute on Sunday. He had tried to power through the pain and soldier on. He realised he couldn’t and Stephan Lichtsteiner was introduced in his place. It has now been officially announced that Maitland-Niles suffered a leg fracture and will be out for six to eight weeks:
“Ainsley has sustained a small fracture to his left fibula and will be out for six to eight weeks.”
It is a major blow for player and team. Unai Emery was depending on him to fill in at left back with Sead Kolasinac out until October and Nacho Monreal only just returning to training this week. He may now have to persist with an out-of-position Lichtsteiner or thrust Monreal into the line-up with little preparation and match fitness. Either way, it’s far from ideal.
And for Maitland-Niles himself, this period of absence will certainly scupper his season. An eight-week timeframe has him returning in mid-October. On Monday 22nd October, Arsenal will play their ninth Premier League game of the season; a quarter of the league campaign would have passed Maitland-Niles by