Arsenal Injury Blow: Emery Suffers Fresh Fitness Concern Ahead Of Fulham Showdown

By on December 31, 2018

Arsenal have suffered a fresh fitness concern with Ainsley Maitland-Niles a doubt to face Fulham on New Year’s Day after picking up a knock against Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

Maitland-Niles started as a right winger at Anfield on Saturday evening and opened the scoring in the 11th minute as he swept home the ball at the far post from a pin-point Alex Iwobi cross to give Arsenal a surprise lead.

The 21-year-old was one of our better players as he was a real threat in behind Andrew Robertson but he couldn’t prevent Arsenal from slumping to another heavy defeat against one of the ‘big six’ as a Roberto Firmino hat-trick helped Liverpool to a 5-1 comeback victory.

Maitland-Niles was able to complete the full ninety minutes but the Daily Star are reporting that the versatile midfielder picked up an unspecified injury at Anfield and is now considered as a doubt to face Fulham tomorrow afternoon.

The news will come as another concern to Unai Emery as he is already having to deal with a lengthy injury list as the Gunners boss looks to try and get our season back on track following a disappointing end to 2018.

Mesut Ozil missed the Liverpool game with a knee injury while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck are on the sidelines with long-term problems. Hector Bellerin is also still out with a calf strain so Emery’s options down the right will be severely limited if Maitland-Niles is also ruled out.

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Stephan Lichtsteiner endured a torrid time against Liverpool and has struggled to cope with the demands of Premier League football since arriving on a free transfer from Juventus last summer so Emery will be hoping Maitland-Niles is able to make a swift recovery.

The boss has been forced to move away from a back three in recent games due to our limited options in the middle of defence with Rob Holding, Dinos Mavropanos and Nacho Monreal injured while Laurent Koscielny is still working his way back to full fitness.

However, given Lichtsteiner’s struggles, the Arsenal manager may be tempted to revert to a back three if Maitland-Niles is available as the versatile youngster seems well suited to the right wing-back role.

Arsenal head in to the Fulham game tomorrow sitting five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea so we desperately need to get back to winning ways before we’re cut off from the Champions League qualification places.

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