The Gunners academy graduate concedes that the 2019-20 campaign has been testing at times, but he believes progress is being made
Ainsley Maitland-Niles admits that Arsenal have endured some “tough times” in the 2019-20 campaign, but the 22-year-old believes the Gunners boast the “character” to come through that stronger.
Another collection of uncomfortable questions have been asked at Emirates Stadium across the current campaign.
They have led to a change in the dugout being made, with Mikel Arteta now calling the shots, while top-four dreams have faded away once again.
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Arsenal are, however, through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, having overcome Sheffield United in the last eight, and feel there is cause for optimism heading forward.
There remain a number of issues to be addressed, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future and who to acquire in the next transfer window, but Maitland-Niles is among those feeling positive.
The Gunners academy graduate told Arsenal Digital: “We’ve been building a lot of character.
“The tough times we’re in show we’ve got the character to come back and keep fighting, trying to do as well as we can in the league and in the domestic cups, as much as we can.
“[My message to the fans is to] just keep supporting us, stick with us. We’re a team in progress, just like a lot of other teams, and we’re trying to win as many games as we can to please the fans.”
The versatile youngster added on progress in the FA Cup: “It’s an amazing feeling [to reach the semi-final].
“Every club wants to go to Wembley and play. For us to do it, away, and we haven’t had the best of results away recently… it’s good to pick up that win.”
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Arsenal required a last-gasp winner from Dani Ceballos in order to edge their way past Sheffield United.
The Blades had cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s penalty when finding the target three minutes from time, but an on-loan Spanish midfielder was to have the final say at Bramall Lane.
Arteta’s side are now readying themselves for a semi-final showdown with holders Manchester City – a team that swept them aside with the minimum of fuss during the Gunners’ first game back in competitive action after a three-month hiatus.