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Mikel Arteta scrutinized over ‘strange’ Arsenal decision

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
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The Arsenal manager may have overseen a convincing victory at the Hawthorns, but his decisions continue to be questioned.

Kevin Campbell has described Mikel Arteta’s decision to leave Ainsley Maitland-Niles out in the cold as ‘really strange’.

The 23-year-old appeared to have won favor upon making back-to-back starts against Southampton and Everton in the Premier League in mid-December. But Arteta’s decision to drop him against Chelsea on Boxing Day has coincided with a change of fortune for Arsenal, having won their last three games.

After failing to feature against Chelsea, Maitland-Niles has come off the bench in the recent victories over Brighton and West Brom for just 37 minutes of football.

“[Hector] Bellerin has done OK in the past few games,” former Gunners striker Campbell told Football Insider.

“I would not say he has been brilliant, but he has done OK.

“I think Maitland-Niles played very well against Everton, but Bellerin has been back in the side since Chelsea. That was a really good win and Maitland-Niles has found himself out in the cold again.

“It’s really strange because I thought he was Arsenal’s top performer against Everton. I do not know what was going on at the football club.

“If it is frustrating for me, I can only imagine what it is like for Maitland-Niles. It must be driving him up the wall.”

Despite turning down reported interest from Manchester United and Wolves last summer, Maitland-Niles has only made four starts in the Premier League this season.