Mikel Arteta has jokingly admitted he told Ainsley Maitland-Niles that his nonchalant penalty style is going to give him heart attack as the defender casually tucked away his spot-kick in Arsenal’s shootout victory over Liverpool.
The Gunners secured their place in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup, getting the better of Jurgen Klopp’s side at Anfield on penalties.
Liverpool had plenty of chances in the second half, but Bernd Leno made several key saves to keep his side in the game, and as the match finished 0-0 in normal time, a penalty shootout was required to separate the two sides.
After Leno saved Divock Origi’s spot-kick, it was Maitland Niles’ job to take his side’s fourth penalty, and in his usual laid-back style, the 23-year-old practically walked up to the spot and side-footed the ball into the net.
German Leno went on to make another save from Harry Wilson, before Joe Willock’s effort crept under Adrian to send the Gunners through to the quarters.
After the game, Arteta revealed Maitland-Niles’ penalty style had his heart rate through the roof.
‘I told him in the dressing room that I’m going to have a heart attack because with his body language… Jesus Christ,’ the Spaniard said.
‘He puts it in the net which is the reason why he was one of the subs.’
The Gunners got the better of City in last season’s FA Cup semi-finals, and the Spanish boss will be hoping his side can put in a similarly strong performance when the two sides meet again in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.