I am not trying to telly you that the Arsenal and England under 21 international defender had a good game this week in the Europa League clash with Cologne. Far from it really, and we know what it takes for Arsene Wenger to make any sort of tactical substitution before his usual time of around the 65 minute mark, so Rob Holding and his performance against the Germans must have been a serious concern to the Frenchman who replaced him at halftime.
Not surprisingly the 21-year old was criticised for his performance and given the lowest player rating by many, but I think that the Arsenal; fans at least should not be too hard on him. It was not Holding’s mistake but that of Ospina that put the Gunners behind and the whole team struggled to recover in the first half.
Taking off Holding for Kolasinac did work but Wenger changed the system to a back four, not just the player. Who knows whether Holding would have joined the likes of Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez and come good after the break? We should remember that the young center back is still very much on a learning curve and has already proved himself to have great potential.
The other reason I think Holding deserves a break is that he was one of the few Gunners to get stuck in and show fight in that difficult first half, so let’s give the guy a chance shall we?