Does Holding performance mean Arsenal don’t need a new centre-back?

The ex-Bolton youngster Rob Holding made his debut for Arsenal last night against the MLS All-Stars, and he has been universally praised by everyone who saw the game, despite his tender years and his unbelievably low transfer fee.

His arrival at the Emirates was perfectly timed as our BFG Per Mertesacker was immediately ruled out by injury and is not expected to play until Xmas. Arsene Wenger straight away tried to set all our minds at rest by declaring that he was definitely in the market to get an “experienced” replacement.

But last night perhaps changed his mind after watching Holding outshine even Calum Chambers who has been with us for the last three seasons. Wenger said about Holding after the game: “He has adapted surprisingly in a very good way. He reads the game well and understands what’s going on. He anticipates well and that’s a quality, at such a young age, that you don’t find a lot.”

Although Wenger says that Holding is young, he will actually be 21 in September, and is older than when Hector Bellerin first became a regular in the Gunners starting line-up. If Wenger brings in yet another “experienced centre-back” then Holding will be used very infrequently this season, with Koscielny, Gabriel, and maybe Chambers and Bielik ahead of him in the pecking order and his development may be stalled.

Should Wenger forget about buying and promote Holding immediately?



  1. No.. .it doesn’t mean that. It means we still need an experienced CB. It means Holding is a good player and Can develop to be our main CB in years to come. It means he will learn from the experience CBS. He will start some games here and there. He will cover for injured players and will develop drastically.. means he might come cheap but his value will rise and not all cheap players are bad..

    1. I think Wenger should get Ashley Williams for some experience. To back us up when we need the experience.

  2. If we get a quality CB this year, he will settle to the English game in a year, and then take over the mettle when Kos starts fading and Mert retires. Rob can be in line in a year too, and I would give him equal chance as Gabriel, somehow I still believe Gab will be a good backup for years to come. After all, Kos did not do wonders in his starting years!

  3. I liked Holding y’day, cool and clam, knowing his position , reading game very well. Had good understanding with Beilik and might be next star like Bellerin.
    Still I think it was friendly game and we can’t make out much from that. There is lot of difference in playing in PL, CL and in friendly.

    We should buy one WC CF and send Chambers on loan and play Holding in league cup and if he perform really well then we can promote him in PL.

  4. Besides for Koscielny we have no CB that’s considered good enough at the moment. Chambers and Holding are both risks at the moment since they’re so young, and Gabriel has yet to show he’s good enough to be a starter. Hoping this Mustafi deal actually happens. That would interestingly leave us with 5 defenders in the 1st team if we include Mertesacker. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last season with us. Chambers could still go on loan as well which I think would be great for him.

  5. If you just count CB numbers you might think Arseanal are good with CBs. Remember the old Wenger “2 1st team quality players for each position.” (But this assumes players like Chambers and Holding fit the bill).

    Mert, Kos, Gabriel, Holding, Chambers, and perhaps Bielik. That is at least 5 already.

    Chambers: I believe Arsenal picked up Holding to be the player they HOPED Chambers would become. This means Chambers could go out on loan – and that could be good for him.

    Mert: I don’t think Arsenal are looking to Mert as a regular player anymore – maybe I am wrong but I see him more as a part-time CB or as a sub to clear out balls from the box late in games – things like that.

    Gabriel/Chambers: Sadly, these CBs have not quite played up to Arsenal standards thus far. So it is difficult to know how Wenger looks at them.

    Holding: This player may indeed emerge as the most trusted. The next few games will tell us more.

    Bielik: He is reportedly maturing rapidly. But does Wenger see him as a defender or as a DM. Probably DM.

    Transfers/Mustafi: If Arsenal do acquire another CB you would think there would be some clearing out to do. Mert could naturally move on next season due to age/retirement. Then it becomes a question of maybe selecting one more CB to let go?

  6. Calm down! It was only one game, against a retirement team that play together once a year. Ox scored against Lens, I guess we don’t need Mahrez either!

  7. You can not judge a player by 1 friendly against ageing players
    Remember Sanogo scored a hat trick during a summer friendly
    Holding was Bolton’s best player last season, so he def has potential

    You judge a player by playing lots of PL matches
    So we can’t judge him yet

    That is the reason it is Vital that an experienced CB is signed
    I am sure Wenger will sign one because to not do so could jeopardise our whole season.

    Mert is out for 5 months. If Koscielny is injured will you trust Chambers, Holding, Gabs
    to keep out Ibrahimovic, Mkthariyan, Aguero, Kane, Lukaku, Vardy etc

    So we MUST sign an experienced QB
    Even Ashley Williams for £5-£8 million will be fine

  8. Chambers 16 mill in July 2014
    and 16 mill Gabriel in Jan 2015
    have been poor Wenger purchases.
    Wenger having learned his lesson
    plays safe and buys 2 mill Rob Holding.
    Coquelin is to cover CB.
    But suddenly we hear he’s on the case of 20 mill Mustafi!!!
    And then we need another marquee attacker.
    Gazidis tell us one day the money is there but
    the next day he tells us we can never match other clubs.
    Media “reports” fan the flames by informing us that Wenger is ready
    to rush out and spend 100 mill on Lacazette Mustafi and Mahrez.
    Next day the same outlets “report” all transfers are off.
    Perhaps he will wait to see the Liverpool Leicester and Watford matches first?
    Perhaps he has already secretly signed Griezmann Neymar and Varane?
    Perhaps Wenger needs to go and referee another charity match
    at the Vatican and receive divine inspiration 🙂
    One thing is for sure..nothing is for sure:)

    1. @dnz
      How long has Gabe been with AFC? Yet, just about everybody is labeling him a bad signing from a few bad games. When he was killin it, many on here was blowin him. Now they’re ready to dump him for an aging and slower Williams. For real?
      Yet guys like Jack, Aaron, Ox and Theo have been liabilities for a few seasons…
      Go figure.

      1. @NYG.
        Not sure when Gabe was killing it.
        I like the guy I hope he succeeds.
        He came in Jan 2015 when Arsenal’s
        defense was in a shambles but he got injured immediately.
        By the time he recovered Coq was bossing it Mertz and Kos had formed
        a brill partnership till the end of the season so Gabe did not get a chance.
        Last season Gabe had a reasonable season but punctuated
        by some worrying inconsistencies and
        overall slow poke Mertz still out ranks him.
        With Cech behind him and Coq and Xhaka in front of him
        there can be no more excuses.

        1. @dnz
          How long did it take for Kos aka mr own goal to bed in? And Per still gets exposed just about every other match. Yet Gabes gettin the “there can be no more excuses” ultimatum…Sheesh.

  9. With our injury prone Squad.. we need 3players in each department… Any addition is a Plus.. you can see even before the EPL starts Our Captain is injured for about 2months. Diary curse.

  10. Well I wonder why Wenger does not go for the likes of Draxler, Abumeyang and a very competitive CB oh forgot that he and the board of directors are stingy will rather go for underage than spending good money on quality. What is the football governing consul doing allowing clubs exploring all these youngsters especially Arsenal and Wenger. Let no one give me that crab that the board calls the short even if they do and the coach is a winner @ heart and threatens he will be taken seriously. Of course Arsenal has a bunch of losers @ the hem of affairs and a greater failure as the coach we do not expect less from them. Fans do not be deceived the club is no longer the Pride of London rather a laughing stock so guys lets wake up and do the needful by boycotting matches, do not buy tickets @ least their pockets will not end up fat and the club going down. The club is only good @ earning history not winning trophies.

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