Has Arsenal’s Rob Holding gone backwards?

Arsene Wenger overlooked Rob Holding for a starting spot in yesterday’s FA Cup tie with Preston North End, which came as a huge surprise for me, and I’m sure many others.

The 21 year-old joined the club from Bolton in the summer for a reported £2.5 Million, and ended up starting the Premier League season in the starting line-up following a number of absences.

Holding has since lost his first-team role thanks to the signing of Shkodran Mustafi and the return from injury of Gabriel Paulista, but the youngster was still expected to start in the cup, in my opinion at least.

Holding did extremely well when playing alongside Laurent Koscielny against Leicester City before Mustafi joined the club, and he had looked like a youngster who was mature beyond his years.

I was disappointed for him not to get another chance to showcase his talents, while getting more match experience within our side, and coming off the bench well into injury-time is hardly going to help him.

Ashley Maitland-Niles was the only inexperienced player to get the chance yesterday, although it was later revealed that Hector Bellerin had fallen foul of injury, and he may well have been promoted to play regardless of the opposition.

I’m not sure whether Holding’s snub was a statement on his inexperience, or whether Wenger had other intentions. I believe that yesterday was the first time that Gabriel Paulista and Shkodran Mustafi had started a match together at centre-back, which may well have been an experiment.

The French boss may have been trying to build the communication and understanding between the pair, just in case we were to lose Kosc to absence for any reason during the campaign, but I would still have liked to see Holding at least given 30 minutes, although the result was not going our way, and Wenger may have been forced to concentrate on winning the match.

Has Holding gone backwards this term? Do you think he’d of come on earlier if we were winning the match?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Holding Preston North End


  1. I don’t know if Holding has gone backwards, because I never saw him play for Bolton. He was a very cheap signing from the Championship, so I imagine he needs to be given a fair amount of time, and opportunities, before we can judge him.

  2. I saw someone saying that there is a stat which shows a mammoth difference between Wilshere and Ali.I can tell you for a fact that Arsenal is a team which gives youngsters a chance a lot but the waythe youngsters are integrated into the team is very bad.There is also an injury curse in an Arsenal too.Had Wilshere started his career at Tottenham given the same chances as Ali and based on the two reasons I stated he’d have been thrice the player Alli is today.Even Ramsey I blame it on Arsenal.I just imagine him having started his career in a different club who give chsnces to youngsters except Arsenal.Things would’ve been different.

    1. Are you seriously an Arsenal fan? You only see the bad things at the club – how about Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi – all are promoted from our academy. Jack has been very unluckly with injury also partially because of his playing style that provoke defenders to tackle him.
      Spuds got lucky with Ali – and he joined them when he already made his name in the Championship.

  3. I also would have liked Holding to have played more, maybe before Gabriel. He did look pretty good and assured when he played a few games early on in the season.

  4. I don’t think there’s been any suggestion that Holding’s gone backwards (certainly not on the pitch).

    Perhaps Wenger’s being cautious with Holding, because Calum Chambers started off very promisingly at the club but because he was perhaps over utilised he seemed to fall down the pecking order after a few sub-par performances.

    Besides, Wenger’s loyal to his players and he must feel that Gabriel deserves the chance to play when either Koscielny or Mustafi don’t feature. Gabriel is the senior player after all.

    That said, Gabriel scares me, I’d much rather see Holding as 3rd choice centre back.

  5. Bar the Preston, which everyone was crap in Gab has be very good and has looked more reliable, the thing is in a center-half pairing one has to take the leadership Kos/Mustafi, kos is the leader, Kos/Gab, kos is the leader, in the preston game half side traps could not work because both could not decide who is the leader and need time to get their understanding.

    In the case of Holding i would really like to see more of him, because the few times i have seem him he has been good with some little errors and can only get better with more games while he is not playing i hope he puts in some work at the gym. he will have to wait for injures to occur to get a good run in the team. I tnink he , bielik and chambers are outstaanding prospects

  6. We are a club in crisis and Wenger knows it. For this reason he seemed to think about his first team and perhaps trying to give them a chance to get their mojo back.

    Wenger, more or less, started the strongest team available to him. I have to say I follow his reasoning. We need to get our groove back. Players like Mustafi (who had just returned from injury) and Gabriel, who doesn’t play unless others are injured, could do with the game time.

    With Coq injured and Elneny gone, it also made sense to try to give Xhaka and Ramsey time to get used to each other in a DM role.

    In the past Wenger has shown not to be afraid to start a team of youngsters, not unlike Liverpool did last night. We are not playing well at the moment and should use these games to work on getting better not on giving our youngsters a run-out.

    Having said that, I don’t see what Wenger sees in many of his players. I definitely don’t see in Ramsey what he seems to see. And I have to admit I am starting to think he sees more in Gabriel than I see. I am starting to believe Holding should be our first choice back up since every time I have seen him play for us he looks more composed than Gabriel who is starting to look a bit panicky or an accident waiting to happen.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors