“Rob Holding marks the space and not the player.” Campbell analyses Villa goal

Kevin Campbell says George Graham would have subbed off Rob Holding if he was Arsenal’s manager because of Ollie Watkins’ goal against the Gunners.

Watkins scored an early goal as Arsenal succumbed to yet another Premier League defeat, and their second in as many games against Villa this season.

The Gunners had been looking to recover from their 2 match winless run when they faced the Villans.

But they allowed Watkins to score the game’s only goal within 2 minutes of kick-off.

Arsenal laboured but couldn’t find an equalizer, with their opponents coming closer to notching more goals.

Campbell watched as Arsenal defended the goal poorly and blames Holding for not playing his part in the buildup.

He admitted that Cedric Soares made a bad pass to Gabriel Magalhaes, but says Holding should have been tighter on Watkins.

He reckons that Watkins would not score that goal if Holding had marked him instead of marking the space.

“Let me tell you something,” said Campbell to the Highbury Squad podcast

“If George Graham was the manager, he might have taken Rob Holding off.

“He [Cedric] does a bad short pass to Gabriel, but remember, they are not in on goal. Traore has the upper hand on Gabriel because he is all of a sudden caught in between.

“Here’s the problem. Rob Holding marks the space and not the player. This is the problem. If he was tight to Ollie Watkins, I can guarantee you that Ollie Watkins doesn’t score.”

That was a rare error from Holding who has been arguably Arsenal’s most reliable centre back this season.

READ MORE: “William Saliba slammed by Arsenal legend for Arteta comments

Tags Kevin Campbell Rob Holding


  1. I sometimes wonder about Campbell.George Graham may have hooked Cedric or Gabriel, who were both culpable but not Holding who was unlucky when the mishit shot by Watkins deflected off him.The ease with which the Villa winger danced last Gabriel worries me.I hope I am proved wrong, but I am beginning to think we have acquired yet another mediocre centre back.

    1. Why does everyone forget about Mari. This obsession with Gabriel is killing me. The Kid needs to be parked on the bench while he learns and observes Pablo Mari.

    2. Are you sure that Center Backs we are getting are mediocre or is it actually the tactics and coaching?
      Remember when mustafi arrived he impressed.. Over time he became bad.. Same with Sokratis and also Kolasinac.. They were good when they arrived and overtime they became bang average.. Can’t you see the trend mate?

    3. I don’t worry about Campbell for the simple reason he is not bright in the least and has an agenda to always support the time when he played over todays team and players. Lots of daft comments from him in recent times. I ignore him. Suggest you do likewise Grandad.

      1. jon, the big problem with Arsenal defense is the dependence of zonal marking, rather than player on player marking. This takes away personal responsibility for marking your man.
        George Graham coached sides always man marked, but always practiced and implemented well organized disciplined back four defending. The back four practiced, apparently aided by a string, to defend in a line, in moving back and then forward in a line to spring the famous “off side trap.” Unfortunately this disciplined practiced defending appears long gone at Arsenal.

  2. OT But quite staggering :

    It’s being reported that the spud are £1.7 billion in debt due, mainly to their STADIUM, not qualifying for the CL and no trophies!!!!

    1. No FA CUP now either Ken They just now lost 5-4 to Everton. So gutted they lost. NOT!!!!

    2. And KS&E had to borrow to manage operational payments at Arsenal. The financial impacts of Covid19 will be wide ranging for professional sport, not just Association Football.

  3. Grandad! You don’t know anything about football. Gabriel couldn’t do much about that ball bcs Cedric gave him a very short pass, the on holding, his decision was very wrong, instead of marking a player, he was marking space. If he had been tighter on Ollie, believe me, he wouldn’t score that goal.

    1. What a pathetic and embarrasssingly ridiculous first line! You should humbly apologise to this very wise and extremely football knowledgeable man who knows far more about football than you EVER will, SONNY!

      1. 👍 👍 I concur, jon. Based on his comments Grandad has probably forgotten more about football than some on here will ever know.

        1. Holding does not sniff out danger early enough. Same approach to Wolves play that led to the penalty and a Red Card for Luiz. Had Holding charged at Wloves player who passed the ball things might have been different.

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