Should Rob Holding be Arsenal’s first-choice centre-back from now on?

On Sunday Arsenal will play their 5th game in just 17 days and although we have drawn 3 of them there is no sign of us flagging just yet, and Emery has been rotating his pawns like a grandmaster. So when Wolves come to the Emirates tomorrow we will see another raft of changes to the personnel on the pitch, but Rob Holding, who has played the full 90 minutes in four of those matches, just wants to keep going without a rest, which is quite lucky as we have been struggling badly with defensive injuries lately.

Holding told “The past three weeks have been a game, two days break, a game, two days, so it is just about getting a recovery session done, getting yourself feeling up to scratch to go again on Sunday,”

“There’s definitely momentum about the team, we’ve rested some players who will probably come in at the weekend and we’ll go again and hopefully get the win. I want to play every minute that I can. I am feeling fit and healthy. I just want to get as much game-time as I can.”

The ex-Bolton man has been a revelation since coming into the first team and I think Emery now regards him as a mainstay of the side. He is young, and like Guendouzi, keen to play in every single game.

Should he now be our Number One centre-back?

Sam P


  1. I would love to see the two Greeks in central defence. Not saying Holding is bad but Greeks are good at defending like we all know.

  2. If all our CB’s were fit, Sokratis would be my first pick, and possibly with Koscielny. Holding has improved, but I still think, he is too slow, and that will never change. So in the long run, I hope we will have better options.

  3. Holding should be in the starting line up, he seems to be a faster version of Metersacker.
    sskkrrrrrrr! pop! pop!! Reiss Nelson came in from the bench again to score Hoffenheim’s winning goal.
    I don’t get why people want him to be recalled in Jan, well Emery says that’s not even up for discussion that he’ll be there till next season.
    Let him have his fun

    1. It will be a big mistake for Emery to recall him back from loan unless in the case of a serious emergency.I’ve been following him like you do and if you put the stats away you’d see that the guy has tons of things to learn before being considered ready.I’d have even sent him on loan to an EPL club next season to fully polish him up but that’s not up to me.Hoffenheim’s approach is more about only efficiency.Id love him to go a smaller club that will like to play ball as well.He’s finishing well and doing well but for his style of play a club that seeks to play ball will help him build his game better.

      1. Aside the stats Kev, Nelson truly hasn’t been impressive, yes he’s competing for the golden boot already but truly like you said, he has a lot to learn before he can be a starter and great player for us..

        1. Well observed.Also, correct me if I’m wrong but I feel their style of play does not really fit his style.Yes I know hes scoring and all that but Hoffenheim barely hold the ball.What do you think?

          1. I’d have loved to see him at Bournemouth or Or one of Sevilla and Valencia. But still him at Hoffeingham ain’t a waste of time, at least he’s getting exposed to tough challenges.
            It’s still good for him, I don’t really think he can solve our RW problem now that’s why I never even considered him staying at the start of the season. Anyone who follows Nelson closely will know he still has a lot to learn. Maybe next season we’ll give him a chance at RW during matches against lower teams, not Europa (Lol, cus I believe we’re going to the UCL)

            1. Also debatable if he’s a winger in the first place.He is actually a No. 10 ain’t He?In our academy I remember him at the wings in U16’s or so where he was a more showboat type of player.I think his actual position is No .10 though.

              1. I’d say his position is very comparable to Iwobi, a left inside forward, someone who will drive towards the goal from the left and use his stronger right foot to be a threat. Not to forget that they can be creators in their own right, both capable of playing a number 10 but they would be more driving forward types instead of orchestra directing Ozil style.

                He likes to run at players and from what I have seen he appears to be a very intelligent player who will pay attention to what is being asked from him. He has spoken about instructions and Emery does like to give instructions, while I am not saying he is ready right this second, I do think he could be a good squad player next season. Capable of coming on as a sub and when given the right instructions, be a game changer, a super sub for a season or two as he grows.

  4. When all are CB’s are in form Koscielny and Sokratis are better than him.I haven’t seen much of Mavropanos so I can’t judge him very well even though he showed promise in his few games.The current Holding is as good as he was in his first season where he was also good but the main problem is that like Callum Chambers when faced with a fast tricky player one vs one he’s easily turned.When a CB does not have speed that CB must be excellent in reading of the game to be develop into a world class player.Quite frankly I think he’s a decent CB nothing more nothing less.

    1. Been a long time since Koscielny was in form, you’d have to back three seasons to see any consistency. Counting this one you’d have to back four.

      1. I don’t agree.He was very good in the 16/17 season even though not as good as his former self.Even that Koscielny still bests all our current CB’s.Some even felt the 1st leg Bayern thrashing was due to him being injured.If any of our current CB’s got injured in the same way in that match no one would say the same for them.He just kept on making several mistakes due to him declining but still I know he’s much better than all our CB’s.
        Him being paired with Sokratis is good too because Sokratis is more of a leader at the back like a faster and more adventurous Mertesacker.

        1. I hope you’re right, hopefully when he comes back he can show us he is better than the others, I wouldn’t be confident though because he has declined a fair bit. It could’ve been the poor all round performances throughout the team, and the pressure being constant. But some of it was definitely due to a decline. Good luck to him all the same, I don’t think he’ll be around for next season.

        2. Well, that’s your view then Kev, we don’t all have to agree.
          Every defender no matter how fast he is struggles against a faster, tricky player. Socratis whom you want paired with the soon to be slow Kocielny is actually slower than Holding!
          Try actually watching Arsenal matches, then you would be in a better position to judge our players better.

          1. I didn’t equate speed to intelligence in defending in my comment nor am trying to say just because a CB is slow it means he cant be a world class CB.There’s a degree to which every CB struggles with a fast and tricky player and this degree is equal to the defensive ability of that CB.Simply put I see Holding as a decent CB nothing more nothing less.I also know even this current version of Koscielny will be more faster than Holding if they were are the same age and Kos is currently faster than him.

            1. I like your comments Kev.

              Do you think Holding is slow overall or do you think the first yard is too slow but after that he doesn’t look bad?
              A few times I’ve seen Holding in his stride and he doesn’t look that slow but like a lot of taller players, the 1st yard isn’t the quickest.

              I don’t want to write him off too soon and I would like to remind you about Adams nickname of Donkey when he was younger, he could very well surprise you and take some giant strides over the next 18-24 months. He might not 😛 It is harder to tell with CBs. If Emery can teach him the tactics and help with his reading of the game then it could be promising right?

  5. To answer Sam P’s question, yes, but I thought he already was!
    Holding has been close to man of the match in every game he’s played in this season. It’s just who will play alongside him, Sokratis, Mustafi or Kos?

  6. Still a long way to go, last season we expected big things so maybe we should temper our expectations a little. He has been very consistent since he came into the team, that’s great to see. There is still a long season, and the busy end of a season can sometimes fill you in with a bigger clue. Bolton done a wonderful job with him, even when he first arrived you could tell that Bolton taught him the hard nosed way. He’s a tough lad and I doubt he would ever duck a challenge, fair play to the young man, we’d all love to see him become a mainstay. I still suspect Emery will bring in some different type of defenders, when everywhere else in the side is looking settled, I suspect Emery will bring in ball playing CB’s not too dissimilar to a Luiz, Laporte, that sort.

  7. I’ve watched Wolves a few times when Arsenal are not playing and think it will be very interesting to compare Holding to Willy Boly, the Wolves centre back, as for me he’s been outstanding so far. He’s taller and heavier than Rob but still has skill and composure on the ball and I want to see how he copes with our attackers because earlier, when our defence was still a shambles, I was thinking he could well be a decent buy for Arsenal. At 27 he’s a ready made player yet with plenty of years left in him. Problem would be that he gets on great with his manager and may not want to leave. Anyway, let’s see how he gets on against us.

    I also want to see Mavro back in the side – loved how he kept Lukaku quiet and can forgive his mistakes vs Leicester due to his youth.

  8. Well done Nelson, at it again. I would leave him over there and let him develop. If we bring him back he’ll be reduced to cup games and the bench, if lucky, better he stay over there as he hasn’t even made the starting eleven yet. That league is a fair bit weaker than ours, so people should not go overboard by expecting him to go from that – to Arsenal first team in the space of three months. This loan seems to be better than the past loans we made, whoever was choosing the receiving clubs was making a hash of things.

  9. Holding-Sokratis till Koscielny returns to full fitness and form ..then it ll be Koscielny-Sokratis.
    But we still need to get rid of Mustafi and get a top quality CB preferably a RCB sooner or later.

  10. very happy with holdings game time and what he brings to the team good player with room to improve better than chambers for sure, brave good in the air not as slow as some are saying but not the best young defender we have got to give that to Mavro. i would like him to be given game time like holding when he comes back from injury, at least in the cup games, because this guy could be a Beast he’s got everything to make the grade even a Sokratis to guide him along the way! and he’s what i like and love in a defender Big Tall Strong Brave Powerful a presence in the back four who can play football, cant wait to see more of him greece are lucky to have him as a future CB.

    hope they both make the grade but i see holding more of a rotation in the future than a starter Mavro might just cement his place if he ever gets a run as he’s every manager’s dream: a future koulibaly!!

    Credit to the scouting department, I say thank you Diamond Eye that was well spotted 🙂

  11. I think he could be if we wanted to be bold.
    I am not saying we would win the EPL with him from next season(Holding 1st full season as 1st choice)… Not saying we wouldn’t either, his form is improving and we have to give Emery time to fully train him, for his coaching to become the norm over a new thing to learn.

    Form can lead to Holding keeping his spot for prolonged periods (like now) and slowly those periods will get longer until he takes his place… Or he fails and gets shipped out.

    Emery is the kind of person I feel would push Holding to push himself and to constantly give feedback, I do think Holding will pay attention and learn, I do think the time to ‘sink or swim’ is fastly approaching though.

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