Who else has been impressed with Rob Holding this season?

Arsenal have been beleaguered by defensive injuries this season, and in the central role Mavropanos, Mustafi and Sokratis (and Koscielny of course) have all had spells on the sidelines. But there has been one silver lining amongst this as the young Rob Holding has been given a lot of time to prove himself, and has proved to e a rock. I don’t think we even got one clean sheet before he was put in the side.

One person who he has impressed is the ex-Tottenham star Garth Crooks named Holding in his team of the week on the BBC after his display against Liverpool. “In a team very different from the one Arsene Wenger tried to create prior to leaving Arsenal, there is a particular player that has surprised me a great deal,” he wrote.

“I’ve seen Rob Holding play for Arsenal but never better than when I saw him against Liverpool.

“In a white-hot atmosphere, the defender was cool on the ball and played with a confidence and assurance I hadn’t seen before.

“I said Unai Emery would get it together at Arsenal, I just didn’t think it would be so soon. Damn!”

Did you know? Only Granit Xhaka (97) attempted more passes for Arsenal against Liverpool than Holding (81) – the defender also won 70% of his 10 duels in the game.

So he has now created a big headache for Emery, as even Mustafi played quite well this weekend. When Sokratis comes back, who would you pick as your two first-choice central defenders on this season’s form?



  1. Naturally anyone will go with Sokratis and holding it explains whybwe let go off chambers,no regrets now,I’ll have loved to have seen Koss and Sokratis because before his injury Sokratis was bossing the defence had he been on the pitch for that palace game he wouldve brought calmness Mavropanos has yet to be giving a chance he is still quality but Holding reminds me of a young tony Adams he will be world class holding will be world class

    1. As if the match against Liverpool is first game in which Holding is proving himself. We are talking about a lad who held his own against Diego Costa in a final match.

      Though I am always impressed with Holding’s performances, I prefer the experience of Mustafi. How many fans noticed how many times Mustafi ran to Holding’s zone to make clearances and interceptions during the Liverpool match? He even made a clearance of a ball that has already beaten the goal keeper.

      We need rotation. Holding’s performance will give us options and motivation to first team defenders.

  2. Who would I leave out to accommodate Sokratis? I assume you must be joking! OBVIOUSLY THE DREADFUL MUSTAFI. Yes, he had a good game for once. But he is still a rash mistake on legs waiting to cost us a goal whenever he plays. No contest. Once Mavrop and possibly even Kos , if he ever gets his old standard back, are fit, Muffitupfi MUST be sold! HE WAS A TOTAL WENGER WASTE OF £35 MILLION. Even massive duds like Senderos, Djourou, Silvestre and Schillachi had very occasional good games, among the wreck of their usual, week in,week out perfs.

    1. If I were Emery, I would give Mustafi one more chance, because he played well against Liverpool. If he makes a silly mistake again, then Holding can take over to give Mustafi pressure

      Holding has been playing well, but I bet it’s only a matter of time until he makes a mistake. Mustafi’s experience is required currently and he can always be replaced lest he makes another bad decision again

      1. Mustafi has been improving and with the full complement of defenders returning from injury, competition for places will be positive for Arsenal. Starting places will be based on performance, rather than availability.

  3. Rob Holding is very quickly developing into the player we all hoped he would become and this is all down to the Manager.Emery is getting performances from players that gives us confidence in his abilities.And it’s not just Holding.Xhaka is performing more consistently and even Mustafi is showing us he could just be a defender after all (but still gives us heart attacks along the way).Alex Iwobi is a new player that proves his doubters of last season wrong (me included).
    As far as I’m concerned Rob Holding has earned the right to be the FIRST CHOICE centre back.The issue is for him to keep his form and keep learning from the first PROPER COACHING he is receiving since he arrived at the Club

  4. I am so so impressed, Holding held his own even against one of the best in the epl, given more opportunities,he may well be the main stay of Arsenal’s defense for now maybe,but in the future definitely!

  5. Was really impressed by Holding in that last game, Mustafi too, but Holding has been more consistent. He doesn’t mess about, he just gets stuck in and his positioning is again one of his strong suits after losing it last season. He’s been a bit of an unsung hero over this run, his aggression can be quite good and having the aggressive pairing of Torriera and Xhaka in front adds to our stubbornness.

  6. I’ll add, well done Wenger, good spot, this boy could become the rock that this side needed, or one of them. Thought I’d mention it because others are very quick to lay discredit at the man over numerous amounts of s**t.

    1. It’s just a shame Wenger couldn’t COACH the type of consistent performances out of Holding that Emery seems to have done.

      1. As the saying goes Phil, “you can’t have it both ways”
        Let’s enjoy the best of both worlds that have collided at our great club.
        Here’s a question, we all thought Chambers should have stayed and Holding gone is, I think, a fair statement.
        So what did Emery see that every single gooner missed?

  7. I think all our defenders are showing improvement because of Unai but also partly to do with Leno. Leno’s confidence on the ball makes everyone more relaxed.

    1. Jamie Redknapp in the Mail was talking about the atmosphere being much noisier than usual and putting it down to Unai’s attacking play. To me, we’ve always attacked, that part of our game has never been a problem. Personally, I think it was more down to it being a 5-30 pm kick off which meant most of the crowd had been in the pub. Anyway this kind of noise is exactly what is needed in every game and to keep a Liverpool crowd quiet is no mean fete. Long may it continue.

  8. The young Rob has impressed a lot .He looks more calm, composed and assured and with such performances he should be the first choice of the center backs alongside Sokratis. Mustafi may have played well against Liverpool he is too inconsistent, too many mistimings, costly rush decisions.

  9. Guys I think the only cause Arsenal cant win EPL is they lack proper RW and LW. Now Auba and Iowbi can play well in Lw but frkn hell miki cant be a RW.
    JANUARY RW BUY IS A MUST. Atleast buy someone young like Pavon.

    1. Think will keep miki till end of season, has a part in squad to play. End of season sell him and then we got our boy Reiss Nelson to come in squad for next season. We dont want to stop his development with us. To original post would play Sokratis. Think holding can learn more from him than mustafi. Credit to mustafi, he did play well against liverpool and improving under emery, still think he got a mistake in him at times. Anyone like Ake with holding for a future pair?

  10. It is not fair to talk disparagingly about players who made such a fine show against Liverpool. Everyone put in a real shift. Why do you start labelling some players inconsistent? Did you ever imagine that Xhaka would make tremendous improvement? I am convinced that Mustafi too has turned a corner. Economists say that competition yields the best results and all our players will make great improvements because of competition. Many of these players are still young including Mustafi, Xhaka, Bellerin etc. Hence they have a lot of room to improve their game. We should therefore not keep denigrating but rather encourage them so that they can continue to improve.

  11. I think Emery got one out of his 11 starting XI selection in Mkhitaryan wrong in the Liverpool game. Had he started Iwobi at LW instead of Mkhi and replace Iwobi when he’s tired with Welbeck who is reported to be versatile in the front three. Perhaps, Arsenal might have beaten Liverpool. But certainly, they won’t lose the match. Because they would have been more efficient overall with no Mkhi weak link in the team. I am not say Emery should not select Mkhi in his subsequent starting XI in the PL. He can select him but after assessing his performance pedigree in training sessions and in his last game played performance. And this should be the norm in his starting XI selection henceforth for all Gunners and not only for Mkhitaryan.

    1. Samuel, in defense of Mhikataryan, he did work very hard in this match tracking back; however it is unfortunate that he appears to have lost confidence in front of goal.

  12. There is no surprise that several young talent like Iwobi and Bellerin also have looked to have developed on But for Holding to keep his spot and be given the faith is good to see – mainly because he has developed with that chance.
    Arsenal lack someone who will command that defence alongside Holding. I think that is a personality trait more so just talent trait. It’s why Sokratis was brought in, to bridge the personality (his talent is on a downward natural curve due to his age).

    Holding is not that personality type to command the defence. He is all talent and we need that.

    It will be interesting to see the development of Chambers and Mavos.

    I think it’s safe to say All other CB not mentioned here are appreciated but not part of my ideas of a long term strategy

  13. Holding has been holding it ‘defence’ quiet well in couple of games stil room for improvement

  14. Well he was player of the season for his previous club so he definitely came with potential and with such a low purchase price it was an excellent gamble.

    Holding has been impressive. Most impressive.

    However, we still need to bolster our CBs. We need to sign at least one more top or at least consistent player of solid quality

    Holding = Good Wenger signing
    Mustafi for £35 mil = very poor Wenger signing

  15. I’m going to say what I said in a previous article in regard to Holding.
    Rob is exactly what we need at Centre back; tall, strong, subtly aggressive and exceptionally calm on the ball.
    Kudos to Wenger for spotting the rough Gem. Kudos to Emery for polishing that Gem into a Diamond.
    He also seems to have mastered the dark arts of committing fouls without being caught. This season, he would have cost us to penalties via inexplicable handling of the ball in the area but the referee deemed them both accidental!
    Kocielny would likely be released at the end of the expiration of his contract. Socratis would be paired with Rob Holding. Mustafi and Mavropanos would be our back up CB’s

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