Before the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi, injuries to Gabriel and Per Mertesacker meant that new young signing Rob Holding had to be rushed into the Arsenal set-up from the off-set. First, he partnered Calum Chambers in the 3-4 defeat to Liverpool before partnering Laurent Koscielny in a 0-0 draw and 1-3 win. The youngster will probably be replaced by Mustafi for Saturday’s game against Southampton, but it shouldn’t be long before fans see him at the back again.
Purchased for around £2 million from Bolton in the summer, the 20-year-old has had an eventful start to his Arsenal career. He arrived at the Emirates during a time when most fans were angry at the lack of spending meant not much was made of him joining the club. In truth, another youngster joining the club was not really what the fans wanted to see, however gifted he may be.
However, there is no denying he has enormous talent. In pre-season he showed glimpses, and this was rewarded in a first start for the club in the first game of the season. It might have been a terrible defeat, but the defender put in a mature performance in the first-half, and looked much more composed than Calum Chambers, who subsequently went out on loan.
Holding was kept on for the next two away games of the season, against champions Leicester and Watford respectively. While the return of Cazorla, Ozil and Koscielny did wonders for the balance of the team, the youngster’s performances against the two were also noticeable. During these two games, Arsenal only conceded one goal and that was a conciliation against Watford.
The potential of the player was always there. Holding was Bolton’s player of the year last season, and helped England’s u21s win the Toulon tournament. It was a career that was always destined to go far, and could even go as far as the England senior squad in future years.
While most of the summer was spent looking at experienced centre-backs to help Arsenal out, perhaps in the background the Gunners made a signing that will for future years mean that the club won’t need to look for many more centre-backs. It is true that he will now make his way to the bench or maybe even the u21s, but if the season for Arsenal has taught anything, it won’t be long before Holding is seen as a regular in the back-four.