Arsenal vs Watford: Rob Holding has his opportunity again

Arsenal, Rob Holding (Photo by Paul Childs/Pool via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Rob Holding (Photo by Paul Childs/Pool via Getty Images) /

Arsenal’s defense needs long-term solution and with Shkodran Mustafi injured, it’s time for Rob Holding to put up his final audition for the long-term.

Arsenal fans may not be too beat up over Shkodran Mustafi‘s injury, and how he’s out for the rest of the year, but I kind of am. Not for Watford so much as for Chelsea. But the one good thing to come out of this is that Rob Holding has himself another chance to make a statement for himself.

With William Saliba coming in and Calum Chambers proven and getting healthier, the future of the defense is in good hands. More can come this summer if need be, but for Rob Holding, he’d rather see himself into one of those roles.

The problem is that Holding has not been the best in a back three set-up. Against Liverpool he was fantastic, including flattening Sadio Mane, but it’s been a little rough outside of that.

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It’s pretty clear that Rob Holding does better in a back four rather than in a back three. It’s the whole lack of mobility situation. Which is why Mustafi has done so well in the back three—he’s mobile. He’s as athletic as a midfielder, no questions.

Holding doesn’t have that. If it were up to him, he’d be in a back two with David Luiz and that would be that, he’d do great.

But that isn’t how it’s going to work. He’s going to be the right-sided centerback tasked with preventing any penetration on that side of the defense. And with Mikel Arteta committing to the back three, this is something he’s going to have to either get used to or get sold.

Of course, there’s no guarantee Arteta wants the 3-4-3 for life. I mean, his two future centerback studs, Saliba and Chambers, haven’t even tried it out yet. But seeing its capabilities, he’s definitely going to at least want that option in his defenders and I don’t think you can count Holding as a sure-fire option just yet.

That said, it’s about time for Holding to settle in somewhere, and there was already a murmur that he’d be sold when he wasn’t making any appearances, so this could be seen as his last hurrah.

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I want to see him make it. I want to see him stay and succeed. One less thing we have to worry about from a financial standpoint. Plus, the dude flattened Mane. I can’t get enough of that.