Rob Holding stamped himself onto Arsenal’s win over Liverpool, literally and figuratively. Give him the job for one reason (among others).
Rob Holding finally got a start against Liverpool, of all teams, and after one of our worst defensive performances against Tottenham, all eyes were on him as a potential solution to the immediate defensive woes, but hopefully also with an eye towards the longterm.
Then again, we should already know all of what we need to know about Holding—that he is a capable defender with all the defensive solidity in the world, whose intelligence on the pitch is gradually improving with each performance.
But against Liverpool, we were happily reminded of the other thing he brings to the table, the thing that so few of the problem defenders at Arsenal have—he’s solid. He’s just a resounding physical presence and he isn’t afraid to lay down the law.
Best example? Look at how he treated Sadio Mane the entire match. There is no room for nonsense when Holding is involved.
David Luiz tries to be the same, but while he has a certain presence, and while he’s capable of winning “the fight,” Holding does so much more in line with the rules. Though he isn’t afraid to gloat over it if need be. (Just see the Mane example again.)
What does this all mean? It means that Holding isn’t being given the opportunities he deserves. Our defense, while holding tight over the past few matches, is without a doubt flimsy. I love Mustafi, but he’s flimsy. Luiz is the definition of unreliable and Sead Kolasinac is one and the same.
But Holding is different. Holding is sturdy. He is the complete opposite of flimsy. He is the kind of guy we want out defense to look like, which makes him the perfect solution to why our defense doesn’t look like Holding does. It’s not rocket science.
I hope that we keep Holding. I hope that he’s given the nod over literally anyone else in our usual back three. I hope that he can stay healthy to prevent another disruption of his progress. A lot of hopes where Holding is concerned, and he can deliver on them all.