Mertesacker: We went to work on Diego Costa


Per Mertesacker is a dude. I don’t care if you don’t think so. Go somewhere and make a lame joke about his ‘turning circle’ for all I care.

What I know is that he was brilliant on Saturday when we won the FA Cup by beating Chelsea 2-1.

Sure, Diego Costa scored, and saw another effort saved by David Ospina, but for the most part the Arsenal defence kept him quiet and that was quite deliberate according to the club captain.

“We went to work on Diego Costa,” he said. “Rob was giving him a really hard time. I kept patting him on the back, being friendly, while Rob kept on talking to him.

“A good double act. It was very exciting to see how quickly things can turn. What was really important was that we kept on running with Costa, to make sure those long balls didn’t get to him.

“We were prepared for that. Especially when Fabregas came on, we were ready to run back to cut out those long balls over the top that he plays.

“You have to say it couldn’t have gone much better for us. The team’s performance was incredible.

“I don’t know how many would have expected that.”

You’ve gotta say that’s lovely. The good cop, bad cop routine with a 21 year old as the bad cop is just wonderful.


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I can see it now:

Rob: Your a Cunt
Mert: Oh don’t listen to him Diago
Rob: Your a big fat cheese cut
Mert: Really don’t let him hurt your feelings, your a big boy now
Rob: You a cunt, and your face looks like it contract an STD
Mert: There there, don;t cry, sticks and stones Costa baby… sticks and stones.
Rob: You got no stones you cunt!

sad eyes

ah…… I can understand a lot of differing opinions….. but what kind of a person thumbs down this!!!!!!!!!!!


Possibly someone who believe in using the proper version of “you’re”, even while insulting a complete cunt.




Hi-brid you bleed class !!


irony. 😉

Grammar Nasty

That would have been me, but we’ve just won the Cup so we can all let a bit of erroneous grammar go just this once.

Clive St Helmet

I think Holding seems intellegent enough to use the correct “you’re” when insulting Costa.

Merter Cycle

I see what you did there with the stones.


Whenever I see Costa’s face, I think of Cesc’s face but mutated, like Jekyl and Hyde. Anybody else see the resemblance?


Literally LOL

Philip Steen

He’s better than Cannavarooooooo!


I’ve just got so much bloody time for Rob


Holding and Mertesacker would make a great buddy cop movie


“London Confidential”.


Supreme defensive display yesterday. Definite star in the making in Rob Holding and the 3 at the back system is ideal for Per. Current and future leader alongside each other.

Clive St Helmet

I’d just like to point out that Calum Chambers has been rather excellent at Middlesborough. The future certainly does look bright with these two in it.

Most of my friends are Boro (poor sods) and they’ve been really happy with Chambers. Let’s hope he gets another chance with us.


I really do like Robby holding. He’s got such composure about him at such a young age.

I’m always careful hyping young players because they can fall off at times, like chambers did. But I think the real difference with him is that he has a lot of aggression about him. If someone taunts him he will taunt back for eg arnautovic


And with Holding you get the impression that he’s not wound up by it. He enjoys giving it back.


I feel people are a bit harsh on Chambers. He’s a young CB who’s still learning, he did well in a struggling Boro side. The problem with almost all our CB is that they aren’t given enough protection. Too often they are exposed 1v1 against opposition, drawn in areas where they shouldn’t be etc. The moment you see them given some protection like when we went 3 at the back all of them have looked good be it Gabriel, Holding, Per, Mustafi etc. If given protection even average players look good see Cahill, Smalling etc. And we have decent CB… Read more »


agreed. chambers is also good. infact he was the best player for borro in this season and if he wasnt an arsenal player he would’ve been linked to every club in the premier league . also holding is playing in a relatively safer formation with two other centre backs covering him. if chambers will be provided with the same cover he too will be less error prone . but overall holding is still better than chambers , because holding is so composed even playing fa cup final or a premier league game for the first time , you wouldnt say… Read more »


Holding like the boy already, he will only get better and better..


It could be that he will get worse before he gets better but i will still love him. Rob Holding, you know…


That’s a text book prescription of how to handle Costa, BFG proves time and again that he is ultimate professional and real footballing brain.


Agree the tactics were spot on and from the moment he was thrown in at the deep end at the start of the season, it was clear Rob Holding had the makings of a special player. Per of course, is just a legend. However, whilst it’s such fun to read, there’s a part of me thinks perhaps it might be better, to keep the tactics to yourself. Maybe they plan to mix it up a bit next time.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Luckily for us, this is the sort of tactic that is effective even more so when the opponent is expecting it. See ‘trolling’ under Wikipedia. Brilliant stuff.


Love it when these stories gradually leak out. Costa looked thoroughly frustrated for most of the game!


That’s how he normally looks!

Ol\' Granny Xhaka

Can just imagine asking Gabriel before the game -“Hey Gabs, what’s the Portuguese word for cunt?”


At £1.5M, Young Holding has to be one of the signings of the season. Especially in a world where the likes of John Stones are fetching close to £50M.


“one of…”???


If I’m correct, Brian McDermott was the one who identified Holding. Props to him.


It’s great to see that we are thinking through these detailed tactics and are executing them totally and professionally. Remember Gary Neville saying that Arsenal look like they never plan for the opposition but just go out and play the same way every game? Most of the time, it looks like that so this innovation is very welcome.

Qarie Marshall

Mmmmmmm. Cockles warmed.


This is one of the greatest articles ever posted on Arseblog


Lets hope Holding doesnt get too much hype and it go to his head and he fails to progress. Signs so far though suggest his head is built for this kind of pressure environment, he handles himself like he has been at this level for 10+ years.
Plus he isnt afraid of roughening up opponents, my favourite kind of defenders 🙂
And big MErtz is probably the best guy to have alongside of him, he a true leader.

Chris O.

Literally chuckling to myself reading this. Rob’s laying into Costa with Mancunian insults while Per’s doing the “sh-sh-sh-sh-sh” bit straight out of Saving Private Ryan.


Holding: Oi, Costa. Your face looks like someone pressed random on WWE character creation.

Per: You’re beautiful in your own way, mate.

Holding: Nah mate, you look like a police sketch artist had a seizure on the job.



He really is a wanker. A dirty, cheating, petulant, wanker. He might want to go to China, but he’ll have to check with his new owner first.

All yours, Rob.

DB10\'s Air Miles

I did enjoy watching Costa kiss the badge after scoring….that’s right, kiss the badge and then fuck off to China in a months time. Classy guy.


Everyone the pub I was in was shouting “You hypocritical fuck, you’re off to China next week!”

Chris O.

It’s May 2050, and Gooners everywhere attend the statue unveiling at the renovated Emirates Stadium of their greatest ever manager, Per Mertesacker. (Record set, incidentally, for how long the veil needed to be…)

Godfrey Twatsloch

A child points at the old man unveiling it and asks “dad, who is that old man there?” and Dad says “that son, is Rob Holding. The finest defender Wenger paid next to nothing for and the one who in spite of being so young back struck up an amazing defending combo with Old Man Per which was to rejuvenate Per and give him another 8 glorious years until he retired at 40. But tell you what son, the most important thing Holding ever did was ruin the career of that utter wank stain Arnautovic. THAT is why he’s here… Read more »


For one so young and relatively new to the club, it seemed as if he’d taken on the role of “debt collector” very quickly this season. I’m looking at you Arnautovic. Doesn’t back down, wants to dominate the opposition – those high 5’s with BFG during the game after successful clearances etc were a joy to see. No doubt about it – Id like to see the budding partnership blossom in this system.



Godfrey Twatsloch

Costa is a cunt!


A back three of Koscielny, Mertesacker, and Mustafi backed by Monreal, Holding, Gabriel, is sweet. (You can argue that Holding should start of course.) If we replace Gabriel by someone of better quality that’s an even sweeter squad for 3 at the back. LWB is also set with Ox and Kolasinac. Just need another RWB so Bellerin can breath.


How about Ox?


Tactically Wenger tends toward an ideology of minimum intervention and self expression. In many ways he has over the years been a prisoner of it. He is not a tinkerer or anal retentive in attention to details when the game gets going. Instead he sets the foundation and framework and lets the players work it through. Which is why it is doubly important he buys right which he tends to do. Whether he buys enough of course is the question. And bc of this, when it clicks, his football tends to be unrestricted and sublime. The other teams tends to… Read more »


Not often you get a reply that’s longer than the original article!

Hector\'s Ballerina

Are you new here?

\'desi\'gner gooner

If he stays, Wenger has already hinted that the squad needs one or two additions. And I completely agree that those additions have to be highly technical players who can carry out the various permutations of Wengerball. As for the Europa league, I think instead of sending out our youngsters on loan this season,we should play them in the Europa league. A holding-chambers-bielik defensive partnership would be good for the Europa league and also for their own development. Plus we have enough talented youngsters for other areas of the pitch – the jeff, Iwobi, Toral, Crowley, Maitland-Niles to name a… Read more »


BFG is a legend. Alongside Arteta, Wenger brought them in to shore up a sinking ship with us reeling from 2 key departures every season. They were BOTH instrumental in the rebuild which has seen us win now 3 FA cups in 4 seasons. We need to push higher of course but take nothing away from these stalwarts. Ditto IMO Flamini. He wasn’t the world’s best DM by a far stretch but he came back at a critical time to shore up the midfield and as we have seen this season, he did better alongside the erratic Ramsey in the… Read more »


And another!

Leah\'s Left Foot

Some good points well made.
Not wishing to pick holes in your well thought out and expressed posts but Elneny can hardly be called mediocre. Not a world beater, but solid, reliable, willing and, unfortunately, underused.


I don’t think Koscielny’s first season with us was a near disaster. I thought that he was unlucky to get set off when making his debut away to Liverpool, and even in that game, he showed how good he could be for us.


“sent off”.


With regard Holding, Wenger has been consistently ahead of the game in market trend. When other clubs were looking for the next hot young thing on the continent, Wenger shifted attention to experienced players who may have been overlooked. He found the likes of Arteta, BFG and to soem extent Santi, players critical in our remaking following the barren years. When some clubs shifted toward where Wenger was searching, he upped his game and found players like Ozil and Alexis, top end players who may have lost their way at unlikely BIG clubs which have not been his traditional hunting… Read more »


Running out of steam now!
Good posts.




Yes, it’s his ability to get relatively unknown players and mould them into world class players by giving them chances after chances that set him apart from other managers!
Would definitely be sad to see him go…

Bruce Lee

I ♥ Rob Holding.


So happy for Mertesacker. He’s been on the wrong end of a few hidings in England and in Germany. But he’s always been a class act and a class player.


Rob and Mert were awesome but a special shout out to Nacho Nacho Man. He had a fantastic game also.


He was massive. Completely shut down Hazard.

Mesut O\'Neill

Wasn’t Hazard on the bench?

Cliff Bastin

Can decide if I prefer the BFG Holdings Ltd or Kostafi Express method (in the home game where they just took him out over and over) to handle costa. It is so hard to choose.

Cliff Bastin



I reckon Mustafi – Per – Kosc might be our best bet next season. They balance each other out quite well.

Holding could slot in for Mustafi quite easily too; though I think it’s good to ease him in. Play him too much and we’ll burn him out.


Rob does look like the nasty no nonsense defender we have been crying for. He looks too nice to send off too

Duane Radmore

I like that Holding is a bit of a bastard. Our bastard quotient has been far too low for too long; we’ve had too many nice guys.


Young Rob holding you know has more fa cup winners medals than Rio Ferdinand (and £50m+ John Stones) ?


I can see the great future of Arsenal back line with Kos, Mustafi, Holding, Paulista, Chambers, and Bielik.


U lot think costa shoulda been sent off as attempted to kick on rob holding earlier in the game when he got tackled

John Lukic

I was banging on that very drum at the time, yes. How sweet would that’ve been in the 14th minute or something?!


If not then, certainly for deliberately kicking Ospina in the head five minutes later.


We can’t forget about Monreal either. The guy is an attacking minded fullback, and he was pretty flawless as a central defender. Hazard tried to take him on a few times and Monreal stayed with him forcing hazard to pass the ball backwards.


Nacho has become one of my favorite arsenal players. Always gives 100%, and you can just tell how much he loves the club. The passion is real.


Gotta love Rob Holding – apart from the cup win he is my highlight of the season – #forzaback3


Rob Holding Diego Costa by the stones? We got a young dynamic back line of Hector, Rob and Callum. Now sign up a young leftback and we’re sorted

John Lukic

Cohen Bramall!

Original Paul

Rob: “Diego Costa, you knooooowww you are a cunt”.
Costa: “Wha you say? wha you say?”
Rob: “I said you’re a cunt pal”…
Mert: Don’t be so nasty Rob”
Rob: “Well he is a cunt”…:-)


The BFG and young holding played Jedi mind tricks on Vader! Costa, you now know who your DADDY is!

Block 93

It’s worth watching the interview the club posted pre-final of Holding and Mertesacker interviewing each other. Like the master and apprentice! The last few days have shown me (again) why Per still has a lot to offer the club not only on the pitch but off it. He gets the club, he gets the fans and he’s very much his own man. His performance on Saturday was absolutely superb.

Ol\' Granny Xhaka

Add this to the performance against Stoke where he flattened Arnautovic, Holding definitely has a little bit of “edge” to his game when he needs to haha. Love it.

John Woods

Watch all 3 center backs block Costa’s shot in the 14 min. Amazing! That’s how you win a cup

a different George

If you have not seen it, David Squires’ cartoon in the Guardian on the Per and Rob show is brilliant: