Saturday, March 25, 2023

Holding makes comeback with under-23s

Rob Holding is edging closer to a first team return after playing 60 minutes for Arsenal’s under-23s as they beat a Watford XI 6-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at London Colney this afternoon.

The centre-back hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since suffering an ACL injury in December’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

He was training fully with the squad during the tour of the USA last month, and Arseblog News was told that a first team return was planned for after the first international break, potentially against Watford.


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Felt so good to be back in the kit, 60 mins ✅

A post shared by Rob Holding (@rholding95) on

No doubt, he’ll need a few more games under his belt before Unai Emery considers him for selection but at a time when there are serious doubts over the future of both Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi, it’s a definite boost to see the 23-year-old in action.

The rest of the first team are flying to Barcelona for tomorrow’s friendly at Camp Nou.

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A lot of extra unnecessary pressure on Holding after such a long injury thanks to Koscielny’s unforgivable actions and Mustafi being Mustafi. Feel sorry for the guy. CB definitely needs to be brought in


Kos’ behaviour has been disgraceful. He should be left to train on his own. Hopefully the new management team make an example of him.


Do we know why Kos has taken the stance he has?

Has he made a statement that unambiguously clarifies his position.

Has AFC made a statement that unambiguously clarifies Kos’ and AFC’s positions?

Not rhetorical questions.


You are wrong and naive. Koscielny has done us a favour. You are ungrateful. Without Koscielny taking himself out of the equation, the club will be tempted to point to Saliba as the defensive signing and ignore the Cback issue yet again. Arguably they may still go down this road but at least Koscielny is forcing the issue for us. Mustafi as error prone as he may be is not the only one making mistakes. He wasn’t there when we slipped 3 goals away to wolvesnor did he feature in finals against Chelsea. Torreira made his 5th mistake of the… Read more »

Tony Franco

Kosielney signed a contract like most employees, his current contract obviously was agreed with revised terms which he signed. Let us not only look at what he has done for Arsenal. What about what Arsenal has done for him. Paying his salary whilst they waited patiently for him to recover from his injuries. What has the club gained from that, besides a kick in the face. If if he had received a better deal before he signed his current contract, be sure he would have taken it faster then the ink on his contract dried. Although I respect him as… Read more »


I agree with you totally… Sadly, a lot of these fans have never kicked a ball or have a clue about human psychology to know how much all the slating Mustafi gets affect his confidence. They only see his mistakes & amplify that. Yes, he is error-prone. Yes he gets paid millions. But he is also human. If only we could be patient enough with him (which sadly is not the norm in modern football, with everyone wanting quick success), he might rediscover a bit of that confidence until we can get a suitable replacement. He wins a lot of… Read more »


I’m sorry but for me, if my employer is paying me £100,000 a week or whatever Kos is on, I complete my contract, no matter what injuries I have, family issues etc. It’s sickening money and these footballers are just pathetic and the more we say, “oh dear, poor guy, he’s been through so much”, the worse it will get, the higher the wages go and the more we fans have to pay. These guys earn more in a year than most will earn in a lifetime. FFS. Just sit back and think about it. It’s fucking crazy.

Maul Person

Then more fool you…


No, more fool the people who think this is okay in the modern world where so many have so little. It’s sick.


So, you’re envious. I get that. But it doesn’t distract that there are Arsenal fans out there who are basing their opinion of someone who was without doubt one of our most loyal and passionate players on absolutely nothing more than assumptions and heuristics. If even roughly half our number went the exact same way to assess information in their daily lives we’d have all manner of reprobates as political leaders and be staring at mayhem and catastrophe on a daily basis. But thankfully there are also roughly half our number who appear to not think like you and don’t… Read more »


Many players want to leave their clubs for various reasons but when your coach tells you as Captain we need you whether you play are not you get on that bus and tell your agent to work on your release I font care if your on One dollar or one million your been paid. On top of that your captain you ask for a free transfer and club says no we need a fee for you, because of your longstanding I’m sure something could have worked out. Going on strike reprehensible behavior. He was injured and still got a 2… Read more »


You’ve missed my point completely mate.


No, it’s your point that’s missed me ….



Fully on board. He’s been a great servant to the club but ultimately he is a contracted employee. Failure to complete contact should be dealt with seriously. Players have too much power, almost makes contacts pointless if players can get out of them just by agitating a little bit


No matter how badly I think he has handled the situation and his decision to leave the team at such a fragile moment, Kos isn’t the type of player and person that Arsenal should be wanting to make an example of. He has always been loving, respectful, professional to both the club and the fans and I really appreciate him for that. For that I’d rest setting examples until next time. I also don’t think Kos would just act in such a fashion if he hadn’t gotten some form of encouragement as to his terms of being let go off…


Dont understand why we fly to spain for our last pre season game either when Barcelona dont start their season for a couple of weeks. Surely you want your pre season games at home closer to the season kick off. Maybe the Emirates cup did serve its purpose?


Arsenal get paid for visiting Barcelona, while Arsenal will have to pay for Barcelona visit. So, its all which visit gives Arsenal more money.
And distance to Barcelona is not much, so same as a long bus trip to some remote British area.

Dave Cee

Agreed. He is our best hope..but so much pressure now. Much better we have a new signing in CB


Pressure comes with the job regardless of the situation. It would be pressure if he was new to the club and never played PL (like when he joined us). Otherwise this is just another opportunity for him!


Holding is like a new signing


We’re all holding out for a hero.


Excellent news

Wilsheres Middle Finger

Not to be getting carried away, but I fully expect Holding to fix all of our defensive problems and to become the best Premier League defender ever.

Arsenala Vista Baby

This is more or less everybody’s expectations. By the way, No pressure, Rob..


He will be under immense pressure he made Mustafi looks great very good co trolls in the ball reads the game well and moves our from the back very assured very good one on one only one ball passed him on our 22 match non losing streak


Roberto Holdini, better than Cannavaro…


That is truly genius, Pooner! I think we have a Brazilian for a change.

Arsenala Vista Baby



The more serious, and worrying, point is that we’re placing our hopes in a 23 year old who isn’t yet fully recovered from injury. We wasted some £50 million (think of that, £50 million) on Mustafi and Chambers, neither of which is good enough. What could we do with that money now?

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

How do Arsenal fans forget their famous Holding Chamber were opposing strikers are supposed to be trapped surprises me.?


Sorry …?


It took me a while, but(??) – ‘It surprises me how Arsenal fans forget that their famous ‘Holding Chamber’ is w[h]ere opposing strikers are supposed to be trapped.’


Nope. Still lost.


Haha, guess I never thought it actually made sense either.


Remember it was Chambers who was picked in preference to Holding at u-23 England level. Maybe a pairing that’s worth a go?


Chambers is decent just needs more playing g time Holding was just like him 2 years ago bits and pieces given a chance last year and have grown immensely

Reality check

Yep no pressure son.

Christopher Wreh

I know absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that but what a player this boy has the potential to be.

Out there prediction; he will he starting for England at Euro 2020

Great to see him back

Dave Cee

Better than harry maguire


Yes he is way above Maguire in a year will firmly be England #1

Fart Overjars

What do you get if you cross fine motor skills with the shortened version of the king of Scotland’s first bame?

Rob Holding

Papa Pepe’s PEA Party

…Bertie The Bus!


All of this is way too British for me to understand


Don’t worry, I’m lost too.


Does anyone think we need to buy a new CB? Haven’t really heard anyone mention it …


If Koscielny and Mustafi are sold then definitely. If not I’m fine with the available CBs (Sok, Rob, Cal, Mus, and Medley).


No we need not buy all we need to do is play Medley. He looks so composed on the ball and the big game seems not to fluster him and he is not afraid to go in a tackle

Dingle goonie

That’s great news I really hope he has no set backs and can continue his development.


Harry maguire £80 million
John Stones £50 million
Rob Holding £2 million
We got the best for a crazy price.


Shows that there is deals to be done at reasonable prices for a cb with some quality scouting. Even we can afford another £2 mill


Shame we didn’t give Bielik more of a chance – he could have been another one for the list.


Holding is the first true gem Arsenal’s StatDNA system have unearthed.
Not every one of them will be diamond like Rob. But enough of them as emeralds (Guendouzi) and rubies (Mavropanos)– and the investment in data analysis has paid off.


Yes, but aren’t you going to add:

Mustafi £35 million
Chambers £15 million

to your list? Makes the £2 million for Holding an even better deal. Pity we can’t offload the more expensive pair and, possibly, invest in more Holding-type bargains.

Reality check

Mustafi was a pretty decent defender before he joined our top class defensive setup. His aggression and leadership qualities were well recieved, we didn’t lose with him in the team till very late in his first season. God knows what happened after that..


Just seen stats that Mustafi outperforms McGuire (however you spell it, the big headed one the Mancs have bought) in every way. If Musti could just stop panicking and then waving his arms about pretending it was everyone else’s fault, he really has the attributes of a very good defender.


I have to agree with that likely unpopular opinion of Mustafi. During his first two seasons with us, his aggression manifested in some quality tackles and aerial wins.

At some point, that amped up approach spilled over into a kind of anxiety. Now he makes bad decisions, finds himself out of position, is quick to point fingers at teammates, or cry to the refs. He just seems high strung and lacking focus.

It makes me wonder if he’s developed eye cataracts, isn’t getting laid, isn’t handling the pressure well, or if he’s simply aging and lost a step.

Reality check

Mustafi just needs to calm down and stay on his feet more. His eagerness brings the worst out of his game. His theatrics after making a mistake just frustrate fans and makes things look a lot worse.




Let’s hope he not only overcomes his injury but comes back stronger in every sense. Time is still very much on his side to become a top defender. So can we consider his return to be a LANS? ?


If ever a player was need at a particular time, it’s him and it’s around now (give or take a few weeks). There’s an unresolved crisis in the centre of defence with Koscielny almost certainly on the way out as I don’t see any circumstances where we could keep him now (although I’ve more chance of playing for Arsenal than the club has of getting the kind of fee that’s being reported). The other problem is even more intractable at present – pushing the disaster that’s always waiting to happen, Mustafi, out of the door. Holding is clearly our best… Read more »

Drogheda Gunner

I know this won’t be popular but I think we should sell chambers, he’s never going to be good enough to be a starter for us and he had good season last year his price should be at its highest, another year sitting on our bench is going to bring the price right down. If we get an offer of over 20 sell and hopefully get a quality centre half.


I read that Chambers is on the “exit” list but there’s very little chance of getting £20 million for him in my opinion. He was OK at Fulham, playing mainly in midfield there, but he hardly set the world on fire or they would have wanted him permanently. On that basis, I reckon we may get around £10-12 million, possibly a tad more with add-ons. I’d take that however, and use the funds, as you suggest, towards bringing in a proven centre back. Will we offload him? About 75% against now.


Chambers was Fulham’s player of the season


Perhaps, but they didn’t make any move to buy him, did they. I wonder why?

Toucan Sam

Honestly, would you want to play for Fulham? They were pretty shit and in the Championship now. Don’t think it was ever a possibility.

Dave Cee

Bcos they got relegated and had no chance of signing him maybe


I actually suspect Chambers will start with Sokratis in a back four at Newcastle first game of the season.


Would be great to see this guy back in action. Great potential.


Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what we need.
We need a hero
HOLDING back as our Hero to the end all of this shite
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

apangu iddi amin

Welcome back R Holding have a successful season .


While Holding’s return fills my heart with unbridled joy, two caveats remain:

One, that AFC might accelerate his return prematurely.

Two, that expectations of his first-team involvement will, on it’s own, be significantly misplaced.

He needs to be fully fit, fully match fit, and back to the playing level he was before his injury.

None of this is guaranteed.


I think he can step up this season. He was looking decent last season before injury hit but many also forget he was better in a back 3. We have yet to find perfect recipe for a back 4. He may step it up this season into the back 4 but its not a given either. Still rumblings on Rugani loan complicated by need to take Khedira, ordinarily a plus but salary may be issue. Reviews on Rugani are mixed,a young Cback prob not given enough chances but supposedly prone to lapses when he did (remind you of someone) As… Read more »

Paul Roberts

Excellent to see the Holding brothers back on the pitch. 🙂


Go Rob!


This young man is the man . No unnecessary fancies. He reads the game perfectly. We ll be fine this year with Sokratis and him. With better protection from midfield as mentioned in the arsecast . In the meantime Chambo can assure the job


What great news. Just hope he isn’t being rushed back too quickly and is given plenty of time for a full first-team recovery.


Glad to see this news. He looked promising under Emery last season before his unfortunate injury. Honestly see a future captain in this guy. Here’s hoping he isn’t rushed back and gets a good season under his belt.


McGuire to United.

We need to strengthen . Fist of gold, feet of clay.

Der Kaiser

A lot of top level sport is in the head. Mustafi probably has all the atributes physically and may impress in training ( when no pressure) but is not calm when playing for a top club and appears to have no positional sense. He just cannot read the game and does not have a ” footballing brain”. I feel sorry for him in that I think he gives 100 per cent, is barely injured and never reacted to all the criticism. Holding on the other hand apoears ,mature beyong his years, has that positional sense and can read a game.… Read more »


What I like most about Holding is his attitude. He doesn’t take any shit and he’s prepared to front up. Really hope it all falls into place for him and us.


Seems to me that how one views Kos behavior is clouded by whether or not you like him.

RVP left to pursue a chance to get a title shot, Adebayor, Nasri the same, yet many view their actions as despicable, Kos behaves this way becsue the club allegedly went back on their word. Breach of contract is what it is.

Would you have accepted the same from the above players, possibly not. Kos has a contract which he shouid honor unless he is being transferred.

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