Saturday, March 2, 2024

Holding set to feature as Arsenal U23s start season against Blackburn

Arsenal U23s get their season underway with a trip to face Blackburn Rovers tonight, and, while much of the focus will be on the latest crop of prospects at the club’s disposal, it will also be interesting to see how a more senior player fares.

Rob Holding, having played 60 minutes in a friendly against Watford U23s last weekend, will receive another runout against Blackburn, with the defender edging closer to a return to full fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Holding is only 23 years old himself but his relative experience should prove to be very useful for the Arsenal youngsters that are set to play alongside him in defence tonight, such as Zech Medley and Harry Clarke.

Aside from Holding, the likes of Tyreece John-Jules, Robbie Burton and James Olayinka will all be looking to push on further having featured for the first-team in pre-season, with the trio aiming to show that they deserve a chance in cup competitions this campaign.

Folarin Balogun, who enjoyed a superb pre-season, is likely to lead the line, although it remains to be seen if Bukayo Saka will feature, with the winger having trained with the first-team recently.

Another player for whom this is a very important season is Trae Coyle.

The winger struggled for consistency last season, but now, having signed a new deal, is ready to make a major impact.

Coach Steve Bould has already outlined that he isn’t particularly bothered about results at this level, with development taking precedence, but given the quality of Arsenal’s squad, the young Gunners will look to at least match last season’s second-place finish.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Rob Holding, you know. He’s better than Cannavaro.


Only Cannavaro’s mum would downvote this.


Probably not… But is there any way to watch it?


For the record we won 3-1 (Folarin Balogun scored a hat trick – 2 were penalties) and Holding played 63 minutes.


Rob the Holding….you are needed.


Would like to see Chambers continue against Burnley – feel like he’s pretty suited to the traditional British style of Aerial bombardment that Burnley will employ. On the other hand Luiz is great for picking a pass against a team which will have eryone behind the ball! Nice to have a positive dilemma..


Chambers was the better CB in Newcastle, why not start him alongside Luiz?

Also, Chambers is a great passer as well.


It’s always good to have multiple options without needing to play an obvious weak link (we all know who). Not really a choice we’ve had. That said, although the defence didn’t concede against Newcastle, it wasn’t a test of the type that we’re certainly going to get vs. Liverpool and Spu*s shortly.

I think Luiz will play then (if fit) and Emery may plump for Sokratis as well (not a particular favourite of mine, but he’s been around) in those games and give the likes of Chambers and, hopefully, Holding time to ease in as we go along.


Or both and give Papa a rest


We play at Anfield the week after, so I’d definitely like to see Luiz start against Burnley just to get his debut out of the way and for him to get a feel of how we play. I’d also start Pepe ahead of Nelson for the same reason.


Chambers and Holding ……..the Future??


Saliba will have something to say about that…. and let’s not get carried away with Chambers after one alright performance yesterday.


31 apps in PL last season. Player of the season at Fulham. 40 apps for Englands U19 and U21. He´s an excellent player IMHO and been very good preseason.


Yes, and Chambers played well against Newcastle. On Fulham, he was their Player of the Year, but they made no attempt to sign him permanently as a result. Also, he was sent on loan because his spell with us couldn’t really be considered as a success, could it? Now, he may have returned as a much better player but a few friendlies and one EPL game isn’t that much to go on. If he plays against, say, Liverpool and/or Spu*s in the coming weeks, that will be a far better test of his development.

Don't Dada

Fulham could not sign him permanently as they were relegated. He was their player of the season and even if Arsenal wanted to sell him, I am sure there would be no shortage of Premier league clubs willing to have him in their team.


I agree about Chambers, but surely we also shouldn’t get carried away with Saliba? He hasn’t kicked a ball in the EPL yet, which is quite different from Ligue 1, and won’t do so until next season. He’s quite a prospect of course, but surely we must wait and see how he manages on, say, a wet, windy, wintery evening at Burnley or the like?


People like to imagine things.

Saliba may be a good deal but carries a lot of risk at 27m eventual price tag. If he fails to deliver, we are stuck with a loss which can affect future windows.

Its called kicking the can down the road.

Plus as you mentioned, his stats are based across a very narrow band width of just 19 games in Ligue one.


I think we should not be carried away with ANY of them. As I mentioned before, Mustafi is not as bad as some prefer to imagine. Pound for pound he is a very good defender but he is prone to lapse of concentration which is his chief issue and one we cannot afford. BUT Chambers isn’t perfect nor Holding. The best player in the pact should partner Sokratis who is the most consistent. The other thing I would say is I’d prefer less rotation in this area bc we need Chambers or whoever to establish some element of understanding with… Read more »


Good news, let’s hope he comes through unscathed. Over and above not conceding a goal, the “new look” defence did reasonably well against Newcastle (although, overall, not really the toughest of tests). However, getting Holding back for the first team will be a big boost all round.


Newcastle isn’t much of a test though it is worth bearing in mind.

I would temper the enthusiasm.


That is great news. We were OK against Newcastle but not entirely water tight either and they were not fantastic. Against harder opponents, we will have issues so it is important not to read too much into the clean sheet. Partially midfield is still unbalanced. First half, it was correct for Emery to go with Guendouzi AND Willock. BOTH younger men provided plenty of energy and cover for Granit. BUT Cebellos when he came on (early days of course) misplaced simple passes. I’m not sure we are seeing the next Carzola here. He will improve no doubt but some people… Read more »

Mark WahlBergkamp

I think people are so sick of reading you say the same things over and over and over and over and over and over that you’re just gonna get downvoted and no one’s gonna reply to you anyone.

Literally half the reason I want Mustafi sold is so you’ll stop harping on about him being the heir to Cannavaro’s throne. (Or Rob Holdings current throne for that matter)

Mark WahlBergkamp

Anymore *

My Cousin Vinai

Sometimes I wonder of Santori is a bot. His behaviour is uncanny, he doesn’t even acknowledge people’s feedback about his long messages and just carries on.


Rob Holding, you know. He’s better than Cannavaro.

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