Saturday, March 2, 2024

Holding: We need to put poor form to bed

Rob Holding admits he’s embarrassed by Arsenal’s recent run of form as a 2-0 defeat in the North London derby piled on the misery for Mikel Arteta’s squad.

The Gunners have now made the worst start to a league campaign since 1981/82, scoring a paltry 10 goals on the way to a 13 point tally from 11 games. We are rotting in 15th place.

After the match, Mikel Arteta pinpointed his side’s attacking failings as a fundamental reason for their struggles so far. While Holding agrees, he’s desperately hoping for a change in luck.

Speaking to Sky Sports about our poor start, he said: “It is frustrating. It is a record that you don’t want to be a part of. We are frustrated as players and we are letting the fans down. We need to change that, win some games and put that to bed.

“Finding the back of the net just seems to be a problem at the moment, but hopefully there is going to be a bit of luck to change that. Hopefully, the goals will start to come.

“They [Sp*rs] took their chances and that’s the story of the game. No matter how many crosses we put in, if we don’t get on the end of it, and put it in the back of the net, it is pointless at the end of the day.

“We are getting the chances, it is just putting them away. Maybe the first goal we get will just be a bit of a deflection or a trickle into the net and bit of luck on our side.

“Then hopefully the confidence will be there to carry on and score some more goals. But we just need that little bit of luck to put one in the back of the net.

“We have just got to, in training, keep creating chances and taking them – and be confident. We have got to give the strikers some confidence to put the ball in the back of the net and hopefully we can a get goals at the weekend.”

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Why don’t I see as many chances as Holding seems to think we get?


Probably because they’re thinking more broadly about territory and attacking situations. It’s true that we are getting overloads in wide areas and getting in to the final third just as it’s true to say the crossing is poor and the final pass is poor.


Max two decent chances in the game, few more half chances thats it.
What is he on about?
Holding is poor aswell, what was he doing with goal, backing off like a pissbag, but if that was xhaka he would get slaughtered.

Arteta Out—–youve been found out—–just a pretender

Reality check

Don’t try to be fair here bro, favouritism is the reality of life. Xhaka, as bad as he is, gets a lot of unwarranted flak on behalf of others who have avoided criticism for years. He can’t be everything that’s wrong with the club and he cannot make as Barca even if he wakes up in Xavi’s body tomorrow..

Bould's Eyeliner

I think Arteta needs to be given some support, and he’s obviously here to stay, given the management’s organization around him. Come January, I fully expect him to say, I need this, this, this, and this, and get two this’s. Maybe three. If he doesn’t even ask for one… then maybe the board will reconsider hiring someone else in the backroom concerning recruitment/operations.

Bould's Eyeliner

Also Xhaka isn’t that good if he’s relied upon like he is. We need a CAM that let’s Xhaka hold deeper in order to get the passing range/time that he needs. EPL teams often just pressure him though, so he might be a better fit in La Liga, eventually…


Or a pub side.


he captains his country so i think he is slightly better then that


We’re getting chances that are tailor made for Giroud…

We’re creating no chances that suits auba or laca. When’s the last time we’ve seen our strikers miss a chance that isn’t a header?

What worries me is that Arteta seemingly thinks this is ok.


Oh dear. The players are now following Mikel into the hope that if we continue to cross 50 times a game, one of them will get a ‘deflection’ & maybe even ‘trickle into the net’. Oh dear, oh dear.


In his defense he didn’t subtly state “it is pointless at the end of the day”
Perhaps the players might have slight some reservations about the current style of play too?

Viv the 🐐

I think no player is happy with hoofing crosses into the box and praying for something to happen. I’m sure no one is really enjoying it at the moment.


If we scored 3 or 4 from crosses every time, they’d probably enjoy supplying the crosses, but (painfully obviously) we have no offensive threat in the air. I was moaning about the 500 passes outside the box. That changed to 55 crosses. Thats actually progress. But not what I was hoping for. I basically only watch Arsenal games these last 5 years or so, and I have almost forgotten that you can create chances on the ground through the middle. Then I watch us play EL and go “ah, I remember this is what football used to be”. Play the… Read more »


And people wonder why Auba isn’t scoring – it’s not his game.

Square pegs in round holes stuff. Crazy. And if your average Joe can see this – then why the fuck can’t the manager…?!


All the talk, all the clever chat about ‘non negotiables’ and ‘processes’ – and this is what it’s all boiled down to; hoofing in crosses and relying on the law of averages that one of them will eventually go in. The football equivalent of slinging shit at the wall in the hope that it will stick. I’m sorry, but that is no blue print for a successful future for this club. I like Arteta, but unless he starts allowing the players to pass, create and express themselves (don’t tell me we haven’t got the players – we have; they’re all… Read more »


No shit Sherlock.

I really like Arteta and want him to succeed but he needs to find some answers quickly.

I can’t help but feel the whole Ozil saga has had a toxic influence on the side. They should have paid of his contract and sent him on his way.


100 percent. Make a statement. Move on. Instead of having the elephant in the room actually *in the room* spreading dissent. Even if he’s a model professional, what are we signalling to the youngsters?

Reality check

They did make a statement and moved on but it was the wrong statement and wasn’t effective enough, especially when you don’t replace him and end being the worst attacking team in the league. Wenger must be having sleepless nights, all his hard work of 22 years is being washed off with every aimlessly cross, every hoof and a long throw in the box. At least you know why small clubs played like that, when you ain’t got a clue just hoof it long and pray..

SB Still

I was never the cerebral fan to appreciate Ozil for the past few seasons. Also, I recognise Arteta really did want the creative addition to the team in the last transfer window, which probably delayed going for Partey. However, in the current situation, with the January window being far more difficult or limited in terms of movement (maybe this window will be different based on vaccine hope and getting fans back in the stadiums), maybe we just lick our wounds and include Ozil back in the team! This is assuming both side are professional and mature about the whole situation… Read more »


The issue isn’t a lack of creative players, it’s in the way we’re setting the team up and instructing them to play. You could add Messi and it wouldn’t matter if we forced him to play as a dm instructed to only pass to the wings so we can cross to 5 foot 9 strikers.


Don’t forget the yawn-a-minute horse shoe.

Our ‘football’ is the biggest cure for insomnia since malted Horlicks.


Arteta won’t play Ozil again; tough luck sunshine.

As for Ozil being ‘past it’ – check out Willian (who is clearly past it) and his two sidekicks, Ceballos and Willock, whose combined creative genius have seen us reach the dizzying heights of 15th and make the club’s worst start in just under 40 years.

Reality check

Arrogance comes at the price of embarrassment.. not worth it but I suppose Arteta had to find that out the hard way. Not saying that with Ozil, we would’ve been top of the table but to not replace him was criminal..


Well, he thought he had replaced him. With Willian.

A bit like replacing a Ford Mustang with a Morris Marina.

Bould's Eyeliner

More like replacing a McClaren P1 with a no-options Mustang.


👍 Well said! 🍺

SB Still

1st don’t type while dizzy.

2nd to call me sunshine, you got to a very old.

3rd Willian playing, doesn’t mean Ozil isn’t past it. In my opinion Willian was a pointless signing, another relic of Also, not sure what your counter point, I was highlighting Ozil as a short term fix to the creation problem, which you agree with. However, you are worked-up because you think Ozil should remain at the club for years?

Take it easy. In the current situation, don’t let Arsenal (or Ozil), to be all consuming.


Read again what you have written.

If anyone’s dizzy around here, it’s you.

And yeah, I am old -53 to be exact. But, unlike Willian, I do my job properly and earn my salary with justification.

Guess what? Someday, you’ll be old too and younger people will be merrily taking the piss out of you for it.

Bould's Eyeliner

qwalifications of age aside, qwit thinking that qwick wits and piss are all young people are good for. Qwibbling qrazies…


Your eyeliner’s a bit on the thick side, Bouldy.


4 wins, 1 draw, 6 defeats and we were desperately lucky with that draw. Simply no where near good enough and we really need to rethink how we approach everything. Pressing, passing, running, shooting, huge issue in all departments.


It’s not even the results that are so worrying (and this is the worst start to the PL Arsenal has ever had), it’s the fact that there appears to be no recognition that what we are doing isn’t remotely working. We play like a relegation threatened side – pack the defense and just lump in crosses hoping they hit. I’m all for giving Arteta a real shot, but the guy also needs to show some progress. If we spend the next few weeks just doing the same thing over and over with the same failing players, you have to genuinely… Read more »


But it’s not even that exactly (although we mostly agree). Sure we are lumping in crosses like a relegation side, but at least those teams know how to play off the ball and don’t try to control possession at the slowest tempo observed in EPL history. We are a patch-work of all the things that don’t really work in the EPL: Crossing to strikers that are more effective with the ball at their feet Trying to control possession with major gaps in the middle of the pitch, and basically playing zero football through the middle of the pitch Playing arguably… Read more »


Very, very true. I said a few weeks ago on here that if all we did was move Aubameyang into the middle and play a back 4, we’re not going to solve our issues at all. It’s basically rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Saying that, I would seriously hesitate with anything like a sacking. Part of the reason we’re in this mess is because we’ve brought in managers to just about manage with what we have. We haven’t been able to (or we’ve chosen not to) take a long term view regarding what we want to do and… Read more »


So I get we have structural issues, but Arteta is also massively contributing to our problems at this point. He & Edu are the ones who gave Luiz an extension, signed Willian, turned down an offer for Laca (according to Ornstein) and Arteta is the one who is setting up the team in a way that it’s virtually guaranteed to fail – Daveo analysis above is correct. I would be willing to live with the poor results /growing pains if we had an actual style of play and were playing younger players who typically cost points. But we have no… Read more »


Everything you’re saying is more or less true, but my worry is that bringing in a new manager (unless it’s literally Klopp or something) might just mean repeating the same mistakes. Instead of consigning Xhaka, Willian and co on the scrapheap, instead of trying to implement a real style early doors, they might “lean on our senior players” to try and get results now. Then we’ll cobble together something functional out of them, finish mid-table, and call it progress. Finally we’ll be back here in 12 months time with more pensioners and the cycle repeats. That’s my main worry anyway,… Read more »


I get where you’re coming from on this. That’s why we’re supposed to have a technical director taking a long term view. Instead of signing Willian, Edu needs to suggest similar profile players who are much younger. If we replace Arteta right now it likely requires replacing the whole set up. Overmars & VanderSar are making noises about wanting a new challenge and they very much would he an upgrade on our current set up. They potentially could bring Ten Hagg as well.


I could definitely see another change upstairs perhaps, before one in the dugout. There have been some very good signings but there’s been too much inconsistency as well, hopefully that’s been recognised now by the powers that be.

Auba auba laca partey

We were unlucky with the loss v Leicester. Selective memory huh?

David C

We are completely back to Emery-ball. Might as well feed Kola down the left wing 50 times a game.

Bench the duds, play the young studs!

Give Soares a start over Bellerin too so he can work on his throw-ins.

Holding Gabriel Tierney
Soares Elneny Ceballos AMN
Nelson Auba Saka


Soares Holding Gabriel Tierney
Elneny Willock
Nelson ESR Saka

No more Laca, Xhaka, or Willian please.


Agree, ring the bells of change. We are so pedestrian, predictable. No team fears us – except maybe Dundalk? 🙂

In the PL, I’d like to see more of AMN, Nelson, ESR, Nelson, Eddie, Balogun, Elneny, Saka, Pepe, Soares.

Bench Xhaka, Laca, Ceballos, Auba, Willian. Controversial definitely but what have they done to earn their place?

Mikel needs to right the ship quickly, starting with Burnley and the Saints. He is on thin ice. Stop micro-managing and bring some fluidity to the play.

Cultured Determination

yup. i used to think ceballos was not bad, but now i know why zidane’s not considering him at all, and why he’s not on loan in one of the top-ish spanish clubs xhaka is a shit tortoise. willian is on holiday mode. laca needs a new environment to refresh his mind and start his game again (actually think he’ll really suit Athletico.) Auba needs Saka, ESR and Pepe behind him, constantly supplying him.

Naked Cygan

I am all with you with giving the young players a chance. But end if the day we gave an average team who are mentally weak, and a manager with no plan B. We have replaced the creativity of an ozil type player with David Luiz long balls and 50 triangular passes down the left wing with 50 shit crosses, and one man who is not good with headers in the box. If this is our tactic then we are fked. We need to be more creative. How we fking won the FA cup with this team, I have no… Read more »


This is worse than Emery ball.

We scored goals under Emery.


If we’re going to cross the ball so much, we need someone to get their head to it or attack the near post with purpose…we had such a player but we decided he didn’t quite fit in and sold him to Chelsea! It’s not as if we didn’t work the ball into good positions against Sp*rs, but it’s easy to defend against without a serious threat in the middle. Auba has his head down, clearly. Either find a system to suit what we have, or a player to fight in the air. Otherwise we’re just crossing to centre halves!


In fact, I’ve got it. Get Mustafi up front of we want to float in cross after cross. Problem solved!

Viv the 🐐

Can you remember, when Liverpool used Steven Caulker (not sure about first name) as a striker late on in games? Worked against us, maybe that’s how we can grab a goal.


Well, it is Pantomime season.

Get Mustafi on anyway – and let’s all have a fucking good laugh.


Nothing against Holding but why is the official site putting a defender in front of the press to talk about our missed chances? Feels like the old Johann Djourou days of press conferences. Where is the captain? Laca? Willian? Heck, even Xhaka or Bellerin as vice-captains and “chance-makers.” I like Holding. Whether he was partially at fault for the Son goal or if he had to go wide to block the pass and was let down by his team as no one covered is irrelevant to the conversation of our lack of goals though. With all respect to him, I… Read more »


FFS you have team of model pros with abilitu to take shots from 20 to 30 yards out ans stuck it in. How can it be so difficult to instruct them to go for a goal instead of freking cornerflag??? Wtf is that? Why your RWB is acting as some sort of playmaker, and as you see yesterday Aurier was RB and he picked the ball, passed it along and 4 spuds go straight and directly, as direct as it getd, towards our goal. Where is out LB or RB?? NOWHERE TO BE SEEN BECAUSE THEY ARE APPARENTLY OUR PLAYMAKERS??… Read more »


I haven’t quite got to the Caps Lock yet.

As I said the other day, I’m well past anger now. Which is good for the blood pressure – especially for an old Top Side North Bank codger like me.

Bodie CI5

Yes your right Mr holding, but you also need to leave as your simply not good enough for arsenal football club,,

Daz Pants

And you’re not good enough to comment on this football team.


yep- holding belongs at nottingham forest with our mate carl jenkinson–the english badge gives us rose tinted glasses—-compare him to gabriel–miles behind


I’d take Holding over Mustafi any time.

Well, in a team that I could take seriously, anyway.

I actually think we should add Mustafi and all have a good Christmas laugh. A few festive ‘Mustafis’ from the German Frank Spencer – right up there with Morecambe and Wise.


Holding always seem to be the guy heading away all crosses in the air. He is just slow on the ground. But he is definitely one of our better defenders


Fine he may be one of our better defenders-still nowhere near the standard required at the highest level- unless that is we have resigned ourselves to becoming the everton of london


Does anyone know — were the 44 (is that the right number?) crosses we put into the box yesterday all head-height, or were a share of them low crosses? How many were back post and thus volleyable?


“But we just need that little bit of luck to put one in the back of the net.”

As delusional as Arteta, it’s not down to luck, the stats don’t lie. We haven’t played as bad in a long long time. We have the ball when they want us to have the ball (Spuds, Leicester), we get don’t get into the game when they press us. (Liverpool, Man City, Leeds, …), never in control except against Fulham and on Thursdays with some of the youngsters.


Arteta should go or bring back ozil to the team


I’ll take the latter, but if it doesn’t happen in January – and, to be honest, it won’t – then I’ll gladly take the former.

Truth be told, I’m getting mightily sick of Arteta, his crap football and his lofty ‘non-negotiable’ bollocks.


I really hope we can offload a bunch of players in Jan. Give Sokratis and Mustafi free transfers to free up their wages. Sell Xhaka for whatever we can get, probably no more than 15-20 million. I’d also get on the phone to see if anyone would take Ozil with us paying half his wages. Same thing for Willian, even though there’s no chance of that. These are the moves that an ambitious club should make. They’d realize that there’s rot in the team and do any and all possible to alleviate it. Instead, we’ll promote Willian to captain, loan… Read more »


You and Biggles should get a barrow on Portobello Road.

Cultured Determination

. can we pls have a tactical write up between Mancs and us? a side by side comparison and analysis on the tactical play and the man-for-man personnel for each position. We then reference that bluprint to our current play/ tactic and try to find some sort of resemblance. that might help us to figure out just what the hell mikel is trying to do. (because I dont remember Aguero/Gabriel being 1.9+m- heskey shaped heading legends).


Thinking about the quality of crosses, why doesn’t Tierney take corners? He is the only one with a reliable delivery.

Willian can take the throw ins for Hector instead!


Saka’s free kicks were actually good as well


Put Mustafi on the pitch against Burnley.

Let’s all have a laugh.

Cultured Determination

if crossing’s our go-to method moving forward when we’re down, we should at least have Mustafi/ Sokratis/ Saliba on the bench. sub them on in place of our strikers. they should theoretically be better at heading right? anyway we also need Mustafi to play up top for us. he does what he does when he’s near a defence.


BTW in that 81/82 season we finished 5th


Yeah sure Holding, you can put anything to bed let alone poor form with our shitty, slow-as-fuck playstyle.
By the way Arteta out. The guy is as stubborn as late Wenger without the success and manner to back it up. Keep playing favorites and throwing players under the bus

Auba auba laca partey

In a big game you don’t get many chances. We’ve had them. I cannot my head around the 2nd goal. Laca split the defence with a Ozilesque pass to find Bellerin good run behind, Hector played the right pass into space, no one attacked the space!?!?? It is a recurring theme. We attack the wrong space. It should be 1-1. I believe in Arteta. He should have the rest of the season before any judgements. Keyboard warriors flaky fans. I hate the results but we’re not far. Just need to click upfront.


Am I the only one who feels with Ozil we would have definitely scored more goals against the smaller teams..he might not have helped against the top teams but would have surely provided assists against the smaller ones..was the decision to exclude Ozil from the squad Arteta’s biggest blunder??


Mesut Ozil could have helped the team against any club this season – and we wouldn’t be where we are now, fucking around in the lower half of the table that’s for sure.

Omitting Ozil from both the Premiership and the Euro squads was begging for trouble. And hey presto, Arteta has now got it, by the bucketload – six defeats in eleven games – I’m sorry, but it serves him right.

Definitely his biggest blunder, although the signing of Willian is undoubtedly up there in second place.


And probably concede more as well. But then again how many assists has he had over the year, yet alone goals?


His assists and goals would have counted for so much more had we had some decent centre halves who could actually fucking defend.

Instead, we had Kos and Co and then Mustafi and Co. Fucking useless, the lot of them.


On a brighter note, you have got to be happy for fans of West Brom.

If you had told them at the start of the season that after 11 games they would only be 7 points behind Arsenal they never would have believed it, great achievement for them.


Relegation scrap, here we come.


It looks like Arteta probably won’t survive this season, which is sad, really. I like him. I think he’s been thrown in at the deep end with a ten-ton weight chained to his ankles. He’s a rookie manager who’s been asked to do the impossible: fix a broken business that has been rotting away for a very long time. As I said yesterday, the problems that we have at the club right now are 10 years in the making. They go back to when a certain American decided to buy into our wonderful club. The culture change from “first is… Read more »


Mate, I hate Kroenke as much as you do.

But the current problems on the pitch? They are the (cough) ‘creation’ of one man – and one man only.



Always Wenger…bet you also blame him when you cannot get it up.




This week it’s Holding in the spotlight. Last week the cowards sent out Willock. Where are the captain? Hiding as in the games?

Auba is the one who should stand up and be counted. He’s the one with the armband and it’s time he start acting like a captain or leave it to someone who can manage it.


F*ck the bed…get the casket.

Cranky Colin

If Rob fucked off to Dubai during the interlull, I wonder how would that go down in the “ non negotiables” thingy?


If you ask me , I don’t think the players could give a single shit any more about the non negotiables – or anything else old Lego Head comes out with.


At it again trying to assign blame to Xhaka when Partey was the obvious weak link. And the gaffer’s naive tactics let him down. You’ll never learn if you cloud yourself with bias against certain players. In any case the resources in the team are so tight that there is scant options what next there will be the usual muddle headed suggestion to use AMN in midfield built from the impression derived through competition in europa minnow’s league. As I mentioned many times, the structure of the team tends to be moot point. Sure we are more secure in a… Read more »


Point number 1 and 2….Xhaka is a part of reason for that…lack of quick movement of the ball/ release
You contradict urself


We concede so many goals down our right side… Teams continue to sit back against us knowing we don’t have the quality of a final pass and that when we do it will break down easily. Too easy for the opposition to prepare the team against us. Even if we had one decent final ball player on the bench it would make it a bit harder. ESR is our only option right now. How did our squad building always mean we are one sided attacking. The final 4/5 years of Wenger we didn’t have enough money to buy a right… Read more »


Poor because of Xhaka & Auba,must sell them


The former, yes.

The latter, no (Are you mad?).

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x