Rob Holding says Arsenal’s players are reaping the benefits of a better connection with the club’s fanbase who’ve stuck with the team through thick and thin this season.
The atmosphere on the terraces, both at Emirates Stadium and amongst the Gunners’ travelling contingent, is widely accepted to be the best it has been in years and, despite peaks and troughs in form, support has remained overwhelmingly positive.
Holding thinks it’s a testament to manager Mikel Arteta who, since joining the club in December 2019, made it a priority to repair the fanbase fissures that had developed during the tail-end of Arsene Wenger’s era and that plagued Unai Emery’s tenure.
“I think since Mikel [Arteta] has come in there has been a big change in mentality and connecting with the fans,” Holding told the Evening Standard after the 2-1 win over West Ham.
“I think on Sunday the fans were amazing again and they have been for the last couple of weeks, in terms of away games and at home.
“That’s why our results have been decent since those three that we lost. We bounced back and they stuck by us. It could have been an easy point to turn on us, but they stuck by us and we’ve had three good results now.”
In a separate interview with Arsenal.com, the defender, who scored his first-ever Premier League goal at the weekend, continued the theme.
“Top again, top again, every away trip and at home last week against [Manchester] United,” he said of the support.
“The away fans have just been great this year. The one that stands out is Villa away, they were unbelievable. Again today, the same.
“Credit to them, they really do help us through when we’ve got those last 10 minutes under pressure.
“They have the belief and they keep singing, it’s just a big connection that we’ve got right now. It’s good for us.”
Sunday’s result ensures the Gunners retain a two-point advantage over Sp*rs heading into the final four games of the season.
Next time out, our neighbours face Liverpool at Anfield while we take on Leeds at Emirates Stadium. It could be a pivotal weekend before the north London derby in nine days’ time.
“We have got to take it a game at a time,” said Holding of the upcoming challenges.
“Obviously we have got Leeds at the weekend and that’s always an intense game.
“They come and bring energy. It will be a tough game, but we are at home with the fans behind us and we can try to chalk up another three points.
“Then the following week on the Thursday we have Tottenham, so that’s what it’ll come down to and it should be a good game.”