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Thoughts on Rob Holding’s Contract Extension

Newcastle United: David Ornstein deals blow to hopes of signing Arsenal ace Rob  Holding | The Transfer Tavern

The magic of the FA Cup took centerstage this weekend and our focus in moving to that knockout competition to the Premier League, where Arsenal needs more points to move up the table in their current resurgence. The Gunners take on Crystal Palace on Thursday, but the news dominating the rounds is the much welcome news that Arsenal defender, Rob Holding, signed a new long term deal with the club, to keep him at the Emirates for the foreseeable future. 

Holding has been with Arsenal for the best part of five years, and its fair to say that this has been the campaign he has really stepped up to make himself a mainstay in the Gunners. Arsenal gaffer, Mikel Arteta, waxed lyrical about Holding, especially with the fact that the club almost sent him out on loan to Newcastle this season, before pulling the plug,

“It was almost a year ago when he came back from his injury. He had a period when he didn’t play and then he played against Leeds at home [in the FA Cup] and when you compare how he has evolved in a year from there until now, it’s incredible.

“It’s down to him; how professional he is, how much he wants to learn, how much he puts that into every training session. And then there’s his character and his personality. He’s growing in every aspect. I’m really happy with him.

“It’s true that in the summer he came to me because we had a large amount of centre-backs and he wasn’t sure about how many minutes he was going to have. We stopped him going anywhere because we knew he was going to be an important player for us.”

Under Unai Emery, Holding featured regularly and earned his place on the side, before that unfortunate injury at Old Trafford cut his campaign short.

Manchester United vs Arsenal: Rob Holding seeking 'closure' a season on  from injury at Old Trafford | The Independent | The Independent

Despite the plethora of center backs currently at the club, Holding has made 18 appearances in all competitions this season and started 13 of Arsenal’s 17 league games, including all of the last seven. He has had several defensive partners this season, featuring in a back four and back three, and has tried to be a consistent figure at the back. He has earned five clean sheets this season with the club and is expected to feature consistently in the course of the campaign.

Here’s to Holding, a future Arsenal stalwart.

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Thoughts on the Lens game and Arsenal Sign Holding

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores against Lens

Arsenal traveled to France to take on RC Lens on their home ground last Friday. I would have watched the game live but I had other commitments so I had to make do with some highlights from the official site. I know you can’t really judge a game of 90 minutes from a few bit-sized highlights, but I’d learned a thing or two from what I saw, and overall it was a good run out for the lads.

From an individual standpoint, there were some impressive performances on display. It seemed as if our captain’s lack of pace was exploited, as it was a comical sight seeing him trying to catch up with that Lens forward but thankfully, he missed his effort. The goal the Gunners conceded was down to some terrible defending from Calum Chambers. With the arrival of Rob Stark Holding from Bolton, it’s going to be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger manages Chambers. More on that anon.

I was happy with the fact that Kieran Gibbs is still very much around and there has been no news regarding his future. He came on for Nacho Monreal and looked very tidy with the ball. Matt Macey also came on for Emiliano Martinez and made a brilliant save to deny the home side a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity. The goalie spoke after the game, labeling that save as a ‘nice moment to have‘ but he has also come to terms with the fact that it wouldn’t be easy for him to break into the first squad.

Further up the pitch, Theo Walcott looked hungry and was trying to make things happen in attack. He looked incisive in attack, and I don’t know if he’s auditioning to play a key role in the squad with his performances but time will tell. The contest was leveled when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lobbed a superb effort over the goalkeeper. The English speedster stated that he had been practicing the chip for quite some time, so I’m guessing he has been infested with a Carlos Vela spirit. It was good seeing the Ox strut his stuff after such a disappointing campaign last season. He started well with a brilliant finish in the Community Shield but his form waned as the season progressed before it was ended abruptly by a knee injury.

Wenger’s post-match interview was quite interesting, speaking about the game, Sam Allardyce getting the England job and the transfer market. In the end, it was a good run out and all focus would be in the games at America.

So all speculation about Bolton’s Player of the Year, Rob Holding, joining the club has been confirmed, as the youngster has joined Arsenal to be the third signing of the season, after Granit Xhaka and Takuma Asano. With the presence of Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers at the club, Holding will have to work his way to the top and we would be hoping to see what he has to offer during the preseason.

With Holding coming to the fray, there are whispers that Chambers might be sent out on loan, with Southampton apparently interested in his services. He has taken the #16 jersey vacated by Ramsey, which is an indication that he wants a number that shows he’s close to the first team. I’m not taking anything away from the likes of Jeff Reine-Adelaide and co though.

I wish him the very best in his fledgling Arsenal career


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Arsenal to Sign Holding and MLS All Star Squad Announced

The defender (left) was named Bolton's Player of the Season at the end of an impressive debut campaign

Holding was Bolton’s Player of the Season in the last campaign

Arsenal’s policy for investing in youth has remained unchanged, as Arsene Wenger seeks to create a squad that would probably win the quadruple in 2020 or something. Following the imminent arrival of Japanese wonderkid, Takuma Asano, that cried like a baby in his last game for Hiroshima Sanfreece, the Daily Mail has reported that a £2m fee has been agreed for Bolton youngster, Rob Holding.

If he joins the club, he would be the third acquisition of the transfer window, and while Granit Xhaka is a player that is expected to walk into the starting XI, the likes of Asano and Holding will take a while before they can make their marks at the Emirates. It’s always good to invest in youngsters, but there are times when it doesn’t just work out, like the case of a certain Wellington Silva, that has returned to his former club, Fluminense, after an unsuccessful spell with the Gunners.

Wellington signed for the Gunners six years ago but had some challenges with securing a work permit, so he had to be shipped out on loan to Levante, Alcoyano, Ponferradina, Murcia and Almeria and he featured consistently at those clubs before eventually securing a Spanish passport, which automatically qualified him to get a work permit in the UK. At the start of last season, Wellington was actually eligible to play for the Gunners, but he was loaned again to Bolton, which was more or less an indication that he wasn’t good enough to play for the Gunners.

Wellington Silva scoring against Wolves

I’d shared my thoughts on Rob Holding a while ago, so I don’t intend to delve into talking much about him today. However, I will be more interested to see what happens to Calum Chambers, that is clearly behind Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista in the pecking order. Holding has shown a lot of potential and it would be nice to see what he can offer wit the preseason games coming thick and fast.

Speaking of preseason, the Gunners are scheduled to travel to America to face off an All Star MLS side on July 29th, at the Avaya Stadium. The team has been selected by All Star coach, Dominic Kinnear.

Andrea Pirlo and David Villa (right) have been named in the MLS All-Star squad

Andrew Pirlo and David Villa are part of the squad

The team is a true reflection of the word ‘All Star’, as it boasts of the likes of Girovani dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Clint Dempsey, Ignacio Piatti, David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and the former scourge of Arsenal, Didier Drogba. A full list of the MLS All Star squad can be seen here.

That’s a wrap for today folks.


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