Holding the Fort for the long-term…

Sport news Arsenal confirm Rob Holding signs a new three-year contract  until 2024 with the

In the past few days, we have been discussing our Conundrum at full-back. Some very interesting discussions indeed. It seems that unlike last years, there is a bit more confidence in our Center-Back options.

The general feeling is that Gabriel has been a good acquisition and that Mari has done the job well when called upon. There are still some (justifiably?) doubts about David Luiz and the majority of us think that Arteta has done well to take Sokratis out of the squad, send Saliba on loan and reduce the playing time of a player like Mustafi. We have also realized that, if we are really in need, Tierney could play at LCB although it would be a waste given his top performances at LB and Chambers has deputized decently at RCB at times.

That leaves us with Holding. Yesterday was a very gloomy day for some of us as we saw Man Utd go top of the EPL after their win over Burnley but there was also a potentially good news with the extension of Holding’s contract.

Holding’s career at AFC has been very inconsistent to say the least. Initially, Holding had done excellent and then he got injured and when he came back, he really struggled. Then his injuries continue to plague his career with us but since April-May last year, he seems to have hit good form and his performances have been more consistent. He has been solid at the back for the most part lately but when we were struggling, he also struggled especially in one-on-one situations. His main weaknesses, namely speed and at times also positioning, do get exposed and when they do, we are in deep trouble. He has not been helped by sub-par performances by Bellerin and Soares. However, one must say that overall in the last 6 months, he has been more of a “good performer”. So is his extension a good news? What are your views on Holding holding the fort for us? Is he a squad player or an automatic starter?



32 Responses to Holding the Fort for the long-term…

  1. Pete the Thirst says:

    Holding deserves the new contract. He’s had some hairy moments this season, but seems to be getting more confident with more games. Don’t forget he had the cruciate ligament injury courtesy of St Marcus Rashford at OT. They take a while to get over.

    He has been playing very well alongside Mari of late. At the moment he is a starter.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    @RC78 re your Brazil team yesterday. I was lucky enough to watch Brazil v Holland in the ’94 world cup live in the USA in Dallas.

    The Brazil team that day had Romario, Bebeto, Dunga & Branco featuring with a good supporting cast.

    Holland featured Bergkamp, Koeman, Rijkaard, Overmars and De Boer.

    Brazil completely outplayed the Dutch and deservedly won 3-2. Bergkamp got a nice goal.

    Both really good sides, but not a scratch on the Brazil side of 1982, which was possibly the best attacking football team ever. They couldn’t defend though. Zico, Socrates, Eder, Falcao, Junior, all amazing players.

    If it wasn’t for Paolo Rossi (RIP) that team would probably have won the world cup.

  3. RC78 says:

    Hi Pete – I felt bed leaving Socrates and Junior out to be honest…

    The Dutch and Brazilians also had an epic game at the WC98 and I thought that the Dutch were unlucky to lose really. That said, beating Brazil in a WC final is the ultimate joy for any football fan and on 12 July 1998, I was a very happy fan 🙂

  4. Mike says:

    for me Gabriel is one of the best players at Arsenal.

  5. RC78 says:

    As for new contract, I agree that he deserves it. I think he is in the mix for a starting berth for sure, especially lately but overall, I see him more as someone who is part of rotation and not necessarily an automatic starter.

    Gabriel, Holding and Mari seem to have maybe put Luiz in early AFC retirement 😛

  6. Sue says:

    Pete.. I like your ‘hairy moments’ mention! I agree – he’s thinning on top at quite an alarming rate!! Maybe he needs to speak to Rooney 😆

    Good for him! Nice to see him being rewarded with a new deal…

  7. RC78 says:

    Hi Sue – watching the French Charity Shield today between PSG – OM? If PSG wins, it d be Pochetinno’s first ever trophy I think…

  8. RockyLives says:

    Good post RC.

    I am happy with Holding getting an extension.

    He’s not in the Tony Adams/Sol Campbell class of course but he’s a solid CB.

    And the contract extension means that even if his slips down the pecking order he will still have decent sell-on value so, all in all, good business by the club.

    Mari has been very good of late, but I like the balance of a right footer and a left footer in central defence so, when all are fit, I would go with Holding + Gabriel.

    Holding + Mari/Luiz also fine.

  9. RockyLives says:


    It’s the 1970 Brazil side for me.

    Wonderful team: Pele, Tostao, Jairzinho, Rivelino, Gerson, Carlos Alberto…

  10. RC78 says:

    Too many talented Brazilians over the decades…Recently, there has also been
    Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Maxwell – Gilberto Silva, Coutinho – Willian, Robinho, Neymar – Adriano…

    The team above has nothing to do with my AFC and PSG’s fondness 😛

  11. Sue says:

    Hi RC.. how are you? Yes I shall have a butchers at that later and hope PSG win 🙂 Di Maria could be heading to Juve on a free then?
    Really tough seeing Cavani in a United kit (still!) And I’m with you – i can’t stand them either! Be a juicy game between them and the scousers on Sunday!! Penalties galore 😆

  12. LB says:

    Thanks for the read RC

    Can’t imagine anyone in the Arsenal family is objecting to Holding getting a new contract; he is greatly improved and as many have said, he deserves it. As for the club, it is hard to see a down side to tying him down.

    Is he the long term solution? Don’t know and don’t care, Big Rob is doing the business right now and that is all that matters

  13. Sue says:

    Rumour has it Balogun has agreed a pre-contract with Leipzig, and will join them on a free in the summer!!

  14. RC78 says:

    Hi Sue – juicy game indeed. I d be so upset to see Di Maria go on a free, like I was with T.Silva and Cavani but our sporting director is strange with older players and maybe he s trying to help Pochetinno

    As for Balogun, it would be sad…

  15. Sue says:

    It’s also been mentioned that it isn’t about the money, as we’ve offered Balogun a ‘substantial amount’… it’s about the minutes!!

    Be interesting to see who Pochettino wants brought in, RC… one or two spuds?

  16. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Sue I don’t buy the ‘about the minutes’ argument. There is a path opening up for him to the Arsenal first team, but he’d have to battle through. There are very few clubs that will guarantee players minutes on the pitch. Although you do have to wonder about Willian.

    There are a tiny number of British players that have really showed up abroad. Even less at a young age. Sancho stands out, but I can hardly think of any others.

    Balogun may be an exceptional talent, but we’re not sure yet. He’s 19 so plenty of time in front of him, but this is a big risk for him.

  17. RockyLives says:

    Balogun may have seen the cut of Martinelli’s jib and decided there’ll be easier paths to becoming a first choice striker than staying at Arsenal…

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Rob reminds me more and more of the BFG, by no means perfect but, just like Per, he uses his head well, has strong intrinsic motivation to do well and has that over my dead body attitude when in battle. What is not to love? But he needs to be surrounded with players who can compensate for a few lesser strengths (for which we probably need a better full back on the right).

  19. LB says:

    I find it hard to believe that had Balogun signed a pre-contract with Leipzieg that it would be kept quite — what’s the point it is official and therefore would be officially announced.

    Or, as is often the case, have I missed something?

  20. VCC says:

    Pete the Thirst 10:38. I sincerely hope Rob Holding has the opportunity to repay the compliment to Mr goody two shoes Rashford soon.

  21. RockyLives says:

    Hello VCC
    How are things?

  22. VCC says:

    Hi Rocky. All good my end Buddy.

    I tune in periodically, but my love for Arsenal dwindled a little, and my love of the beautiful game has taken a severe bashing with the suspicious, dare I say corrupt (imo) officialdom we have to put up with.

    Just take a look at our last game (and several others I could mention)…..the referee couldn’t wait to hand ESR a red card after their player howled like a donkey after hardly being touched, and yet Lacelles got away with a far harsher tackle, that was committed because we would have been through on goal???

    Level playing field………..Pffffft

    Happy and Healthy New Year to you Sir.

  23. RockyLives says:

    Ha. Not sure it’s corruption in most cases – just crapness.

  24. Gööner In Exile says:

    As others have said it’s Rob’s unflappability that for me is his biggest asset. He is a calm presence and that is a vital ingredient to a centre back, as I said he stays on his feet which puts him above Mustafi straight away, and doesn’t often resort to arms/hand grappling attackers, which puts him ahead of Luiz and Sokratis.

    Mari and Gabriel both appear more athletic and maybe better with ball at feet. But that’s fine, Holding keeps it simple in defence and simple with the ball in the main. And most importantly he doesn’t appear to have any aspirations to go too far forward, which means he sticks to his task more diligently than others.

  25. Sue says:

    Poch finally gets his hands on a trophy, RC! Happy days!!

    Just came across this:
    Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno and midfielder Emile Smith Rowe are in discussions with the club over new contracts. #AFC #Gunners

    Even happier days 🙂

  26. RC78 says:

    And to top it off – Tottenham didn’t win today 🙂

    We got our 42nd trophy at PSG today, which is nice. Overall, great first half especially for Icardi, Paredes, Di Maria and Marquinhos. Neymar came in the second half and did well. Mbappe still struggling to find his lethal form…He is really going down the pecking order in terms of bright forward – Haaland and Rashford seem to be ahead now and not only in price but mostly at performance level.

    Poch will play 42121 and this will be his starting XI:

    Navas – Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Bernat – Paredes, Verratti – Eriksen or D.Alli – Mbappe, Neymar – Icardi

    Our bench is then insane from the midfield up…with Danilo, Gueye, Herrera, Rafinha, Di Maria, Keane and if you add Sarabia and eventually Draxler but I think these two could leave very soon…

  27. RC78 says:

    As for Holding, it seems there is a consensus that his extension was a good move by the club 🙂

  28. RockyLives says:

    Much as I think Big Rob is a very decent centre back, I feel you’re flattering him with the comparison with the BFG.

    Per was a really, really good footballer. His reading of the game and his passing and general all-round footballing intelligence were of the highest order.

    In fact I think he was a better footballer than he was a defender, if that makes sense. With Rob it’s the other way round.

    The player I think was closest in style to the BFG was one of our defensive stalwarts from an earlier era – David O’Leary.

  29. RockyLives says:

    Tottenham didn’t half catch a nosebleed when they went to the top of the table for 10 seconds.

    Drawing at home with Fulham… not great form for ‘title contenders’.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points, Rocky. Rob is still young and I have seen progress on the footballing part. I see a similar sort of leader in him. But early days still.

  31. RC78 says:

    I agree that BFG was good with reading the game and his duo with Koscielny was not the worse either.

  32. RC78 says:

    New post everyone

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