Arsenal defender Rob Holding once again impressed in a three-man backline against Manchester City as the Gunners reached the FA Cup final. The former Bolton Wanderers centre-back has been on the periphery at Arsenal all season, but was brought to the fore in a new system and has taken to it immediately.
Holding has made just four Premier League appearances this season, half of them coming in the last week, and he’s shown his manager that he deserves to be in and around the first-team in 2017/18. The 21-year-old was signed as a long-term replacement for the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in 2016 but may be in contention for a starting place next season.
Against Manchester City, Holding made more clearances (8) than his teammates and blocked a close-range effort too. He made three tackles and interceptions and was effective going forward – making four dribbles on the day and having a shot for his troubles. Operating alongside Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista, Arsenal have an athletic defence that can play the ball out of the back.
Although Mustafi has been short of form in recent weeks, Holding was still deemed too inexperienced to deputise for the World Cup winner. However, Wenger could well retain the Englishman for Arsenal’s run-in as things stand.