Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has praised Rob Holding for his display in the 2-0 win against Southampton yesterday evening.
The defender has struggled for form and fitness over the past year, but Smith believes the centre-back would have impressed Mikel Arteta after helping to keep a clean sheet at St Mary’s:
“After three months off, everyone is trying to get back to their best. And, fortunately for Holding, he’s one of them; hungry and ready to try and impress Mikel Arteta.”
“I’m sure he did that last night in the win at Southampton. With Arsenal forced on to the back foot in the second half, the 24-year-old stood firm by showing that precious ability to simply get in the way, whether that meant heading away crosses or smelling danger to clear his lines.”
As Smith mentions, Holding was particularly impressive in the second half, and it will be interesting to see whether he keeps his place for the FA Cup clash against Sheffield United this weekend.
David Luiz is back from suspension, while Sokratis was on the bench last night following some time out with a thigh injury.
However, with Pablo Mari missing for the rest of the season, Holding could well stake his claim to be one of the two first-choice centre-halves for the club’s remaining fixtures.
If he starts at Bramall Lane on Sunday, it will clearly be a sign that he has moved up the pecking order under Arteta.