Rob Holding believes Mikel Arteta’s tactical preparation for matches is better than anything he’s experienced, but they’re missing the execution.
Despite Arsenal’s poor start to the Premier League season, you can see how Rob Holding might take some individual positives from the campaign so far.
Firstly, he’s gone from a probable loan out to Newcastle United to starting every game for Arsenal. Of the three league games he’s missed, he was injured for two and on the bench for the other.
At least at first, the defence was also performing very well. Even after a particularly disappointing run of recent results, there are only five teams who have conceded fewer than Arsenal this season.
Yet it’s undeniable the team are struggling as a whole. Holding thinks Mikel Arteta is preparing them well for games, they just aren’t executing his ideas properly just yet.
“I’ve never been so tactically aware going into games,” Holding said. “So I think that side of my game is improving.
“[Arteta’s] very precise in terms of how he wants us to play, how we look at the opposition, we see where their weaknesses are, and how we try and exploit them. So going into games, we know everything about the opposition.
“I think the only thing that’s missing is that final bit of execution.”
Arteta was starting to run out of time to make that ‘final bit’ happen. With Arsenal in 15th after 14 games before they played Chelsea, the possibility of dropping into the relegation zone was starting to look very real.
If Holding is right and the players are being given all the tools to win matches, they needed to start using on Boxing Day, and that’s exactly what they did.
Arsenal now sit 14th on 17 points, at least until Leeds play Burnley in Sunday’s first match.