Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal have Rob Holding to thank for the fact they left Wolverhampton with three points on Thursday.
Rob Holding joined the action against Wolves in a pivotal period of the game. Arsenal were 20 minutes from securing a win away to the side just two points below them in the table, but they’d just been reduced to 10 men.
Mikel Arteta’s plan to address that situation was to switch to a back three, with Holding slotting in alongside Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White.
Holding executed his task to perfection. He won all three of his aerial duels, made nine clearances, one interception, and blocked one shot to maintain Arsenal’s clean sheet.
After the game, the Arsenal manager had a lot of praise for his substitute.
“Today he deserves a lot of credit,” Arteta said. “He was on the bench, he was ready to help.
“His attitude, his commitment to the team whether he plays every week or plays one minute, it’s incredibly good.
“He’s a really good influence for the rest. Today he really helped the team, the way he defended the box made a huge difference. Thanks to him we won the game.”
It seems unlikely that Holding’s positive cameo will see him immediately break into the starting lineup.
Gabriel and White both had strong performances as well, with Gabriel even scoring the winning goal. It’s hard to see either of them dropping out, or Arteta switching up his system to accommodate Holding.
All Holding can do is to keep performing when he gets the chance and be ready for any opportunity. You never know when an injury or a serious downturn in form might see you back in the lineup.