22 July: Arsenal sign Bolton’s Player of the Year Rob Holding for £2m.

It was on 22 July 2016 that the transfer was announced, and the transfer was met with wholesale derision by the anti-Wengerian mobs who were spurred on by the mass media and their newly emerging small-scale blogs.

Although none of the publications could bring itself to apologise for the abuse by the end of the season when Holding put in a sterling display in the Cup Final to see off Chelsea, it was apparent that this was another Wenger work of absolute brilliance.

Following injuries to centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, Holding was called upon to make his Arsenal debut in the 2016/17 season first game against Liverpool.

After his performance in the game against Leicester City Mr Wenger said in the post-match press conference, “Unfortunately no one speaks about the performance of Rob Holding. You should be happy, he is English and 20 years old. I am sorry he didn’t cost £55 million, so he can’t be good.”

In the 2020/1 Rob played 30 league games, three domestic cup games and five Europa League matches, as the defence totally reformed itself, reducing its level of tackling by almost 50%, and thus cutting down dramatically on fouls given away and yellow cards.

In 2021/22 the rearrangement of the defence reduced his level of appearances to 15 in the league and seven in the cups, taking him to a total of 169 games for Arsenal scoring four goals.

At the time of writing only three members of the first team squad at Arsenal have made more starts than Rob Holding: Xhaka, Bellerin and Leno.  The player with the most first team starts is David O’Leary with 681 starts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *