Liverpool veteran explains how Rob Holding can deliver more solid performances after the defender shines against Southampton.
Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp looked quite impressed by Rob Holding against Southampton. Arsenal displayed a clinical performance in their 2-0 win away to Southampton. This was Arsenal’s first win since the Premier League’s resumption after the lockdown.
This was also Arsenal’s first clean sheet since the restart after poor defensive performances in the last two games. The center-back pair of Mustafi and Holding were solid as they contained the attacking threat of Southampton’s Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond. Leno’s backup Emiliano Martinez was also solid in the goal of pulling some stunning saves.
Holding started the game and played full 90 minutes alongside Mustafi. But Redknapp thinks that regular starts for Holding can get the best out of him. Redknapp wants Arteta to trust the defender and find a proper partner in the defense for him.
Rather than rotating the center-backs game after game, Arteta must find a stick to a solid defensive pair, thinks Jamie. Moreover, Pablo Mari is going to miss the rest of the season, which leaves Arteta with just 4 first team center-backs.
Redknapp Feels Holding Will Perform Best Provided He Gets A Center-Back ‘Partner’
Jamie Redknapp who is now a pundit at Sky Sports:
“He (Holding) needs a partner. It’s obvious that Arteta is not sure about other center-backs. He mixes and matches. That does not when you are playing week-in week-out.”
Jamie further gave the perfect example of Gunners’ legend Sol Campbell.
You need partnerships. Sol (Campbell) had a partner playing alongside him which makes the team better. You need a partner, especially at center-back. That’s where it is most important to get used to, when they are going to make a mistake, reading situations. That’s why Sol played on such a top-level.
William Saliba Could Be The Answer To Redknapp’s Advice
Jamie’s advice could be implemented next season by Arteta when their loan loanee William Saliba returns from Saint-Etienne. The center-back has consistently given impressive performances at Saint-Etienne. The Gunners bought him from the French side and loaned him back to them. Saliba has made 17 appearances for the French side this season.
Saliba could be a decent partner for Holding in the defense for Arteta. But given his age of 19-years-old, he may lack the consistency and maturity to start every game for Arsenal. But here comes the role of Arsenal’s senior defenders Mustafi and Sokratis to help settle Saliba with their experience. Mustafi and Sokratis may both stay for another year at Arsenal given they are included in Arteta’s plans. Even David Luiz unexpectedly signed a one-year extension.
But it all comes down to playing time, where Holding and Saliba need to play maximum minutes together. They will surely need time to read each other’s game and complement each other. Should Arteta trust the pair, Arsenal has a chance to achieve the solid defense which is missing since Mertesacker and Koscielny.
Arsenal now faces Sheffield United on Sunday as their quest for FA Cup resumes. The Gunners are the record holders of the cup and are now aiming at a 14th one. It remains to be seen what rotations Arteta makes and whether he starts Holding again.