Arsenal’s defence has been a big joke of late with both fans and critics taking a dig at it. They managed to concede twice in two successive matches despite leading by a goal each time. The Gunners backline as a whole looked tremendously shaky and devoid of any confidence.
Surprisingly, reports have emerged that the Gunners are willing to loan out their fresh defensive recruit Rob Holding coming January with Wenger keen on the youth to gain some experience. The England Under-21 international has been one of the better signings for Arsenal so far and has been quite disciplined and impressive since his calamitous display on opening day against Liverpool.
He joined the Gunners from Bolton Wanderers in a £2.5million deal last summer and has often been thrown into the team amidst grave injury crises. His seven appearances have come in the domestic league, EFL Cup and in the UEFA Champions League, which reflects the trust Wenger has in him.
Of course, a number of lower Premier League clubs would love to have him given their defensive predicaments, but Wenger is apparently keen on letting him taste Championship football again. Regardless of his destination, leaving him at the moment doesn’t look like a prudent decision on the part of Wenger.
Hector Bellerin’s one-month absence had reduced Arsenal’s right flank to its bare bones. Wenger looked befuddled at his lack of options on that role and everyone was lamenting the decision to let Calum Chambers go out on loan. While Jenkinson looked far from a professional footballer since returning from injuries, Mathieu Debuchy limped off 15 minutes after he started quite brilliantly down that side.
Things looked despairing and critics even suggested playing Ainsley Maitland-Niles down that flank, when to everyone’s relief Gabriel held the mast steady till Bellerin’s return. Now that Mustafi is sidelined with an injury and Gabriel is floundering in the centre-back role, it is crystal clear that Wenger doesn’t have squad depth, where anyone could take up the task midway if the other fails.
Hence, leaving someone like Holding who has supreme ball intercepting qualities and is a far better carrier of the ball than Gabriel at the back, looks senseless. Holding has won 61% of his duels so far and has a passing accuracy of 79%. Loaning him out will result in depreciation of the Arsenal’s defensive depth.
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