'Victim of the team’s success': Campbell thinks 25-year-old may struggle to get into Arsenal XI

Nathaniel Kay March 4, 2021
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell thinks defender Rob Holding will find it difficult to get back into the Gunners’ starting XI, speaking on the Highbury Squad

The 25-year-old sat out Arsenal’s 3-1 win at Leicester City on Sunday having picked up a knock in the previous game against Manchester City.

Holding had started 17 consecutive Premier League games before being left out for the 4-2 win against Leeds United on 14 February.

Until the past few weeks, the central defender’s performances had been largely lauded.

Unfortunately, following high-profile errors against Aston Villa and Manchester City, Holding became recognised for the wrong reasons and was dropped. 

Head-scratcher for Holding

Campbell agrees with Arteta’s decision to drop Holding and believes it will be difficult for the Englishman to get back in the side.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a fact of no love. After these games, the coaching staff and the manager go back and dissect the game.

“When they start looking at the goals conceded, (against) Aston Villa you look at Holding. Manchester City, you look at Holding.”

And Campbell thinks Arteta and his back-room staff will be happy to try different options to Holding at the moment.

He said: “It might be something they are looking at thinking ‘let’s change it and see how it goes’. Let’s pair Luiz with Gabriel. Let’s pair Luiz with Pablo Mari and see how that goes.

“You can’t give teams a leg up. Unfortunately, that’s kind of crept into Rob Holding’s game a little bit.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“Sometimes when you’re in the team and the team hasn’t been doing well, and then you get out and the team starts doing well, you’ve got problems.

“How do you get back in? You’re a victim of the team’s success.”

Centre-back choices

Along with the Leicester triumph, Holding also missed Arsenal’s thrilling Europa League win against Benfica.

For the two victories, Arteta used Pablo Mari and Gabriel respectively at centre-back next to David Luiz.

The combination of Luiz and Mari worked well against the Foxes as they contained the threat of Jamie Vardy all afternoon.

Arteta may decide that’s his first-choice centre-back pairing for the rest of the campaign. And that will be a worry for Holding with the European Championship on the horizon.