FA Cup: Rob Holding excelled in Arsenal’s back three

Due to the big-money arrivals of some of his higher-profile team-mates last summer, Rob Holding’s move to Arsenal has gone largely unnoticed by the wider Premier League audience.

In fairness, opportunities to impress have been limited with twelve thus far across all competitions, but on the whole, the young Englishman has taken them to ensure he retains a place in Arsene Wenger’s long-term thinking.

Holding was part of the side that claimed a vital win over Middlesbrough last week but his most significant performance for the Gunners came on Sunday, as the north London outfit progressed to the final of the FA Cup with a closely contested 2-1 victory over Premier League rivals Manchester City.

Of course, hyping up a young player too soon is a recurring curse in the English game. But considering he was playing in a Bolton team that was heading for League One at this time last year, the 21-year-old’s display against City – the fourth-most potent side in the Premier League this term – once nothing short of fantastic.

As our infographic shows, Holding contributed heavily defensively, making the most clearances of any player on the pitch whilst chipping in with two tackles, one interception and one vital block. But it’s perhaps the former Wanderers youngster’s quality in possession that made him so effective on the left of Arsenal’s back three – and suggests he’s got a bright future ahead at top level.

Indeed, Holding finished up with the fourth-most touches of any Arsenal player and the most touches of any Arsenal defender, whilst completing four successful dribbles – never an easy task against a high-pressing Pep Guardiola side in a semi-final at Wembley.

With Wenger seemingly set on deploying a 3-4-3 until the end of the season, Holding included, the youngster has a fantastic chance in the coming weeks to show he must be a Gunners regular for 2017/18.