‘Cajones’ was the prevailing soundbite from Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday, having been accused of possessing an abundant lack of by Hornets skipper Troy Deeney after losing the reverse fixture earlier this season – a surprise 2-1 defeat at Vicarage Road. His argument is hardly unheard of in regards to the north London club, suggesting the Gunners are often held back by their own soft core.
Seemingly buoyed by their 2-0 win over AC Milan in midweek though, which has given Arsene Wenger a vital chance to end the season on a positive note with Champions League qualification, Arsenal were certainly up for the physical challenge Watford presented them with at the Emirates Stadium, particularly at the heart of defence which has often been the Gunners’ ropiest department.
Indeed, Shkodran Mustafi rose highest at an early corner to head home Arsenal’s first goal after just eight minutes, while the defender alongside him – youngster Rob Holding – provided a combative, aggressive and physical presence that the Gunners have disappointingly lacked during key moments of their season.
The 22-year-old – who Transfermarkt value at £6.3million – weighed in with the joint-most clearances, the most interceptions and the second-most aerial duels of any Arsenal player, while making one tackle and blocking one shot in an impressive defensive display for a prospect with just 17 Premier League appearances under his belt.
Arsenal welcome AC Milan to the Emirates Stadium later this week for the reverse leg of their Europa League tie. So after such an impressive performance, should Holding keep his place in the starting XI? Let us know by voting below…