Arsene Wenger explains why Rob Holding didn’t play against Stoke

By on August 21, 2017


Arsene Wenger has confirmed he left Rob Holding out of Arsenal’s defeat away to Stoke City at the weekend due to a lack of confidence.

Holding started during our Community Shield win over Chelsea and was handed a start against Leicester City for our Premier League opener against Leicester City.

It’s safe to say the 21-year-old didn’t have his best day at the office but he certainly wasn’t the only one who under-performed as we had to come from behind to secure a late 4-3 victory.

Holding was then surprisingly left out of the entire squad for Saturday’s trip to the Britannia Stadium with Shkodran Mustafi coming in to the back three alongside Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac.

It looks like Holding was affected by his poor display at the Emirates as Wenger has now revealed that the young defender was dropped for the Stoke game because he lost some confidence following the Leicester clash.

I’m sorry, I just don’t buy this excuse. These are professional footballers we’re talking about. Holding may only be starting out his career but are you telling me he really wasn’t in a position to play on Saturday because of his low confidence?

I don’t for one minute think Rob asked not to be selected so this is on Wenger. Sometimes a young player needs to be taken out of the firing line if he’s in a run of poor form but Holding only had one bad game!

Maybe if Koscielny was available Wenger could justify giving Holding a breather but the managers decision to leave him out on Saturday meant we played a make-shift defence with a left-back playing in the middle of the back three.

Predictably it was a disaster and Monreal was [partially] at fault for Stoke’s winning goal and I know I’m not the only Arsenal supporter who thinks we’d have got something from that game if Wenger had put out a ‘proper’ defence.

Even if he didn’t want to play Holding, there is no reason Mertesacker shouldn’t have started in the middle of a back three alongside Mustafi and Monreal this weekend.

That would have allowed Kolasinac to play in his preferred left wing-back position and we’d actually have fielded a team of players who were playing in their proper positions.

But no, Arsene goes with a back three consisting of two left-backs, a right-back playing left wing-back and a midfielder playing at right wing-back. It was a mess and the worst part was it was avoidable if Wenger had just picked the right team.

Rant over.


  1. James

    August 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Spot on, playing Monreal and Kolasinac at centre back is ridiculous, especially when Holding and Chambers are fit and Mertesacker presumably was as well as he made the bench. Welbeck needs to be dropped, too, that header that came of his shoulder was typical of him, Walcott or Iwobi would be more effective.

    • chris

      August 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm


  2. Gunner26

    August 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Agree with everything you mentioned, James, except playing Walcott. I feel Walcott is not good enough too. Giroud should have started with Lackezette. Give them a chance to play together. Wenger should use formations according to the players he has. 4-3-1-2 would have been better.

    • MacDonald

      August 21, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      I also disagree concerning Walcott, you are chasing a game with 15mins to go and you brought in a a striker but he never made contact with the ball till the march ended, Walcott should have been first in the list of departures,cos I rate Perez,iwobi,and Campbell ahead of him,I the manager has the blame for road selection on the backline,lastly I think xhaka need to be dropped for elneny he will really do a better job protecting the defense with Ramsey dropping deep to help him with creativity from deep, I think elneny is the only option we have to give the team balance,bcos coquelin doesn’t deserve wearing an arsenal jersey after what hazard did to him,

  3. kelvin

    August 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    From Wenger selection of Stoke match it makes one to feel if he sold the game

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