Kevin Campbell has claimed that former manager George Graham would’ve hauled off Rob Holding during the first-half after his performance during the loss to Aston Villa.
The former Bolton Wanderers man was at fault for the first goal after gifting space to Ollie Watkins in the penalty area after Bertrand Traore’s cross into the box.
Speaking on The Highbury Squad podcast, the former Gunners man laid into the English centre-half for his display against the Villains.
Campbell said: “Let me tell you something. If George Graham was the manager, he might have taken Rob Holding off. Cedric does a bad short pass to Gabriel, but remember, they are not in on goal. Traore has the upper hand on Gabriel because he is all of a sudden caught in between.”
“Here’s the problem. Rob Holding marks the space and not the player. This is the problem. If he was tight to Ollie Watkins, I can guarantee you that Ollie Watkins doesn’t score.”
I’d love to defend Holding given how consistent he has been in the shower of underwhelming performances among the Arsenal first team, however, Campbell is right.The 25-year-old had a shocking afternoon against the likes of Watkins, who was turning him inside out during the entire encounter.
All in all, the former Brentford man had a staggering four shots on goal as he used Holding’s lack of pace to his advantage, pulling off the centre-half again and again.
But, you do need to add some context to the matter when speaking about his poor display. The £10.8m-rated’s struggles against the Villains was arguably his first bad performance in what has been an incredibly consistent season for the defender.
As a matter of fact, he’s been at the heart of Arsenal’s improved performances in defence with the Gunners having conceded the third-least amount of goals this campaign, behind just Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
Whilst criticising players for their errors is right, we need to make sure we don’t go overboard especially if they’ve been one of the best players at the club.