Tony Adam’s recently spoke on Sky Sports about Arsenal’s continuing defensive woes and suggested that Rob Holding might be the answer. If Adam’s is right, then it’s a rarity, considering that his managerial suggestions have gone the wrong way so far.
He has failed in every appointment since his retirement and his brash, unforgiving coaching style, hardly makes him an authority on players potential at the highest level.
Yet he was a dependable performer for Arsenal and a fine Captain, exacting standards from himself and others that perhaps was more than they were actually capable of individually.
Often referred to, rather unfairly, as ‘Donkey Adams’ he had a burning desire to achieve at all costs and gave everything he had for the team. So perhaps, his advice this time around is valid regarding Rob Holding. As a defender, who better to judge and argue the youngster’s cause.
As per Mirror, Adams had this to say:
“If I was a new coach coming in, I would have made us tougher and harder to beat.”
He said of the young defender:
“I like Holding. He has got talent and potential. Stick him in and work with him”
that’s probably a luxury Emery can’t afford having already seen his team ship eight goals in four matches but some involvement, even as a substitute might be beneficial.
Holding arrived at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger in 2016 and was given an immediate opportunity to take up the central defender role. He appeared to settle reasonably well and fans liked his enthusiasm and passion. Yes, he showed signs of inexperience but how is a player to learn their craft without exposure at the top level.
Adams is right in this respect and if another opportunity comes his way, Holding will have to grasp it firmly with both hands. In the FA cup final against Chelsea in 2017. Holding stood firm against the aggressive, mauling style of Diego Costa. It was a contest which saw the pair constantly clashing and it was Holding who caught the eye, goading the Brazilian born striker.
The then 21-year-old repeatedly tapped his own temple on one occasion, suggesting Costa was crazy. It was thought, by many, to be a pivotal moment and one that announced Holding’s arrival but instead he seemed to fall out of favour with Arsene Wenger.
The problem with Tony Adams solution to Arsenal’s defensive problems is that it appears to rest on the shoulders of someone who has yet to secure a regular place in the first team. Even if he is right and Holding begins to play out of his skin, there’s no guarantee that he would perform any better with the likes of Mustafi, Koscielny, Mavropanos or Sokratis in the central defender role.
The teams inability to defend as a collective bunch has been evident for years and Emery is trying to resolve that particular failing. It’s naive to think that this will be resolved quickly because Arsene Wenger had been working on that aspect for over ten seasons.
Arsenal are clearly in the process of rebuilding and it may take two seasons to do it. There are no quick fix solutions but that’s not to say that Holding, could potentially be a crucial part of that journey. The former Gunners Captain also suggested the inclusion of Stephan Lichtsteiner who has yet to make an appearance.
This is something of a genuine mystery because he gave a decent account of himself in the recent World Cup and time isn’t exactly on his side at the age of 34. The only possible explanation is that he was acquired to provide cover for Bellerin in case of injury. Adams has recently carved out a niche for himself with a series of controversial statements and he seems slightly bitter that the North London club hasn’t come calling. There’s probably a good reason for that.
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