Rob Holding

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Arsenal’s Rob Holding ruptures ACL

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Arsenal have confirmed that center back Rob Holding ruptured his ACL during their 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Wednesday.

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Holding, 23, went down clutching his left knee after a collision with Marcus Rashford in the first half of the game at Old Trafford and he will now undergo surgery to repair the damage.

The Bolton Wanderers product has been in sensational form in recent months under new Arsenal boss Unai Emery, with some calling for him to get a call-up to the England squad.

Per a statement released by the club, it is expected that Holding will be out for between 6-9 months.

“Rob will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months. Everyone at the club will now be working as hard as we can to ensure Rob is back on the pitch as soon as possible.”

This is a cruel blow for Holding, and Arsenal, as Emery’s side have sorted out a settled back line in recent weeks and have improved defensively throughout the season under their new manager.

Holding’s ability to play out from the back and push on into midfield has been a main reason why Emery hasn’t missed the injured Laurent Koscielny. But as luck would have it for Arsenal, their captain and French star has just returned to full fitness after rupturing his Achilles at the end of last season and he will likely fill the void caused by Holding’s injury.

Koscielny, Mustafi and Sokratis will now be their go-to back three between now and the end of the season, as Holding’s promising 2018-19 campaign is all but over.

Merciless Arsenal pound Spurs

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  • Two penalties in first 34′
  • Dier nods in free kick
  • Spurs lead 2-1 at break
  • Torreira a force, scores late
  • Gunner out-attempt Spurs 22-10
  • Shots on target: Arsenal 7-6

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice and Arsenal scored three-straight second half goals to bury rivals Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Lucas Torreira and Alexandre Lacazette also scored in the North London Derby win, sending Arsenal into the Top Four ahead of Spurs and a point back of Chelsea.

Harry Kane and Eric Dier scored as Spurs took a 2-1 lead after Aubameyang’s opener, but Tottenham never looked comfortable

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Jan Vertonghen conceded a penalty when he punched a ball well above his head inside the Spurs box, and Aubameyang left little doubt with his low drive to the right of Hugo Lloris.

The concession spurred Spurs to life, with Heung-Min Son earning a corner with a close-range drive at Bernd Leno.

Spurs made a pair of goal mouth clearances, with Alex Iwobi‘s 19th minute low drive the better of the two.

Son forced Leno into a second save in the 23rd minute.

Spurs silenced the home crowd with a 30th minute equalizer, as Dier nodded a Christian Eriksen free kick inside the near post.

Dier’s “shush” celebration, finger to mouth, inspired Arsenal substitute Stephane Lichtsteiner started a bit of a skirmish by getting into

Moments later, Kane smashed home his penalty after Son was caught by a wayward Rob Holding challenge and went down very easily to help sell it for Dean. The incident happened at breakneck speed, and replays showed contact from Holding’s slide.

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Aubameyang equalized with a phenomenal bit of 56th minute skill, taking a flick from Aaron Ramsey off of a curling pass from Hector Bellerin.

The moment reinvigorated the uneven Gunners, and Shkrodan Mustafi and Lucas Torreira each just missed bids to restore Arsenal’s lead.

Lacazette then scored as a super sub in the 75th minute, a giveaway from Juan Foyth allowing Ramsey to set-up the Frenchman for a shot that took a turn off Dier on the way past Lloris. 3-2.

Torreira drove into the box to beat Lloris moments later, and Spurs were all but dead before Vertonghen collected his second yellow card.

WATCH/VOTE: Was Dean right to award PK to Spurs?

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Penalty or nah?

Arsenal has seen its early North London Derby lead turned on its head by an Eric Dier goal and Harry Kane penalty during a wild and proper derby day at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

[ STREAM: The North London Derby ]

The flashpoint, however, was Heung-Min Son‘s actions in winning the decisive penalty late in the first half.

Lively throughout the half, Spurs’ South Korea forward dribbled into the 18 and went down when Rob Holding went sliding through with a challenge and appeared to have made contact with Son’s foot.

Son hit the deck hard, and referee Mike Dean came out of his shell had no problem pointing to the spot.

Was it a penalty? Watch the video, and vote below:

Puel, Schmeichel fume at referee after Leicester loss to Arsenal

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While the world looked on at the performance by Mesut Ozil in awe, Leicester City manager Claude Puel and Foxes goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel were left stewing after the match at a first-half decision which they believed changed the game completely.

Had the referee awarded a penalty for a Rob Holding handball in the first half with Leicester City up 1-0, the game would likely have turned out very differently. Holding, already on a yellow card, would have likely been sent off and Leicester City would have a chance from the spot to go up 2-0.

“I think [the first half was] our best half since the beginning of the season,” Puel said after the match. “We deserved to score more goals and make the difference in the first half. I didn’t understand why the referee didn’t whistle for the penalty, because in this moment it was a penalty, it was a second yellow card and so a sending off for the Arsenal player. This situation can change the finality of the game.”

Puel said that once the call was not made, and Arsenal was able to equalize before the break, Leicester City’s level of play dropped enough for the Gunners to pounce.

“I regret a little our beginning of the second half. We lost a lot of balls and we gave them the ball too easily to put us under pressure, but we have had the chances to score and to be leading in the game with the header from Ndidi. A lot of regret in this game because we showed a lot of quality and we were not lucky with the refereeing decision.”

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was in agreement with his manager about the key first-half decision. “We got no help from the official,” Schmeichel said. “I’ve never seen a clearer penalty. It’s tough to take because we were so good in the first half but in the second we’ve got to do a lot better than we did.”

At halftime, the replay showed the ball clearly hitting Holding’s forearm while above his head. However, the NBC studio crew argued that the penalty was not called because Holding’s arm was hit into the ball by the Leicester City attacker who attempted a header, and that although his arm was above his head, it was not in an unnatural position due to the natural human instinct to balance the body while jumping into the air.

Wenger reveals extent of Mustafi’s injury, timetable for return

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4 — the number of Premier League games Arsenal will play between now and the turn of the New Year. 0 — games for which the Gunners will have standout center back Shkodran Mustafi after the German international picked up a “bad” hamstring injury on Saturday.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Leicester shock Man City; Arsenal go top ]

Mustafi (12 starts), who alongside Laurent Koscielny (14 starts) has anchored one of the PL’s stingiest defenses this season (15 goals conceded in 15 games — 3rd-fewest after Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea), is expected to miss at least three weeks after leaving Saturday’s comeback victory over Stoke City after just 25 minutes, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger — quotes from

“It’s a bad one. He had nothing in midweek. I would not have played him today (if he had). I had Hector Bellerin on the bench. I could have played Holding or Gabriel. He wanted to play in Basel, because he said ‘no it’s nothing’, and it was completely clear. I checked three times and there was no problem for. I don’t know why it happened, but it looks a ‘good’ hamstring strain.”

“Look, the minimum when you go out like that is 21 days. After that, today is December 10, so you are 21 days, that means he’ll have a nice Christmas.”

Gabriel Paulista seems the most likely candidate to replace Mustafi at center back, though the Brazilian has endured an injury-plagued season of his own (just three appearances in the PL) and found himself on the outside looking in thus far. 21-year-old Rob Holding started the first three PL games of the season, but hasn’t appeared in a league game since Aug. 27.