Rob Holding

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Report: Granit Xhaka named permanent Arsenal captain

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According to a report by David Ornstein of the BBC, Arsenal coach Unai Emery has named midfielder Granit Xhaka as permanent captain, a position that had been vacant since Laurent Koscielny‘s departure this summer.

The Frenchman had held the position since early 2016 when handed the armband by Arsene Wenger with Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta both in the twilight of their Arsenal careers.

Emery has notably dragged out deciding on who to name as permanent captain despite handing Xhaka the armband in six of their eight matches to this point. Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil have also both served as captain once, both coming with Xhaka out of the lineup, although Monreal has since departed the club. Ornstein reports that a vice-captain has not yet been chosen, with strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both in consideration.

Xhaka, who turns 27 years old today, is considered to be a contentious choice by Emery given his up and down performances for the club since joining from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2016. His first season was dreadful, with the midfielder twice sent off in his first season of Premier League play. He had raised his level of performance since, proving an important piece of the puzzle last season, but early this season his performances have again dipped, with Gunner fans voicing their displeasure on his withdrawal on 72 minutes in the narrow win over Aston Villa.

Defender Rob Holding confirmed after the Villa win that Emery has presented a group of five players to the rest of the squad to be voted on. “He likes his five captains,” Holding said. “We all did a vote the other week so we’ll see what happens and see who gets named. It was just a case of writing names down and then giving them to the manager and he will go through them – obviously with his input – and we’ll see what happens.”

Holding called it a “good environment” with a lot of players able to “get more input.” He also pointed out David Luiz as someone who has taken up a sort of leadership role.

Emery: Arsenal targeting League Cup success; Injured trio shines

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Unai Emery is targeting silverware one way or another, and is pleased that Arsenal pumped Nottingham Forest 5-0 on Tuesday at the Emirates Stadium.

Teen striker Gabriel Martinelli scored twice, and Reiss Nelson, Rob Holding, and Joe Willock also scored as Arsenal cruised into the fourth round and saw a rival exit the competition.

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“We played on Sunday but we want to do something important in this competition,” Emery said, via the BBC. “This was a very good opportunity to play with different players and those who didn’t play much in the last match. Nottingham Forest are playing well in the Championship and we had to use our capacity.”

It was a feel-good night for Arsenal, with Holding scoring after a year-long injury layoff, and Hector Bellerin returning to the field for the first time when he took the place of Kieran Tierney… who was making his Arsenal debut after injury.

“It has been a long process with a lot of long days in the gym,” Holding said. “I couldn’t have written it better myself, how it panned out was just brilliant.”

Bellerin assisted on Willock’s goal in his first action since January.

Holding set to return from injury for Arsenal

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Rob Holding is set to return for Arsenal at Nottingham Forest this week.

The Gunners travel to Forest in the League Cup on Tuesday, with Holding back in the squad after nine months out through injury.

Arsenal simply said Holding is “back in contention” for the third round League Cup tie and alongside the likes of Kieran Tierney,  Dinos Mavropano and Hector Bellerin playing for the U23 side last Friday, all of a sudden there is good news in terms of defensive injuries for Arsenal.

Alexandre Lacazette is still out after injuring his left ankle, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is suspended after his red card against Aston Villa on Sunday. Lacazette is expected to return in October, as Arsenal’s injury woes are clearing up.

Holding, 24, was in sensational form last season before he cruelly suffered a serious knee injury in a Premier League game against Manchester United in December.

This will be a huge boost for Unai Emery, as his defense continues to make basic errors and they’ve now given up 10 goals in their first six games of the new PL season.

Sokratis and David Luiz have looked shaky as a partnership and if Holding can regain his form quickly, he will be a guaranteed starter in this Arsenal side.

Before injury cut short his 2018-19 campaign, Holding was being touted as an England international.

The dominant center back will want to make up for lost time and his presence at the heart of Arsenal’s defense saw them go on a 22-game unbeaten run in the opening months of last season.

Following their battling 3-2 win with 10 men for over half of their clash against Aston Villa on Sunday, Arsenal sit in fourth place on 11 points. Considering all of their issues so far, that’s not a bad start.

They have conceded at least twice in each of their last four PL games, and Holding’s return should help them improve their woeful defensive record.

His injury had a negative impact last season, and his return should have a hugely positive impact this season.

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.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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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.