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Rob Holding out for the season with a ruptured ACL

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The defender’s promising season is officially over

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Earlier today, Arsenal confirmed everybody’s worst fears regarding the injury suffered by Rob Holding in Arsenal’s ugly 2-2 midweek draw with Manchester United with the official announcement that the English defender had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Holding went down in the 36th minute while attempting to win a ball on the touchline during the match at Old Trafford. Almost immediately, he clutched his left knee and got off the pitch, clearly in noticeable pain. Shortly afterward, he was replaced by Stephan Lichsteiner and stretchered off into the locker room, a dire sight for the Arsenal faithful.

One can’t help but feel for the young Gunner. Holding had been in the midst of a great season, working his way into consistent playing time and establishing himself as a stalwart in Arsenal’s defensive rotation. He was crucial in continuing Arsenal’s run of 20 unbeaten matches while deputizing for an injured Sokratis, and had recently become a starter alongside Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi in a back three formation utilized in both the North London Derby victory and the draw at Old Trafford.

As the typical recovery timeline for an ACL injury is 6-9 months, Holding will have a long and unpleasant road ahead of him (not-so-fun fact: I suffered a torn ACL three years ago, and it was miserable). Holding had been easing many fans’ worries about the future of Arsenal’s defense with his rock solid performances, and hopefully this setback will not hinder his development. Knee injuries can be tricky, but he is benefited by being a young, elite athlete.

Question marks in the defense abound now that Holding is out for the foreseeable future. While there are obvious concerns about the defense as it stands (back three vs back four, who steps up in his absence, etc.), this poses a more pressing question: does this injury force Arsenal into making a defensive purchase in the winter transfer window? With the rash of injuries and the lack of depth, Arsenal may have to consider fortifying the roster ahead of the second half of the season.

We at the Short Fuse wish Holdini a speedy and healthy recovery and will continue to update this story as news develops.