While it was not a vintage Arsenal performance this weekend versus Watford, it was the Gunners’ seventh straight victory in all competitions. It’s hard to argue and find fault when a team not performing at its best still manages to grind out results.
Even better is when players on the periphery of the first team get a chance and prove they can make a difference. Case in point is 23-year-old centre-back Rob Holding and 22-year-old forward Alex Iwobi.
Holding joined Arsenal from Bolton in 2016 and has been a bit player since then. He has been given a chance recently due to injuries to first choice Laurent Koscielny and newcomer Sokratis.
Holding was solid and composed versus Brentwood in Carabao Cup play earlier this week. Today he put in a performance some viewed as worthy of being named Man of the Match. The defender held his own against the strength of Watford’s Troy Deeney and the speed of Andre Gray. Overall, he made nine recoveries, seven clearances, had three interceptions and made one block. Holding’s solid displays this week will most likely be rewarded with more playing time.
Your man of the match, Rob Holding! pic.twitter.com/dSKTldoVzs— Lacazest (@Lacazest) September 29, 2018
Then there’s Iwobi. Many fans were calling for the player to be sent packing last season. This year it’s been a different story. The Nigerian replaced Aaron Ramsey in the 63rd minute of what was a scoreless contest. The change paid dividends within twenty minutes.
His pass down the right hand side to Alexandre Lacazette ended up in the back of the net as Watford’s Craig Cathcart scored an own goal after 81 minutes.
Just two minutes later Iwobi found Lacazette again who set up Mesut Ozil for Arsenal’s second.
Following the match Holding declared that the Gunners have developed a “winning mentality” under Unai Emery.
Regarding his new manager, Holding added, “He said when he came in that he wanted to bring a winning mentality and I think you get that from wins and you go into each game confident. We’re physically fit and we know that we can go and get the result.”
What did you think of the team’s performance against Watford?