Ian Wright has defended Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding, claiming that criticism of him is unfair and that some of his team-mates are to blame for the Gunners’ slump. Holding has been scapegoated for Arsenal’s dip in form, with the club’s Premier League title charge taking a serious hit after four straight games without a win. Since Holding came into the side in place of injured centre-back William Saliba, Arsenal have failed to keep a single clean sheet across their last six fixtures. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Roy Keane have both criticised Holding, with Agbonlahor calling him a ‘Championship defender’ and Keane branding him as ‘very slow’ and a weak link in the team.
Wright spoke about his former club on The Kelly & Wrighty Show, saying: ‘You have to question something, because something has gone wrong. When you look at the players, someone like William Saliba is a massive miss. It’s very unfortunate what is happening to Rob Holding because a lot of people have been making mistakes at Arsenal in the last few games. For some reason, simply because Rob Holding has come in to fill the gap of William Saliba – which is very tough – he’s getting a lot of stick, which is unfair. I think Arsenal and other certain players have dropped their standards which makes mistakes but for some reason you blame Rob Holding.’
Wright went on to say that Saliba’s injury has had a major impact on Arsenal’s dynamic of playing out from the back, and that the club are considering a bid for Crystal Palace star Marc Guehi amid their concerns over the long-term fitness of Saliba.