Mikel Arteta explains decision to bench Rob Holding for Arsenal vs Leeds

Mikel Arteta explains decision to bench Rob Holding for Arsenal vs Leeds

Arsenal vs Leeds

Arsenal are back in Premier League action very shortly, when they will play host to Leeds United.

The Gunners head into the tie no doubt desperate to end their mini dip in form.

Mikel Arteta’s men had of course been on a solid run until recently. But, after a questionable dismissal in their meeting with Wolves, went on to lose both at Molineux, and in their subsequent outing vs Aston Villa.

Such defeats have seen Arsenal slip down to 11th in the Premier League table.

The north Londoners are also now nine points adrift of a Champions League spot, with the majority of the sides above them boasting at least one game in hand.

As a result, if the Gunners have any hope of even securing a Europa League spot this term, they really need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.

Beating Leeds, however, is easier said than done. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been let down by some questionable defending this season, but they can give any side in the English top-flight a run for their money when it comes to attacking prowess.

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Why Holding was benched

So, Arsenal’s fans were no doubt keen to see a strong starting line-up unveiled an hour prior to kick-off.

And, in fairness, Mikel Arteta has fielded a fairly solid, attack-minded side, with Martin Odegaard handed his first start as a Gunner:

The Arsenal faithful, though, were also likely surprised to see a couple of players in particular only make the bench on Sunday.

The duo in question come in the form of Nicolas Pepe and Rob Holding. The latter has been one of the capital giants’ most consistent players this season, whilst Pepe appeared to finally be finding his best form in recent weeks.

In turn, speaking ahead of Leeds, Arteta appeared to provide an explanation for one of the two – Holding – being dropped to the bench.

When asked if the stopper was a bit unlucky to miss out, the Spaniard hinted that Holding is instead being rested for Arsenal’s meeting with Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday:

“Rob has played a lot of minutes, we have four games in 11 days and we’re going to have to rotate our players. So he’s played so many minutes already in this season, and we’re going to need him in the next games.”

And though Arteta didn’t specifically mention Pepe, it feels safe to assume that the same reason was behind the Ivorian being dropped to the bench on Sunday.

See also: Everton vs Fulham betting tips: Preview, predictions & odds

Chelsea vs Newcastle United betting tips: Preview, predictions & odds


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Leicester vs Arsenal Full time result
Leicester vs Arsenal Result/Both teams score Yes No
Leicester 15/4 10/3
Arsenal 9/2
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Jamie Vardy13/8 13/8 1/1
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang2/1 2/1 13/10
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Premier League table
# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 25 35 59
2 Manchester United FC 25 21 49
3 Leicester City FC 25 17 49
4 West Ham United FC 25 10 45
5 Chelsea FC 25 16 43
6 Liverpool FC 25 11 40
7 Everton FC 24 4 40
8 Aston Villa FC 23 11 36
9 Tottenham Hotspur FC 24 10 36
10 Leeds United 25 0 35
11 Arsenal FC 25 5 34
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 25 -6 33
13 Crystal Palace FC 25 -14 32
14 Southampton FC 25 -12 30
15 Burnley FC 25 -12 28
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 25 -6 26
17 Newcastle United FC 25 -17 25
18 Fulham FC 25 -11 22
19 West Bromwich Albion 25 -36 14
20 Sheffield United FC 25 -26 11
Premier League 20/21
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 15
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 13
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 11
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 8
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7