Arsenal’s Rob Holding is expected to return after the September international break, according to football.london.
According to the publication, the defender is making some encouraging progress from the knee injury he suffered last December in the 2-2 draw away at Manchester United.
Some Gooners developed a theory that the Englishman could be involved in Sunday’s North London derby after he missed Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy match against Northampton Town.
However, that was shot down by football.london who believe that Holding is not expected to play a part until after the international break.
A return for one of Arsenal’s central defenders is much needed for Unai Emery, who has seen his side struggle to keep the hatchet closed at the back. Arsenal conceded a mammoth 51 goals last season and could be on the way to repeating that, conceding four goals in the opening three Premier League games thus far.
There also remains the small matter of the dwindling options at centre-half. Laurent Koscielny has already made the move back to his homeland for a mere £5m, while Shkodran Mustafi has yet to make the matchday squad so far this season, with his father and agent expecting him to leave the club. Meanwhile, young Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos is still out with a groin injury, and is not expected to return to training until at least October.
That leaves just three fit senior centre-backs at Arsenal, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz and Calum Chambers all vying for a starting place, hence the necessity to get Holding back to full fitness.
Holding had a solid campaign before his injury last season, going unbeaten in all 16 of the games he played in (via Transfermarkt). The 23-year-old also made the fourth-most clearances and the third-most blocks, despite missing more than half a season (via WhoScored).
His impact is clear to see, and a return to full fitness would be a big boost for an Arsenal defence that imploded in the second half of last week’s game at Anfield.
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