Arsenal legend Petit ‘not a big fan’ of Gunners defender – ‘I think he is too soft’

Will Ford
Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit speaks into the microphone

Rob Holding is yet to convince former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who claims the centre-back is “too soft”.

Holding had been limited to brief substitute appearances in the Premier League before the 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, when he came in to replace William Saliba, who was injured in the midweek Europa League defeat to Sporting Lisbon.

That game also cost Arsenal Takehiro Tomiyasu, who now requires knee surgery, and could have come in for Saliba, with Ben White moving to centre-back.

It’s not yet clear how long Saliba will be out of action for, but Holding will likely have to play a significant role in the weeks to come.

Petit won’t be buoyed by that news as he reckons the 27-year-old centre-back is “too soft”.

“Rob Holding, I am not a big fan of him, to be honest,” Petit said on Premier League Productions before Arsenal’s victory over Crystal Palace. “I think he is too soft, as a defender.

“It’s such as shame also to see [Takehiro] Tomiyasu injured. I would have preferred to have Tomiyasu at right-back and Ben White as a central defender.”

Arsenal are eight points clear of Manchester City as we head into the international break and will resume their Premier League title challenge against Leeds on April 1st.

And Petit believes this Arsenal team can handle the pressure and claim their first league title since 2004.

“This is one of the youngest teams in the Premier League but they are handling the pressure perfectly,’ he said after Arsenal thumped managerless Palace.

“I’m confident they will do that until the end of the season. I don’t think they will fail under the pressure, I’m pretty sure they will handle it.”

After the win over Palace, Arteta said his players need to keep the “same mindset” when they return from international duty.

Arteta said: “It feels very good [being eight points clear], especially with the way we have played and the results we have picked up. Now we must stop and make sure everyone comes back from the internationals with the same mindset. We have Leeds next and we put the focus there.”

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