Arsenal: Wright rues Arteta’s ‘unfair’ treatment of defender; calls for Gunners ‘artist’ to play more

Ian Wright thinks Mikel Arteta’s recent treatment of Arsenal defender Rob Holding has been “unfair” as he deserved to play against Chelsea.

Holding has barely featured for Arsenal this term as Arteta has preferred to use Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba as his two centre-backs when he has a full squad to choose from.

Gabriel and Saliba have formed a great partnership this season and they are likely to be Arsenal’s first-choice defenders for many years to come.

But with Saliba out injured, Holding came in to play alongside Gabriel and the Englishman has struggled in recent weeks. Martin Keown thinks the defender let Erling Haaland “strut around the pitch” during Man City’s 4-1 win over Arsenal last month.

Holding dropped to the bench for Arsenal’s midweek victory over Chelsea as January signing Jakub Kiwior was drafted in to start next to Gabriel.

Wright has now suggested that Arteta has been “a bit unfair on Holding”.

“I think [Arteta] has been a bit unfair on Rob Holding,” Wright said on Premier League Productions. “He is somebody who hasn’t had a lot of minutes. He was someone who came in to replace William Saliba – and he is fantastic.

“Yes, in certain instances, Rob has been done for pace. We have seen him isolated and it has caused a bit of a problem.

“I think it has been unfair, some of the stick he has got. But seeing Kiwior coming in. He has been there long enough to see what’s going on and to see what we are capable of. I think it’s good to bring him in. These are the games you want to see him in.”

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Former Chelsea midfielder Jorginho also joined Arsenal during the January transfer window. He was recruited for around £12m after Arteta’s side failed to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton.

Jorginho has proven to be an astute signing for Arsenal as his experience has been important in recent months.

The Italian has been in and out of the team in recent weeks but he was brought in for Thomas Partey for the win over Chelsea.

Wright would now “like to see Jorginho come into the team regularly” as he is “like an artist”.

“We have recruited well and the guys have come in and scored goals,” the Arsenal legend said via his Wrighty’s House podcast.

“Can I just say something about Jorginho. I would really like to see Jorginho come into the team regularly now.

“I’m sorry, the way he controls the game for us with [Oleksandr] Zinchenko in there as well, once it gets to [Martin] Odegaard, the man is like an artist, he’s beautiful.”

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