Arsenal told they can't win titles with Rob Holding at the back as Emmanuel Petit also claims Fabio Vieira signing was a 'mistake'

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Rob Holding Arsenal 2022-23
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Arsenal can't win titles with Rob Holding in defence, says Emmanuel Petit, who also claims the signing of Fabio Vieira was a "mistake".
  • Saliba remains unavailable with a back injury
  • Holding manning defence in Saliba's absence
  • Petit singled out Holding for Arsenal's defensive woes

WHAT HAPPENED? Arsenal ceded control of the Premier League title race after following up three draws with a 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium to Manchester City. Holding, who has struggled in defence since coming in as a replacement for the injured William Saliba, was taken to the cleaners by Erling Haaland and Petit believes the Gunners won't have any chance of winning trophies if the defender continues to start. The Frenchman also claimed Holding's shaky performances have affected Gabriel Magalhaes' "confidence" in the heart of the defence, which in turn has impacted the rest of the team in a negative fashion.

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WHAT THEY SAID: “I don’t want to criticise Holding, he puts in a lot of effort and has done his very best, but if you want to win titles I think it’s difficult for Holding to play every game as he’s been required recently," Petit told

“I can see Gabriel doesn’t have the same confidence when he plays with Holding, he looks like a different defender. Defensively Arsenal are not as strong when Saliba and Gabriel do not play together, it impacts the rest of the team, and they don’t play the same way. [Ben] White and [Oleksandr] Zinchenko don’t attack enough when Saliba isn’t there. It affects them mentally and with their confidence, they miss him when he’s not there."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Petit also questioned the acquisition of Fabio Vieira from Porto for £30 million (€35m), suggesting the Portuguese midfielder is too "lightweight" to be effective in the Premier League.

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"I don’t think Fabio Vieira has shown as of yet, that he is the right level to play for Arsenal. When he signed I thought to myself ‘this guy looks very lightweight for the Premier League’. I don’t think he’s ready for the Premier League physically and mentally," the former Arsenal star added.

"You can also say that he’s struggled not getting consistent game time and when you compare him to Emile Smith-Rowe, who I think has a future with Arsenal, he’s not the same. Respectfully, I think it was perhaps a mistake signing Vieira."


William Saliba Arsenal injured vs Sporting 2022-23

Fabio Vieira Arsenal on ground 2022-23

Rob Holding Arsenal 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Arsenal will return to action against Chelsea on Tuesday in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium.