Arsenal star Rob Holding shed light on an incident that occurred in the Premier League game against Liverpool at the end of last season, in an interview with The Telegraph.
The Englishman started on the right side of a three-man defence. He came face to face against Sadio Mane and apart from the goal that the Senegal star scored early in the first half, he was kept quiet by Holding.
The former Bolton man was involved in a slightly heated clash with Mane after a challenge. Liverpool players and staff had a go at the Arsenal man from the bench, and Holding claims that it ignited him, Alexandre Lacazette and the rest of the team to get the win.
He said: “There were words said, and Jurgen Klopp got involved. We were all giving each other a bit of stick. I remember it getting [Alexandre] Lacazette going, he got really hyper off it.”
“People were telling me to relax and keep my head, but I was fine. I don’t mind that. It was a little thing that ignited the team. And for me personally, it was important to do that, to stand up for myself.”
The ignition Holding talked about seemed to have worked. Arsenal came from behind to win 2-1, and Lacazette, who was apparently ‘really hyper’, scored one of the goals.
Arsenal Insider’s view:
If stats are anything to go by, Liverpool dominated us. They had 24 shots at goal compared to our three and maintained close to 70% possession. They completed over twice as many passes as we did and were far more accurate than us as well.
Our two goals – from Lacazette and Reiss Nelson – were both gifts after mistakes from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. Arsenal converted those chances and that proved to be enough to win the game.
The incident between Holding, Mane and Liverpool’s bench could certainly have played a huge part. Everyone expected Arsenal to lose that game but the spark they received from that exchange could well have given the players the boost they needed to hold on.