Rob Holding was brought into the Arsenal team for the match against West Ham United after Ben White suffered a hamstring injury against Manchester United, scoring the opener from a corner.
It was just his twelfth Premier League appearance of the season having signed a new deal with the club last year until 2024 with the option of a further year.
Arsenal have called upon Rob Holding in a number of crucial games this season to help them see out matches from point-scoring positions.
He was introduced at Anfield in the League Cup semi-final first leg and managed to see out a 0-0 draw despite the Gunners being down to ten men after Granit Xhaka was sent off.
He also came off the bench with Arsenal winning 1-0 and again down to ten men and helped keep a clean sheet.
This win could prove pivotal in the top four race come the end of the season.
Despite the start at West Ham just his sixth of the season, Holding has received praise from his manager and put on committed performances.
Mikel Arteta spoke after his man of the match performance in east London to highlight how deserving he is of more game time that he cannot currently provide him.
“We showed incredible spirit because when we could play the way we wanted to play we had to find a way to play the way they prefer. We adapted. You have to find a way to win all the time to win – forcing mistakes, being brilliant, digging in, clean sheets,” said Arteta.
“I am really happy, especially for Rob Holding as he hasn’t played the amount of minutes he deserves. He was man of the match today. He is always there when we need him.”
Another Arsenal defender worthy of minutes on the Gunners pitch is William Saliba.
The Frenchman sent on loan to Saint Etienne before a difficult 2020/21 season ended with a six-month loan to Nice after suffering in the under 23s team.
He has flourished this season with Marseille and grown a sizeable following of Arsenal supporters despite not making a senior competitive appearance.
Saliba was initially frustrated and vocal in the media during his time with Nice.
He has matured this season and has spoken recently about the possibility of being a rotation option for Arsenal next season.
“Of course, I can’t be happy on Arsenal’s bench. I want to play as a starter. Afterwards, if I enter the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like being in the U23s and never being in the squad,” he said.
This is the attitude that Arteta will be looking for from the player.
Is Saliba good enough to start for Arsenal? Not yet, few 20-year-old defenders would be when Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White are the current starters.
The potential is there for him to compete and try to displace one of the duo.
Like Holding, he needs to show Arteta at Arsenal that he is deserving of these chances.
He will have to accept that they may not come immediately next season should he stay, but with Europa League football, minimum, now guaranteed, there will be plenty of opportunities to show the Arsenal manager what he is capable of.