Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane has shared his thoughts on Arsenal defender Rob Holding getting sent off in the North London Derby on May 12. He opines that the return of Ben White from injury could've affected Holding's decision-making in the game.
The Englishman was sent off for two yellow cards in the first half of the derby in the Premier League. He first wrestled Son Heung-Min to the ground and later raised his arm to stop the South Korean. With Arsenal already 1-0 down at that point, they ended up losing the match 3-0.
White, meanwhile, stayed on the bench after returning to the squad after an injury he picked up in the 3-1 win over Manchester United in April. In his absence, Holding has played in defence alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.
Keane believes White's return could be the reason behind Holding's lack of composure against Tottenham. He said on Sky Sports (via The Boot Room):
“Do you think that maybe because of Ben White coming back into the fold, that maybe he was thinking about that. To be fair to him, he’s done very well in the last five games. Maybe just with White in the background, he’s thinking ‘I need to put a show on here to show the manager’. Maybe that’s just got to him a bit.”
Arsenal hope to overcome injury scare in remaining fixtures
After losing the derby, Arsenal's lead in the fourth spot in the Premier League over Tottenham has reduced to just a point. With just two games remaining, manager Mikel Arteta's men still hold the advantage. However, they have had some injury issues in an already thin squad.
Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney are unlikely to feature again this season. White returned to the bench against Tottenham, so he might play in the starting XI in the next match. Gabriel, though, went off in the derby after what seemed like a hamstring injury.
Holding's two yellow cards mean he won't feature in the next game as well.
Arsenal travel to St. James' Park on May 16 to face Newcastle United. Arteta will hope to have Gabriel back by then. They cannot afford to drop another point in their last two games as they look to return to the UEFA Champions League in five years.