Gary Neville offered a scathing assessment of Rob Holding after the Arsenal defender was sent-off in the north London derby defeat.
The centre-half was dismissed following two yellow cards, the second of which came in the 33rd minute with Tottenham already ahead. It was a clash with Son Heung-min, scorer of Tottenham’s third, that eventually ended Holding’s night early. The forward made a darting run which was clearly blocked by the Arsenal man.
Holding has largely been used as cover in defence by Mikel Arteta. He has played in recent weeks in the absence of Ben White but struggled to cope with the Tottenham attack as the Gunners saw their top four hopes dented. Neville took aim at Holding as he was given his marching orders.
He said on commentary for Sky Sports : “What is he doing? What is he doing?! Oh my goodness. I’m watching the run from Son and he [Holding] has a jab with his elbow, it comes away from his body. He’s been erratic, rash, he’s lacked composure.
“It’s madness. Mikel Arteta has big problems now. His centre-back has caused him huge issues in the first 35 minutes of this match. We spoke about Holding earlier in the game. Son played him. He played him and played him, like a little boy. Sometimes as a defender your head goes, you’re emotional and you do rash things. Son was in his head.”
Shortly after Holding’s exit Kane notched a second to put the hosts 2-0 ahead at half-time. Son added a third in the second-half to put Tottenham within a point of their rivals with two games remaining. Arteta was seething with the decision of referee Paul Tierney.
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“If I say what I think I am suspended for six months,” said the Arsenal boss. “I don’t know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think. I cannot say what I think. I want the referees to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.
“I am not unhappy with my players. I am proud of my players. The decision was made. We can’t change it. The referee has to make a decision in football.” Neville has now backed Tottenham to topple their rivals in the race for the final Champions League spot. Antonio Conte’s side face Burnley and Norwich City whilst the Gunners face a challenging trip to Newcastle before they play Everton on the final day.