Rob Holding hails Bernd Leno after crucial saves against Watford
Photo: Nick Potts.

Rob Holding hails Bernd Leno after crucial saves against Watford

Substitute Leno denied Troy Deeney at 0-0 before Arsenal went onto beat Watford

David Comerford

Arsenal defender Rob Holding has praised Bernd Leno for preserving his side's clean sheet after they scored two late goals to beat Watford.

Leno was introduced in first-half stoppage time after Petr Cech suffered a hamstring injury and produced two excellent stops to deny Troy Deeney and Andre Gray.

An own-goal from Craig Cathcart and a strike from Mesut Ozil shortly after subsequently clinched three points for the Gunners, who are now level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham.

Changing of the goalkeeping guard

After the match, Holding hailed Leno's abilities both with his hands and with his feet.

"It’s nice to get another and keep that run going, but we knew that with Bernd coming in that he’s got the quality," he said.

"We saw it in the Europa League and the Carabao cup games that he’s good with his feet and players the style that we want to play.

Holding impressed with physical nature of Gunners

Watford, who have started the season impressively, made life very difficult for the hosts, edging the shot count.

It was the first time they had drawn a blank all season, and Holding reckons Arsenal's ability to match their physicality was key. 

"It’s always (hard) against Troy Deeney and we get on quite well," he said.

"It was a really competitive and physical game and we knew that coming in, we just had to stand up to the battle and late on I think they tired and we managed to get a few passes together and score the goals.

"They look to play off the second balls and work hard to get hold of them, so we just had to match them physically and we had the ability to pick them apart and score some goals."

Momentum building

Arsenal started the season with defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea but they have won seven games since.

And Holding says the team are now brimming with confidence, having built some momentum. 

"He [Unai Emery] said when he came in that he wanted to bring a winning mentality and I think you get that from wins and you go into each game confident.

"We’re physically fit and we know that we can go and get the result."

The North Londoners will be hopeful of extending that run to ten games, with winnable games against Qarabag, Fulham and Leicester to come.