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How does Ben White compare to Rob Holding?

:Headline: How does Ben White compare to Rob Holding?:
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at how Arsenal new boy Ben White compares to his teammate and rival for the centre-back spot Rob Holding.
Sports Mole

Arsenal have confirmed the arrival of English defender Ben White from Brighton & Hove Albion for a reported fee of £50m.

The 23-year-old has followed Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga to the Emirates during a busy summer of spending for the Gunners and is understood to have penned a five-year deal with the North London club.

White leaves Brighton after starting 36 Premier League games for them in the 2020-21 season, and the Englishman's arrival in the capital could spell trouble for Rob Holding.

Ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger famously said of Holding "I am sorry he did not cost £55m so he cannot be good" after his clean sheet against then-Premier League champions Leicester City, and the illustrious Frenchman's words will echo loudly as White finds his feet at the Emirates.

With the former Brighton man expected to battle Holding for the chance to partner Gabriel Magalhaes at the back, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at how the two players compared statistically in the 2020-21 Premier League season.


White only missed two Premier League games for the Seagulls last term – a pair of 1-0 defeats to Arsenal and Sheffield United – and played his part in an impressive 11 clean sheets for Graham Potter's side.

Coincidentally, Holding featured from the first whistle 28 times in the 2020-21 league season and also claimed 11 clean sheets from his time on the field, with Arsenal conceding in all but one of the eight games he did not play any minutes in.

Interestingly, White and Holding both finished the season with an average of 1.4 tackles and 0.8 fouls per game, but the former was far busier on the interception front – making 1.7 per game compared to Holding's 0.8 – although he did feature out wide and in midfield on several occasions.

However, Holding ranks higher in blocks (0.9pg compared to White's 0.6) offsides won and clearances - with the ex-Bolton Wanderers man averaging four per game in that field – while he also won 2.4 aerials per 90 compared to White's 1.4, although Holding stands at 6ft 2in compared to his compatriot's 6ft frame.


Neither White nor Holding made the net ripple in the Premier League last season, and the former – despite featuring in a range of positions – also failed to claim an assist for an often goal-shy Brighton side.

In contrast, Holding would set up one goal in the 2020-21 league season – a long pass to Kieran Tierney before his stellar solo effort against West Bromwich Albion – and the 25-year-old boasts seven goals from 183 appearances at all levels compared to White's four from 199.

However, with White featuring further forward on a number of occasions last term, he did end the season with higher dribbles per 90 (0.7) compared to Holding (0.3) and also recorded eight key passes while Holding ended the season with four.

The ex-Brighton man was also dispossessed on more occasions and recorded 23 unsuccessful touches compared to Holding's 12, although it is important to note that he played 637 more minutes of top-flight football than his compatriot.


Despite playing fewer minutes throughout the season, Holding attempted more passes (1,802) compared to White (1,747) and boasted a higher success rate of 87% than that of his teammate, who registered a success rate of 83.2%.

Furthermore, of the 203 long passes the Holding attempted, 92 came off, whereas White registered 84 accurate long balls from 204 attempts last term.

As far as disciplinary matters go, White was cautioned three times in last season's Premier League and was sent off for two bookable offences against Chelsea, while Holding only picked up two bookings against Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The individual stats may overwhelmingly favour Holding – who will undoubtedly force White to fight for his right to wear the red shirt – but the 25-year-old spent last season with an Arsenal side who just missed out on Europe compared to a Brighton side battling to avoid the drop.

White has also graduated from the Marcelo Bielsa school of defending and has two fewer years of experience than that of Holding, so a bit of healthy competition for the right centre-back spot ought to do Mikel Arteta and co no harm at all.

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4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton540174312
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