ROB HOLDING is calling on Arsenal supporters to show the world that the passion is back at the Emirates in Sunday’s North London derby.
The Gunners defender believes that Unai Emery has healed all the bitter splits which divided the club during Arsene Wenger’s final years as manager.
Getty – Contributor5 Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding has impressed for the Gunners this season
And he wants the united fans to recreate the ferocious atmosphere which inspired their team to fight back from behind against Liverpool last month.
Holding, 23, has yet to play against Spurs since his £2.5million move from Bolton in the summer of 2016.
So he is desperate to make his derby debut this time as Arsenal set out to maintain their stranglehold over their bitter rivals from the other end of the Seven Sisters Road.
For Spurs have managed just one win in their last 29 visits to Arsenal and no-one involved in that solitary victory back in November 2010 will feature this weekend.
Another Arsenal win on Sunday will take them above third-placed Spurs on goal difference but Holding insists it is about so much more than just League positions.
Reuters5 Holding – here challenging Sadio Mane – played a big part in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool
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He says: “We know how big a game this is for our fans and we want to beat Tottenham to give them bragging rights and an enjoyable weekend.
“I wouldn’t expect the support we get to be anything less than we got against Liverpool the other week.
"Our fans will be right behind us and we have to prove to them that we can beat Tottenham again. We’re on an 18-game unbeaten run and the momentum is very positive.
“When the new manager arrived we knew it was going to take time but he's come in and had a very good first half of the season and now everyone is together again.
Getty – Contributor5 Holding has gained a regular starting berth for Arsenal for the first time since his 2016 move from Bolton
“With the fans and the manager united behind us, the players are all buying into it and if we can get a good result against Tottenham we jump ahead of them.”
Holding has emerged as a key figure in Unai Emery’s defence in recent weeks after spending the first six League games of the new manager’s reign on the bench.
He doesn’t know if he will keep his place in the starting line-up after travelling all the way to the Ukraine for this week’s Europa League win against Vorskla Poltava.
But he has been encouraged by the approval he has had from Emery even when big-money signings Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi has also been available.
Reuters5 Holding played the first hour of the 3-0 Europa League win over Vorskla Poltava
He says: “The manager has shown a lot of faith in me by keeping me in the team rather than just using me to cover for an injury.
“Everyone knows it’s competitive for the places and that no-one is guaranteed to start, so that is bringing the best out of everybody.
“We’re on a good run and everything is ticking over nicely. The win at Bournemouth last week was important after the draws we’d had and that has put us back in touch with the top four.
“We’re three points behind Tottenham and one behind Chelsea and we’ve got to keep chasing them.
Getty Images – Getty5 Harry Kane was on target for Spurs when the clubs last met in the Premier League in February
“I’ve started virtually all of the games in the last two months but there’s no point when I'm going to ask the manager for a rest. I’m 23-years-old and I just want to play every game.
“I played 90 minutes against Bournemouth on Sunday and Unai brought me off against Poltava after an hour, maybe with the North London derby in mind.
“I was on the bench when we won at White Hart Lane in my first season at the club and our fans were really giving it some.
“It seemed like a hot atmosphere to play in so I’m looking forward to being involved and going up against Harry Kane.
“If he doesn’t score, I’ll be happy.”