This season has been a truly remarkable one so far for Arsenal FC. After what has been a tumultuous summer involving the departures of Robin Van Persie and Alex Song from the club, arguably the Gunners two best players of last season were now at pastures new displaying their talents. Arsenal made concessions for such an issue, faith in their youth team as always, the return to fitness of the so far brilliant Abou Diaby and the acquisition of Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.
But another outgoing-incoming appears to be going extremely well by all accounts and results on the football pitch give credence to such claims. Pat Rice left his job as assistant manager to Arsene Wenger bringing an end to an accumulated 44 year spell at the club as a player and coach.
In that time Pat has obviously achieved a lot and his love for the club is endearing so any praise heaped on his successor would never be a slight on the Northern Irishmen’s spell at the club. In fact I like the image of Pat chilling out at home watching the Arsenal game’s on television and throwing his head at footballs outside the possibility of contact.
I also like to think he would be immensely pleased of Steve Bould’s apparent impact since taking over the reins. Pat would know him well from their mutual employment in North London and would know all about his style of play. Efficient, solid, uncompromising and intelligent, he formed an infamous back five with Seaman, Dixon, Adams and Winterburn that still brings water to the eyes of any centre forward ever tasked with the remit of breaking it down.
He seems to have transcended into coaching with predictable ease with the Youth Team who he lead to several honours and now as Wenger’s right hand man he has been given the opportunity to get hands on with the defence. Wenger is much more about fluent flamboyancy rather than defensive duty so Bould acts as a magnificent buffer. The players appear to like him, as much as you can tell anyway from the mumbling press conferences you often get from the modern day pro and the results seem to back the theory.
Arsenal have played 3 league games this season conceding a quite remarkable zero goals. This from a team who were loose for most of the season last year defensively is incredible. He seems to bring the best out of PerMertesacker especially, whose lack of pace has previously seemed a worry. His positioning has improved immensely and he appears magnetic to the ball at times.
The facts are simple; since Steve Bould has been assistant coach Arsenal have conceded zero goals and barely had to deal with a shot as Vito Mannone deputises for the injured poles Szczesny and Fabianski.
It looks like Steve Bould has brought some of that George Graham spirit into the back four once again at Arsenal.
As a platform for impressive displays further forward the attackers have a blank canvas of which to be artistic, safe in the knowledge that any paint dropped will unlikely stain the carpet that is Arsenal’s new defensive stability.
What do you make of Steve Bould’s impact?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald