Steve Bould is shaping Arsenal’s future

Steve Bould

Organisation and discipline are not words that have been associated with Arsenal in the past few seasons but things are starting to change.

The team we now see before us are a completely different proposition to the one we saw crumble on the opening day against Aston Villa.


Mesut Özil’s arrival has been highlighted as the catalyst behind the impressive start to the season and while the silky German has galvanised the team I think there is more to it.

The whole team has developed a shape and desire that is making them very hard to beat and I believe that is down to Steve Bould.

Let’s not forget this is the same team who were hapless for so much of the last season until March when they went on an impressive run to secure a top-four spot on the final day.

Bould is old-school when it comes to the art of defending which means you play as a unit and not a bunch of individuals which has been the case with Arsenal in recent seasons.

Everyone has heard the story of George Graham making the famous back four train with an imaginary rope binding them together to instil the discipline that made them the country’s best.

And while Bould may not have gone to those lengths to improve the current defence, he has certainly made his mark.

Arsenal have conceded five goals in as many home league games and three of those came against Villa on the opening day.

The same amount of goals has been conceded in the six games away from the Emirates and is it this solid base that has propelled Arsenal to the top of the table.

The beginning of November saw Arsenal play Liverpool, Dortmund and Manchester United, the latter two away from home, in consecutive games and Arsenal conceded one goal and collected six points.


Per Mertesacker was a colossus in his homeland against Dortmund and played a massive part in shutting out a team who has failed to score only once in their last 60 home games.

Mertesacker is the leader of the pack and you would have to think that Bould see’s something of himself in the towering German.

The BFG is not blessed with pace but has a brilliant ability to read the game and therefore can compensate by getting into a position early where he will not be exposed.

His partnership at the heart of the defence with Laurent Koscielny has been solid ever since they were paired together in the win against Bayern Munich in March which started the ‘revolution’.

Whilst the back four have been impressive, we should not forget the impact that Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta have had in the midfield, providing a shield for the back four.

The defensive shield is something Arsenal fans have been crying out for since the departure, ironically, of Flamini who has returned to complete his “unfinished business” with the club.

Olivier Giroud has also been a terrific first-line of defence for the team with his tireless running and closing down of opposition defenders.

This season is promising much and while Wenger gets all the plaudits from fans and media, let’s not forgets the one with no hair on the bench beside him.

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E9 Gunner
E9 Gunner
7 years ago

Wenger doesn’t get all the plaudits. Why is it when Arsenal play good it’s because of Bould and when Arsenal play bad it’s because of Wenger? Wenger has won many trophies for Arsenal in the past without the help of Bould and also had one of the best defensive units during those times. People need to show Wenger more respect.

Why can’t people accept that in the last few seasons the players we had then are not as good as the players we have now, both attacking and defending (from the goalkeeper up)?

7 years ago

Remember when Wenger won, he had the core and influence of the best English core

Wenger does not know tactics and Defence.

7 years ago

Wenger’s changes at times make me wince! Granted he has the philosophy of attractive, attacking football; his team does not usually have the defensive balance. For example how come ManUtd defeated us when they played their worst game in a period they have their worst team? Just tight marking was sufficient to destabilize us! If we can’t beat ManU now, when can we? How can we be playing Ozil and Carzola together as wingers – they will always cut back inside, so just force them to the wing or wait for them. Also they are too stylish and non-aggressive in… Read more »

7 years ago

In the first glory years of his reign Wenger had the best back four in the league. They gave away nothing. Since then, without that solid defence, how many game have been lost or drawn because of giving away goals in the last five minutes. Steve Bould has really tightened the defence and how it shows. Our defence is winning games for us.

Joy Oyovwevotu
Joy Oyovwevotu
7 years ago

The back four of the invicibles, was that down to Steve Bould too? That team set a defensive record on the way to the Champions League final. Without doubt, Steve Bould is making his mark on the team but this analysis insults readers’ intelligence. Wenger’s fault is that he is too wedded to his footbal philosophy and therefore loses matches he could have won. If you lose your best player every year, it is bound to destabilise any team. This is what we have done since we moved to the Emirates Stadium. Give Wenger respect, he has earned it.

Agina Anthony
Agina Anthony
7 years ago

In everything that happens in any team, whether good or bad, it is the head coach that takes the praise or blame. Let us not bring in comments that will creat problems. All every arsenal fans need to do now, is to advice and encourage the whole team. We need to stay like one solid great family. Gunners 4 life.

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