When Pat Rice retired from his assistant manager duties at Arsenal, many fans were left wondering who would take his place. Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, straight away confirmed it would be someone from inside the club already and that made Steve Bould firm favourite to get the job, which he eventually got given.
At the beginning, it seemed a stroke of genius by the Arsenal boss as last season he watched his side buckle from the back which essentially saw them go another season without winning anything. Back in his day, Steve Bould was known for his aggresive, yet great defending skills, and it appeared that he would be perfect for Arsenal.
The idea seemed to have worked as in the first three games, Arsenal kept clean sheets. Praise left right and centre came from Arsenal fans and the Arsenal manager as they all praised the new assistant manager and called it ‘The Bould Effect’.
However as we get to the Christmas period, it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped for Bould, Wenger and Arsenal.
A poor run of form has seen Arsenal crash out of the Capital One Cup and has left them seventh in the Premier League and already all-but out of the title race and the cracks are starting to appear behind the scenes as well.
Reports today came out that the relationship between Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould is nearly at breaking point and that the assistant manager is furious with his involvement within the first team. The distance between the manager and the assistant was evident to see when a coach took a practise session before a Premier League game when Wenger was away rather than Bould take it himself.
What has Steve Bould done at Arsenal since becoming the assistant then?
Well in my opinion, he was the sole reason why Arsenal sold Alex Song to Barcelona in the summer. Reports had come out that Bould was close to punching Song during pre-season because of his lazy attitude and his over-grown ego. The assistant had clearly had enough of the Cameroon international and soon after the bust-up, he left Arsenal to join Barcelona.
He then introduced zonal marking into the Gunners game. Arsenal are well-known for being poor at defending set pieces and zonal marking has only made it worse. The way zonal marking works is that all the players stay in the area and don’t actually pick up individual men and they don’t mark anyone. This allows the opposition to get a run-up on the players which then gives them advantage in the aerial battles.
So as Arsenal’s season is left in somewhat awkward circumstances, the introduction of a backroom dispute is not exactly what they would want right now.
The question is, will Steve Bould be around come the new season?
Alex William Batt