Tag Archives: Steve Bould

Rating Le Grove’s future Arsenal managers

Before you read on, have a read of Le Grove’s blog yesterday The End is Nigh for Arsene Wenger.

I have been #ArseneOut for some time, but with a caveat, that it is time to for him to go, but as long as we bring in someone better, someone who can take the club forward. I felt there was no point of Arsene and Arsenal parting ways, for us to go and get in a Roberto Martinez, or Owen Coyle. What would be a Moyesesque decision.

When I first decided on my position, there was only a handful of managers I wanted in. Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti. I felt that no matter what happened this season, Arsenal should have been speaking to one (or all) of these 3 to discuss joining Arsenal in the summer.

Instead, we did nothing. Klopp joined Liverpool. Manchester City spoke to Pep. And Ancelotti spoke to Bayern Munich. All 3 gone, in the matter of weeks. And it concerned me, as looking around the world game, they were clearly the 3 class acts, everyone else was much of a muchness, not exactly an improvement on Wenger.

Then as 2016 rolled on, my personal list grew. As Arsenal performed worse, and Arsene looked more and more out of touch, it meant more managers who could clearly do a better job than Wenger were added. Still no room for Martinez though, who for me is one of the most overrated in the league.

Anyway, this is not about my list, it is about Le Groves. Many of the names on mine cross reference over, some are missing (Conte, Allegri) and there are some I would not have thought of. But it is a valid list.

What Le Grove did not do is analyse the list. He had already write 1,468 words. It is probably a blog for another day. Well this is the other day.

So who are the 10 managers on Le Grove’s list? What are their pro’s & con’s? Are tbhey a realistic fit for Arsenal? This is my view.

Diego Simeone – Atletico Madrid

Who? Former Argentine International who until recently was most famous for going down like a sack of spuds after a petulant flick by David Beckham in the 1998 World Cup. Starting his managerial  career in Argentina, he joined Atletico in 2011 where he broke up the Real Madrid / Barcelona cartel winning La Liga in 2014. Made the Champions League Final the same year. Would maybe feel he can not to Atletico any further.

Pro’s: Clearly a winner. He has broken up the Real Madrid / Barcelona dominance not by buying and spending (ala Man City & Chelsea) but by managing well, being tactically adept and motivating his players.

Con’s: Can he speak English yet? At Atletico, he is in a unique job where his ‘bullying’ and ‘aggressive’ management style works. Could this translate to a new club easily?

Arsenal fit: Yes and No. It would be a risk, as he could come in an upset everyone. But it could also be a success. Players are too comfortable under Wenger. Someone who tells home truths might be an adrenaline shot to the heart of our talented squad. If he is proficient in English, has to be high on any list.

Tomas Tuchel – Dortmund

Who? Current Borussia Dortmund manager, he replaced Jurgen Klopp at the beginning of the season. Like Klopp, he was previously manager at Mainz. Has taken a Dortmund team who underperformed last year under Klopp back to second in the table.

Pro’s: Came in to a side which was under performing under its long term manager and turned things around.

Con’s: Only been at Dortmund one season, bit early to start comparing him to Klopp.

Arsenal fit: Not this summer. With just one season at a top club under his belt, he would be a huge risk. Could be one for a few year time, but we do not want to wait that long.

Martin Schmidt – Mainz

Who? Austrian manager who did not have a playing career of note. He has come up through management the hard way. Now at Mainz in Germany (what is it about Mainz and talented managers?), he has got a previously lower to mid-table side to 5th in the table. Just goal difference separates them and Champions League football.

Pro’s: There is something about a manager who has not had a stellar career. Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, they just seem to become very good coaches.

Con’s: Until he took over as Mainz’s head coach in 2015, he had only ever been a reserve team head coach. Not much experience.

Arsenal fit: With just over a years experience as a head coach in at any club, I would not be comfortable him taking on such a big job. Also he is clearly a coach, not a manger. Would Wenger stay to sign the players? Would we want him too?

Jorge Sampaoli – Former Chile

Who? The Argentinean manager who led Chile to the Copa America on home soil. He resigned in January this year. Was shortlisted for FIFA World Coach of the Year in 2015.

Pro’s: Plays a very attacking, and successful, brand of football. Knows how to get the best out of Alexis Sanchez.

Con’s: In his 22 year managerial career, he has never managed outside of South America. Has been out of club management since 2011.

Arsenal fit: Would bring a new view point, a new style of football to the club. Would surely know of a few gems from South America to sign. Clearly a good manager and would come with Alexis Sanchez’s approval. But can he adapt to club management and English football?

Frank De Boer – Ajax

Who? Legendary Dutch centre back, De Boer took over Ajax with them having not won a league title in 6 years. He then reeled off 4 titles in a row. Struggled last year, but back in the title race this. Has previously sniffed around the Liverpool & Spurs jobs. A Premier League move would be on the cards soon.

Pro’s: Would surely bring Dennis Bergkamp.

Con’s: Do we only want him because we want Dennis Bergkamp?

Arsenal fit: Yes. Because I want Dennis Bergkamp back.

Unai Emery – Sevilla

Who? Current Sevilla, former Valencia manager. He has won back to back Europa League’s with the former, and could be on course to win 3 out of 3.

Pro’s: Did a solid job at Valencia under difficult circumstance. Doing an equally sterling job at Sevilla.

Con’s: Knocked out of the Champions League group stages this season, although it was a group which contained Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Arsenal fit:  Would be a step up from his current job at Sevilla. I was surprised he was still just 44 (he seems to have been around for a long time). Certainly a good manager who carries no ego. Would be a good option.

Laurent Blanc – Paris

Who? Former France captain. Former France manager. Now in charge of PSG.

Pro’s: Managed at the top level with France and with PSG. Used to dealing with big ego, big players.

Con’s: Is he actually any good? Got to the QF of Euro 2012 with France. He might be used to dealing with ego’s, but he is not very good at dealing them. I could manage PSG to the title.

Arsenal fit: No.

Ronald Koeman – Southampton

Who? Over 600 games in management, he won it all as a player. Now at Southampton doing a remarkable job taking into account all their top players were stripped away from them.

Pro’s: Vastly experienced, used to working at the highest level. Will command instant respect with what he has won.

Con’s: In management for 16 years, why has a top club not yet taken the risk on him?

Arsenal fit: 2 years in the Premier League, he knows what it takes. Question mark over if he is good enough for the top, top level. Possibility that he would bring Bergkamp across. Would be a good choice.

Steve Bould – Arsenal Assistant

Who? Former Arsenal centre back who played 372 times for the club. Has been at Arsenal for a long time working his way through the youth systems.

Pro’s: Knows the club. Would be a seamless transition from Wenger to Bould.

Con’s: But do we want a seamless transition. We need something different, not more of the same.

Arsenal fit: Would be good to keep around the club in a Pat Rice role to help the new manager, but not as manager.

Ernesto Valverde – Athletic Bilbao

Who? I have no idea

Pro’s: I have no idea

Con’s: I have no idea

Arsenal fit: Probably Not. I have no idea.


From Le Grove’s list, I would happily take Simeone, Emery, Koeman & De Boer.

Let us know your thoughts


The Myth of Steve Bould

OK, something has really been bugging me over the weekend. Many will disagree with my opinion, many will call me clueless, and some will say I am just attention seeking. What is bugging me is the current love and credit Steve Bould is getting.

I have seen two opinions about Steve Bould at the weekend which, in my opinion, are no more than myths being used to a) Make Steve Bould look like he is the saviour of Arsenal Football Club and b) Ensure that Arsene Wenger does not get the credit for us topping the table.

The two myths that I will attempt to debunk are:

1) Steve Bould has improved the defence this season and that is why we are top

2) Steve Bould has improved Keiran Gibbs

Improving Defence

At the start of last season, our defence started well. Credit for this was given to Steve Bould. Midway through the season, the defence faltered, and Arsene Wenger was criticised for stopping Steve Bould taking defensive training as he was ‘jealous’ of the praise Bould was getting.

This was ludicrous for two reasons. Firstly why would Wenger stop someone taking training if it was working? Secondly there was no proof that either Bould was training the defence or that he stopped. It was rumours fueled by the likes of Stewart Robson and a lot of the ‘Wenger Outs’.

This season, the same rumours are resurfacing, that the defence is better and the man to get the credit is Steve Bould. This a myth.

Firstly, the defence has not got better. 1 clean sheet in 8 Premier League games is not ‘good’. Secondly, we are currently conceding at a rate of over 1 a game. Last year we conceded at less than a goal a game. So ZERO proof that the defence is improving. Let alone the reason why we are top of the league.

One of the reasons the defence has got better of the last 12 months is because of the players themselves. We finally have 2 top left backs (no Andre Santos), and in the middle, we have finally had a pairing play continuous games together. A lot of the time, a defence is built on the partnership of the middle. And in Mertesacker and Koscielny, we finally have that partnership. Yes, Bould might have assisted shaping the partnership, but it is the form and leadership of a 94 capped German international who has been solid as a rock which has developed the partnership.

As for the defence being the reason why we are top. We are currently 8th in the ‘goals of the season’ table.

For me, it just feels like people are unwilling to give Wenger the credit for us being top of the league, and are therefore trying to give the credit elsewhere.

Kieran Gibbs

I have seen some people this weekend make silly claims that Steve Bould is the man to credit with Kieran Gibbs’ fine form. Again, this is no more than a myth.

Ever since Gibbs broke through in 2011/12, his talent has never been in questions. Strong, quick and plenty of ability. His problem was staying fit. This season he has done just that, playing in every Premier League game. Now correct me if I am wrong, but Steve Bould is not a physio, he is not a fitness coach. Kieran Gibbs’ form is down to himn staying fit. Nothing more. People just seem to be quick to give credit for anything to Steve Bould.


Now I am not bashing Steve Bould. I do believe he is doing a top job as a coach, and you feel the refreshing of Wenger’s back room last summer has done a lot for the club. With less yes men, and more people with fresher ideas. But it seems that there is a refusal to give Arsene Wenger any credit, and the consequence of that is Steve Bould is getting credit which he quite simply does not deserve.

I have always been a believer, if you are willing to give someone praise for a job well done, you must also be comfortable giving them the criticism when it go’s wrong. This is highlighted last season with Bould, when many were happy to give him the praise for an improved defence, but were then unwilling to criticise him when it went wrong.

Steve Bould may well be a very very good coach, but he is certainly not the nexis of all things good at Arsenal.

Lets give credit where credit was due, not make up credit in attempt to show someone else in a bad light.


Would people love Theo Walcott if he had red hair?

We love you Freddie, cos you’ve got red hair
We love you Freddie, cos you’re everywhere.
We love you Freddie, cos you’re Arsenal through and through.

Nearly 15 years ago today (15 years + 1 week to be exact) Arsenal signed a Swedish 21 year old striker who went by the name of Karl Fredrik Ljungberg. To Arsenal fans he became known Freddie Ljungberg. As Sid Vicious. As a Super Swede. He was loved by the fans. And got cult status. Mainly due to his red hair, as per the song above. Although when his career finished with us, he had less hair then Steve Bould!

Freddie Ljungberg deserves his cult status. He was brilliant for Arsenal, scoring many crucial goals in his 9 seasons for Arsenal. Scoring on his debut against Manchester United in 1998, he was immediately a key member of the Arsenal first team, shooting himself from Day One into the hearts of Arsenal fans.

His career for Arsenal peaked in the 2001/02 season, scoring 17 goals in all competitions, and perhaps more importantly, scoring in 5 of the last 6 Premier League games of the season as Arsenal went on to win the double. The same season, he also scored in The FA Cup Final.

He was a played who scored his goal’s in bunches. When he was hot, he was scorching:

  • 2000/01 – 8 goals, inc 6 in 9
  • 2001/02 – 17 goals, inc 7 in 9 & 7 in 8
  • 2002/03 – 9 goals, inc 5 in 6
  • 2003/04 – 10 goals, inc 4 in 6
  • 2004/05 – 14 goals, inc 6 in 7

And this is where we come to the problem of Freddie Ljungberg, when he was not scoring, he was not doing much. In his Arsenal career, he only got 22 assists. He was not a great passer, could not cross and rarely tracked back. Yet he became an Arsenal great. Many fans, when making a ‘Wenger Era XI’ would have him right wing. And many more would have him in the starting line up of an All-Time Arsenal XI. In an Arsenal fans survey, he was rated as 11th greatest ever Gunner.

This ‘greatest’, for a man, who when he was not scoring, was not doing that much. The man reasoning behind this is he scored in many low scoring games, often popping up with crucial goals.

Now we come to Theo Walcott. A man who, despite looking like silencing his critics with a scintillating season last year, gets a lot of criticism still. Despite scoring an absolute peach of a goal to open the scoring in the tough away European Champions League game that was Marseille, he still gets criticised.

“He did nothing else”
“He did not track back”
“He was very quiet”
“He was not a threat”

Were some of the snippets from Twitter last night. Yet he scored. And that is the important thing. He once more came up with an important goal which saw Arsenal take 3 points away from home in Europe. 3 crucial points. And a crucial goal from Theo. So why did he get – and continue to get – criticism?

Let us look at some stats:

Ljungberg v Walcott

Freddie Ljungberg and Theo Walcott have an almost identical games per goal record. Whilst Freddie was deadlier, Theo Walcott creates a lot more than others. So this makes me wonder, why is Freddie Ljungberg an Arsenal great, whilst Theo Walcott is highly criticised by many?

The only difference I can see is Freddie Ljungberg had red hair.