Wednesday, 5 September 2012

AOC on Bould's Arsenal DNA -Jack's on the ball -PHW's nonsense talk

Morning Gooners.

It's just the second day of the international brea but there is still plenty to talk about. We'll start with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was put in front of the media for the first time at an England press conference.

He spoke about well about his dad's involvement with the national team but as Gooners that's not what we're interested in. As well as confirming he'd be happy to sit down with the club and discuss an improvement on his £15k a week four year deal, the teenager also spoke about the involvement of Steve Bould on the training ground.

This is a topic which I'm certainly interested in. I really want to know how much involvement in the coaching Bould and Neil Banfield are having on a day to day basis, knowing that Arsene Wenger is a man who is most happy on the training ground and is known to be a control freak.

The Ox enlightens us. He said:
"Steve’s come in and filled the spot really well. He’s got respect from the lads as a good defender for Arsenal, and a good personality. He’s old-school, funny. The lads enjoy that. 
"He’s stamped his mark on the whole team. At Arsenal we have a lot of the ball and we get carried away when teams sit in, and we are easily countered, but we’ve nailed that down this season. The flair play is in our DNA but Steve has come in and everybody’s bought into it."
So still we're left wondering how much involvement Bould is having. It's clear though he's making an impact.

On Sunday at Anfield, it was noticeable that none of the players gave less than 100%. From front to back they all put in a shift. No one thought that they were too big a player to do their defensive work. But as Lukas Podolski pointed out, it was just one game. There are 35 more league games to go and one of the things we need to do this season is be consistent with our performances.

A good performance at Anfield will mean nothing if  we don't produce it against Southampton a week on Saturday. In the grand scheme of things, Sunday's win was just three points. A very positive and encouraging three points but nothing more. We don't gain anything extra from beating one of the so-called bigger clubs.

A point Carl Jenkinson has made is that it's not just the defence who need to be worried about defending. He also highlights Steve Bould as a positive influence on the team.

Jenkinson said:
"Steve [Bould] has come in and he's been there and done it. He's always there giving us advice and tips, and we've had a long pre-season to work together and get our shape right. 
"A lot of credit goes to the midfield too. If you look at our midfield today, the midfield three, and the wingers, they were outstanding in their defensive duties. It wasn't just a back five, the whole team defended brilliantly and I think that's what's making the difference at the moment."
Bould is the household name so he'll get a lot of the plaudits for our three clean sheets. But I'm told Neil Banfield has had a positive influence on shaping us this season. We've made a steady start to the season and there is certainly a feel good factor in the Gooner community following our win at the weekend but I don't think we can really assess how far we've progressed just yet. The season is in its infancy.

What has impressed me though already is that the likes of Jenkinson and Per Mertesacker have come into the defence and performed to such a high standard when many - even within our own support - didn't think they had it in them.

Jenkinson it appears in particular has come on a lot from last season and that can only be a good thing with Bacary Sagna still injured. If he can keep the high standards of his performances consistent there will be no reason for the manager to rush the Frenchman back into the first team.

There is news on Jack Wilshere's recovery. He's due to start training with the ball next week in a major step forward in his comeback from injury, according to the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile the chairman has granted the Evening Standard an interview. As the Goonerholic points out, there is a not so hidden agenda of the interviewer Mihir Bose who can't disguise his Lilywhite roots.

In the interview there is pretty much nothing new that we've not already heard. However the chairman continues to perpetuate the myth that there is no other way of running a football club the way Arsenal do it.

He cites two examples: the petro-dollars of Chelsea and Manchester City or the irresponsible way Glasgow Rangers was run into the ground by its owners.

No Arsenal fan wants to see us go the way of Rangers. But there is room for maneuver, especially when we've got £50m+ in the bank. There is no rule stating Arsenal need to make a profit each summer, so why has that happened for the last three seasons?

The chairman states the manager has money to spend. But is that money only what he creates himself by selling our best players? Not one Gooner I know wants us to spend £50m on a single player. However what we do want is for all our resources to be maximised in the pursuit of success.

I could go on but I won't. That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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