You could sense the frustration from Arsene Wenger earlier in the season when so much praise was directed towards Steve Bould. Arsenal had started the season in impressive fashion, at least from a defensive perspective, and yet the manager wanted to make it quite clear that it wasn’t just his new assistant that was taking the defence to positive new levels.

Wenger will always do it his way, and it won’t matter how bad the repercussions are. He’s a proud manager, but his stubbornness is well-known. He won’t look for help, quite simply because it suggests that he was wrong in the first place. He won’t accept small tips from those around him, because why should he admit to taking advice from those who aren’t as experienced in the game as he is? It’s understandable to a degree, but again, it’s incredibly frustrating.


There was word recently of a bust-up between the manager and Bould, with the former Arsenal defender getting very little say in the running of training. And maybe we’re seeing evidence of that of the pitch. Yes, Arsenal do still have one of the best defensive records in the Premier League, but it’s the manner in which they concede that really confuses. It’s difficult to understand how a team coached by one of Arsenal’s finest can be so cavalier at the back. Yet at the same time it’s totally and predictably Arsenal.

The idea has always been that Wenger surrounds himself with yes-men, however I believe that to be incredibly disrespectful to those who do work with him. Pat Rice was and still is a football man, so is Bob Wilson and the various other coaches at the club. If any of them see inconsistencies in training or problems in the preparation, I’m confident they would speak up.

It’s one thing to say the club is full of yes-men who won’t challenge Wenger; the more realistic view is that plenty challenge the manager, it’s just that he decides to go in another direction—specifically his own.

Wenger said the rumours of a clash between himself and Bould were lies, but we’ll never know. The manager says a lot of things that are the opposite of what really goes on. But despite knowing this, many fans choose to be selective in what they believe.

It’s difficult to paint the picture of Arsenal as a club where the manager simply refuses help from his coaches; no matter how good a manager Wenger is, he can’t run the playing side of the club on his own. The problem has and always will be his lack of desire for outside help. We’ve seen it in the past with his decision not to allow former players to take up roles at the club, while Martin Keown’s brief period as a coach in 2006 should have been extended.

You’ve got to wonder how much more Wenger could have achieved had he taken on the advice of those around him. There’s no shame in looking for answers from others, while even the best managers form close bonds with their assistants and look to freshen up their coaching staff. You only need to do a quick search to discover how close Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola are; Alex Ferguson has had so many assistants and coaches over the years that you can be certain the setup at Manchester United never stagnates; while Frank de Boer at Ajax has surrounded himself with former players and those who understand the traditions of the club. It helps to breed success and never allows for the in-house atmosphere to become dangerously laid back.

We’ll never really know what goes on inside Arsenal and specifically with regards to the running of training. But there has been plenty of evidence in the past to suggest Wenger wants to keep it his way and with very little help from outside.


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  • Yac
    2 years ago

    Spot on

    Reply
  • Joe Public
    2 years ago

    That’s a very well-constructed and written piece of creative journalism (minus the small typo). There are plenty of others things which you could conclusively criticise Arsene Wenger and Arsenal about (like his team selection, the way they allow top players contracts to run to their final year and are forced to sell them, whether arsenal are becoming a selling team, will they ever win a trophy again, the wage structure, the money at his disposal and he’s refusal to spend it, list goes on and on, so why create a story with little evidence or prove just for the hell of it. Get a proper job !!!

    Reply
    • Pius G.
      2 years ago

      @Joe Public, you are right. The writer needs to get a proper job. He ain’t cut out for this kind of journalism that requires great analytical minds that go to print only after the have obtained ALL THE FACTS – i.e. evidence or prove as you put it.

      Reply
      • Will Taylor
        2 years ago

        Football is a game built on opinion and speculation, it’s one of the reasons the game is so enthralling. If every journalist waited for ALL THE FACTS, frankly an impossible task in itself, nothing would ever get published.

        Reply
  • Pius G.
    2 years ago

    I haven’t the slightest doubt in my mind that the writer of this piece of sh-t, Thomas Hallet, is one of the “Arsene Must go” guys.

    Every little bit of the assertions made in this post has been base squarely on SPECULATIONS! The irony is that while the writer agrees and indeed believes that everything that has been said about Wenger in relation to his relationship with his assistants (particularly, Bould) has been largely speculation, he has no qualms at all believing these speculations and making assertions in respect of them with such overflowing passion!!! Haba

    Shortly after the season began, many Gunners believed that the initial success the team was achieving at that time was all the handwork of Bould!!! It was really crazy that. I was never one of them. In fact, I challenged that opinion in one of my comments on the issue at that time. Now that it has turned out that the much praised initial defensive stability was just a flash-in-the-pan, this group of gunners, apparently being captained by this writer are now throwing all the blame for our leaking defense on Arsene Wenger, raising issues that are at best, speculative. Again I say haba!!!

    Where will all this nonsense take us to???

    Reply
  • Guns and Roses
    2 years ago

    Yeah totally agreed with Joe Public. Fxxk off! dude.

    Reply