The end of last season marked the end of a 16 year partnership between Arsene Wenger and his assistant, Pat Rice. No time was wasted in appointing a replacement, with youth team coach Steve Bould getting the nod to become Gunners number two.
So will the addition of Steve Bould to the Emirates coaching staff see a huge difference to how Arsenal fare this season? The problem that many saw during Pat Rice’s reign in North Londonis that he never challenged the authority of his number one, something that Arsenal fans will be hoping will change under Steve Bould. Popular and successful assistant managers have been able to offer a fresh perspective from the manager, with differing ideas and managerial styles, rather than being a carbon copy of the man they are assistant to.
As previous manager of the youth team, Bould is highly regarded within the Arsenal set up. To be reunited with players he brought through his FA Youth Cup winning system such as Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Frimpong leaves him in good stead. He is well respected amongst many others of the current playing squad, and the heights he reached in his playing days serve a perfect example of what his team should try to achieve in ending a 7 year trophy drought.
There are, however certain long term dilemmas which have remained long unsolved at the Emirates, something fans will be looking at Bould to finally be the man to come in and resolve. Can he offer a fresh aspect as to where to play Theo Walcott to get the best out of him? Can he introduce a formation which gets the best out of attack but maintains defensive stability? Will he make the difference in keeping key players in North London?
Bould may maintain the same philosophy as Arsene Wenger, but his approach in achieving with this philosophy is what will make his differ from his predecessor. He is keener on motivating and nurturing individuals than Rice was, who would speak to the team as a whole, enforcing wholesome messages. Bould offers a refreshing aspect in the sense that he is more up to date with the modern game than his predecessor was as well, having only retired 12 years ago, and his experience of winning trophies with the Gunners sets a good precedent.
It is clear to see that Bould can add a different dimension to the Arsenal management team. His managerial style is very different to Wenger’s or Rice’s, and he was known throughout the youth team as fearless and would shout himself hoarse throughout matches. A different aspect to Wenger or Rice, both largely content on sitting back and watching events unfold until the players are back into the privacy of the dressing room.
The excitement around the Emirates this summer as things are appearing differently to usual could well come to fruition will the help of Arsene Wenger’s new assistant. To look at the successes Sir Alex Ferguson has enjoyed at Old Trafford, he has done so with 8 different assistant managers across his reign. Bould marks Wenger’s second, and his hand was only forced by Rice’s retirement. Either way, the change could be just the refreshment the Gunners need.