In short no. But things are much improved. This has to be attributed to the promotion of Steve Bould to assistant manager. Arsene never really concentrated on defensive drills before this season but this has now changed with Bould given control over the defence.
The results are there for all to see. Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in each of their first three games, the first time this has been done by the club in 88 years.
Though there have been some defensive lapses recently, Arsenal are still yet to concede. There look so much more assured at set pieces too. I no longer hide behind my sofa when they concede a corner or free-kick. My blood pressure has probably lowered significantly.
Bould’s positive impact with the first team has been confirmed by Arsene himself.
“Steve Bould is doing very well and I am confident we have a good defensive record at the end of the season,” said Wenger
However. Wenger did also concede that Arsenal’s defence had yet to be tested saying that they had ‘played two teams who didn’t really attack.’
Arsenal’s first test may come the weekend after next when they face Southampton at the Emirates. The Saints have proved to be a stern test for both Manchester clubs in recent weeks and with attack-minded players such as Gaston Ramirez, Arsene’s men will have be at their best.
The players have also had their say on Steve Bould’s impact.
“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,” said Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Captain Thomas Vermaelen has also hailed Bould’s impact, highlighting the important of the Assistant Manager’s experience at the highest level. Vermaelen also confirmed that under Bould, the team are working more on defensive play and that the results were being seen by the clean sheets.
It seems that in attack things are finally clicking in to place and that the goals will flow. Steve Bould has undoubtedly steadied the Arsenal defence and as long as the back line keeps its shape and composure, the club can be propelled forwards.