Putting aside Theo Walcott’s contract mumblings, the winger (for that is what you are sir) has some interesting things to say about the defensive improvements being implemented at Arsenal.
Having bid farewell to Pat Rice in the summer, the benchwarmer confirmed that specific defensive exercises are a much more regular occurrence on the training ground under Steve Bould’s tutelage and that a sense of collective responsibility has subsequently been forged.
“We do a lot of defensive work as a whole team, as a whole unit, getting your positions, getting into the habit, which we never really had before,” Walcott told ESPN.
“It’s definitely coming along. Steve has been fantastic. He says what he thinks. He wouldn’t be a yes man. He’d disagree at times. It’s great. He’d be honest with you, which you want.”
Unbeaten in the League thus far, the mood around the Emirates certainly appears to be positive, especially given the tough hurdles already overcome this term. Reflecting on the aims for the season, Walcott continued:
“It’s only five games in and we’re going to get better as well. It’s a gradual process. You can see the positive vibes at the moment. The next step is to win trophies.”
It’s interesting that a number of Arsenal players have been so forthright in praising the appointment of both Steve Bould and Neil Banfield to the first team set-up. While you wouldn’t expect any of them to say a bad word about Pat Rice, the freshening up of the coaching staff does seem to have brought a little extra to training sessions.
Perhaps it’s down to a new attention to defensive details, maybe some new ideas are being banded around or maybe the players, as you sometimes see when a new manager is appointed, are just trying that bit more in the hope of making a good first impression. Whatever it is, let’s hope the focus doesn’t slip anymore than it has in the last couple of games.