Steve Bould says Unai Emery has brought about a ‘remarkable’ transition at Arsenal since arriving in the summer but he maintains that change has not been as revolutionary and all-encompassing as some in the media have made out.
While many old faces at London Colney were moved on in the aftermath of Arsene Wenger’s departure, the 56-year-old retained his position as assistant head coach and has set about helping the new regime implement their ideas.
Slowly but surely, he believes the Gunners hard work on the training pitch is paying dividends, even if supporters still get edgy watching the players build play from the back.
“The change after 20-odd years has been enormous, but I think it’s gone well and the transition from the last period has been remarkable,” Bould told Arsenal.com’s Adrian Clarke.
“I think what the new management certainly do is work a lot of hours and I think they expect players to work a lot of hours.
“They do a lot of video work and a lot of analysis, which was actually done before, I have to tell you. It’s not massively different at all, even though some people believe it is.
“But they want to work you hard, they expect hard work all around the club and I think that drips down to the players.”
In the early weeks of the season, the sight of Petr Cech trying to feed balls to Shkodran Mustafi on the edge of the Arsenal box was routinely greeted with panicked murmurs on the terraces.
While Bould admits it’s been tough implementing such a radical change to the playing style, he thinks that it’s now starting to pay dividends and supporters are getting on board.
“It’s a big challenge,” he noted. “It’s a big challenge to get the supporters on your side at times as well because it can be a little bit edgy, but I think it’s winning them over and it’s been a big challenge, certainly for the keepers.
“It’s changed from our day when keepers just kicked it long and big centre-forwards headed it and centre-halves had to head it.
“Now I think you’re expected, number one, to be good with your feet as a keeper, and I think as a centre back and as a full-back you need to be able to play in deep areas.
“It can be a bit risky for sure and it might look it at times and everybody’s a little bit on edge. We can all feel it and we all know it! But I think the more we do it, the better we will become and everybody will be used to the situation.”