Friday, June 2, 2023

Bould: Playing out from the back is a ‘big challenge’

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’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.”

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Good to hear from the big man, we didn’t hear enough from him in the Wenger years (suspected he just put the cones out).

And like the idea of lots of hard work going on, always boosts the chances of success.


It’s snippets from an Interview by the guy who does “the breakdown”, sorry can’t remember his name. Check it out on
And yes, good to hear from some of the coaching staff even if they are clearly trying not to give away too many details


It’s Adrian Clarke, I believe 😀


Thanks very much.


Nah mate, Ryo had a monopoly on the cone work 😉


if a team is good at playing out from the back, that’s ok, but if they are not, then I don’t see the point, as they only get themselves in trouble, better off just booting the ball up field because that’s what usually happens anyway, and you will clear any danger at the same time

La Defense



There’s a big difference between playing from the back and clearing the lines under pressure.
With the latter, sometimes the best option really is to thump it up field into row Z. A really good defender will know when that is the best option and do it, no matter how much he thinks the coach is going to hate him for it.


Playing out of the back is key to how Emery wants us to play, and it frees up space for fast counter-attacks. We’ve been drawing teams in on purpose, then launching fast counter-attacks. Just watch Holding do it when we played Liverpool.

Faisal Narrage

I know Bould says it’s not much different from the video analysis under Wenger, but I’m not quite sure I believe that. For one, player’s wouldn’t simply say or feel it’s different for the sake of it, unless it was a clear difference. Maybe it’s how it’s used; it’s frequency, focused on individuals and teams, etc. But it’s different, that’s for sure. It’s also different culturally if there is a clear buy-in from the coaching staff and from the head coach in particular, not something that’s just done for the sake of it, but you still get a sense that… Read more »


No one doubts that the players would have seen videos of the opposition before but I think the main difference is that the video is being used to analyse their own performances a lot more and Emery is a stickler about positioning and I totally get that. Nothing worse that watching play build up and it breaks down because a player doesn’t make the right run etc.

No Longer Laughing Stock

He may not have any hair but I for one don’t care


Yeah but come on Bouldy, seeing Mustafi with the ball at the corner of box and goal line, with two attackers bearing down on him – absolutely pant-filling, and always will be.


There aren’t many players where that wouldn’t be a worrying moment


Wenger wasn’t known for his great delegation skills so he was working bloody hard while others awaited instructions (a gross exaggeration for sure but…)

David C

I wonder if Wenger has been watching the games. I love the man and what he accomplished, but change is good.

Emery seems like a really passionate coach, I’m enjoying the new regime.

COYG!!! Can’t wait for proper footie to return.


Is there a reason for so many interviews at the moment? Maybe this is the norm and it isn’t normally reported but we seem to be hearing from everyone


Indeed, it seems like the club is trying to raise the spirit and excitement of fans towards their club, with these bits.
And this is a sound strategy at that.
I for one didn’t really care about any interviews and conferences these back few years. Now I find them entertaining.
That’s change for you.


True, the highlight of Wenger interviews was when he drifted onto subjects other than football


Ask Graham Dougan first. He likes it when keepers just kicked it long and big centre-forwards headed it and centre-halves had to head it.

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