Mustafi: When Bould talks, you listen

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Shkodran Mustafi says Steve Bould’s unwavering attention to detail means mistakes by Arsenal’s defence are always scrutinised, even when the club is on a winning run.

While many of his training ground colleagues were culled in the aftermath of Arsene Wenger’s exit, Bould retained his assistant head coach credentials when Unai Emery was appointed, providing a level of continuity during the club’s state of flux.

He’s had to adapt under the new regime and now shares his duties with Juan Carlos Carcedo. While the Spaniard is a more animated presence on the touchline during games and in the warm-up, Bould’s presence and experience remain vital, as Mustafi explained.

“Steve is always there, always giving us a hand,” he told the pre-Sporting Lisbon press conference.

“With his experience, when he tells you something he sees in training, you listen very carefully. With his experience, you have to listen to him.

“I don’t feel that he’s now trying to create something new. He looks carefully at what we do, especially when things are wrong.

“When things are going good, it’s easy to not look at the small mistakes but he still looks at everything and when he sees something where we can improve, he’s always there to try and give us a hand.”

To a certain extent Arsenal’s 14-game run and success in front of goal has papered over the fact that our defence still looks pretty ropey at times.

The introduction of Lucas Torreira has brought balance to the midfield and as the players get used to Emery’s football philosophy you’d expect to see improvements at the back as the season goes on.

Mustafi is already optimistic about the changes he’s seen implemented.

“I think that we are very good [when] attacking, and that makes the defensive work a bit easier,” he noted.

“When you attack well, and even when we lose the ball, we press straight away to win the ball back high up the pitch.

“That makes it easier for us to defend because you don’t always have to go back 60 or 70 yards back to win it in your own box.

“We are very good at attacking but with that, we still prepare being in the right position to recover when we lose the ball as quickly as possible.”

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Pedant
Pedant
1 year ago

Fascinating stuff. I was never sure what Bould did under Wenger, no-one talked about him at all. Arsenal legend so good to hear he makes a difference.

And fascinating stats, worse looking but better results!

santori
santori
1 year ago
Reply to  Pedant

This is why stats do not necessarily tell the entire picture. We will need to tighten in defense more. We are still far too vulnerable to crosses directly into defense. The spatial awareness is something Bould and Emery will need to work on. The Van Dyke chance from a deep free kick came in between Mustafi and Bellerin. Communication is an issue but generally also defensive awareness. The other long standing issue is runners into the box. The offside goal for Liverpool (and Mane was actively distracting the keeper), Mustafi perhaps gambled stepping forward to catch Firmino off but the… Read more »

rogerbij
rogerbij
1 year ago
Reply to  santori

I would counter, that why ‘points/results’ don’t tell the whole story, and that list of stats gives more insight and nuance. Our results are not better because we are clearly playing better. The likelihood is that we will return to mean shortly, so we better improve fast! And don’t get me wrong, Im happy with Emery because he is a breath of fresh air. But lets not imagine there has been a revolution either.

GraeB
GraeB
1 year ago
Reply to  Pedant

I still maintain that it was only injury to Bould that stopped us doing the unbeaten season in 1991 so have high regard for his performance as CH. Unfortunately it has taken this long for anyone to comment on his backroom influence – and then it comes from Mustafi.

Surely Bould remembers all the George Graham training for defenders but seems to have done little to resolve our woeful defending for the last 10 years. Previously we put it down to Wenger but now…?

TeeCee
TeeCee
1 year ago
Reply to  Pedant

I reckon that says a lot more about Wenger than about anyone else.

Bring back David Hillier
Bring back David Hillier
1 year ago

I don’t remember Bould doing many sliding tackles. Hopefully he can stop Hank Scorpio doing this, or at very least, do it much better than he does at moment. Mustafi is so frustrating. He was top notch against the scousers, but has been found wanting in too many games.

santori
santori
1 year ago

But he is not the only one with faults.

Monreal has been caught out of position many times too this season. As has Bellerin.

Holding himself was caught out against Liverpool which led to a chance for Mane.

The problem is people tend to look for the faults in Mustafi but that makes them conveniently ignore the rest of his game.

He has also been sending (against Palace) very good balls over the top to release the forwards quicker from deep.

Donald's Trump
Donald's Trump
1 year ago

Hank Scorpio. Why am I only hearing this now?

KongoKim
KongoKim
1 year ago
Reply to  Donald's Trump

Ha, nobody says italy!

Andy Mack
Andy Mack
1 year ago

Bould did plenty of sliding tackles. The difference is that the refs allowed him to clear out the opposition player, without giving away a free kick/ penalty provided he got the ball sometime during the tackle.
The game has changed and the refs are officiating the game much differently now.

Irrational Gunner
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Mack

More reason for Mustafi to stay on his feet.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack
1 year ago

Agreed.
But Bould did plenty of slide tackles because he was allowed to then.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky
1 year ago

For a moment there I thought we weren’t the ones who conceded 14 goals in 11 matches.

Nope
Nope
1 year ago

Mustafi, when Bould was talking last season was your hearing impaired?

TheMerse1985
TheMerse1985
1 year ago
Reply to  Nope

Working (with the greatest of respect as I love the man dearly) for a guy who was known for being uncollaborative and dictatorial yet a proponent of unstructured foootball. This indicates what I’ve heard before – of Emery being much more of a collaborative guy, and with a strong attention to detail that likely lends to faith in Bould if he is of the same ilk.

Tungor_Adams
Tungor_Adams
1 year ago

All good, even better if you listened as well

santori
santori
1 year ago

Just saying again, people tend not to see what is in front of them. Instead they look for faults in certain players but do not understand what is being attempted by the gaffer. Mustafi attacks the ball high up the pitch to put pressure on Liverpool players early before they can turn on the defense. The key is to do it with cover behind and that is where Holding has been effective. The relationship between the two would be like Campbell and Toure. The Ivorian attacked the ball higher up where Sol would sweep up deeper. No surprise therefore that… Read more »

allezkev
allezkev
1 year ago

The only stat I’m focused on is 12 wins and 2 draws

skesh
skesh
1 year ago
Reply to  allezkev

You don’t take in to account the losses?

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter
1 year ago
Reply to  allezkev

Best comment ?

Mwani Coutinho Xavi
1 year ago
Reply to  Lord Bendnter

Thats why you aré called “lord bendtner”
Lol

Santori
Santori
1 year ago

There’s such a level of conceit sometimes… Holding out of r a hero really? When Mustafi’s stats are better. Too many people don’t see what is in front of them and prefer to see what they want.

Like what Mustafi was saying at conference…when we attack we are all attacking players, when we defend we are all defending.

This has been an issue for the longest time. With a functioning midfield now, we have an opportunity to close space better.

KongoKim
KongoKim
1 year ago
Reply to  Santori

just not true mate. a lot of goals came from individual/unforced errors. in some mustafi played a part.

A Different George
A Different George
1 year ago
Reply to  KongoKim

Torreira, who had a great game, made one terrible pass directly to (I think) Salah. But the rest of the defenders made it irrelevant. A single mistake alone rarely leads to a goal, except for keepers, or conceding a penalty–and even there, it is often the end of a chain of smaller errors.

btw
btw
1 year ago
Reply to  Santori

“Too many people don’t see what is in front of them and prefer to see what they want”

Good thing we have Santori to save of from this onslaught of people that just don’t understand football, what would we do without him to correct their false opinions?

Mother
Mother
1 year ago
Reply to  Santori

Fucking hell, how many more posts are you going to make regarding your undying love for Mustafi?

Jack4343
Jack4343
1 year ago

We are worst in every stay except goals scored and goals conceded. Funny, those are the only two stats that directly contribute to wins and losses. The rest of the stats sometimes are better suited for lining bird cages.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner
1 year ago

Maybe we are having more shots in key areas anf giving our opponents more shots, but in worse areas? Does that explain our clinical finishing amd ‘lucky’ defending?

KongoKim
KongoKim
1 year ago
Reply to  Ya gooner

no we have not, laca and auba just contribute something welbz, giroud, adebuywhore, that dutch cunt and even bendtner and park never had. i like welbz and ollie(still) a lot but as i said they offer something different. Since Dennis i can’t think of any striker who scores from angles like laca, period.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner
1 year ago
Reply to  KongoKim

Still doesn’t explain the defensive stats

KongoKim
KongoKim
1 year ago

Im laughing right now with the picture in my head Bould waving with his hands when he gets outplayed.
No seriously, interesting stuff here + i don’t think people do wrong on mustafi criticising him, but he will step up and will be a very very good defender in the following games.

Best Coast Gunner
1 year ago

I’ve seen these stats going around and I think they make complete sense. Wenger wanted his team to get into the best position possible before shooting so to have little to no variance in our goals and Xg under Wenger makes sense. Emery has encouraged his start strikers to have a go and when you have the talent the team does upfront they’re going to score from positions any Xg model doesn’t consider very likely. I’d like to see the splits for home and away under Wenger and this season under Emery because I think that’s where you’re going to… Read more »

asda
asda
1 year ago

The thing is, those positions are considered not likely by any xG model precisely because it’s not likely that you will score from there, and that’s why there is usually correction of goals scored, getting much closer to xG.

There’s quite a bit of misunderstanding around of what xG actually means.

Best Coast Gunner
1 year ago
Reply to  asda

No, I completely understand that but a more skilled individual stands a higher chance of scoring from these statistically low scoring area then does an average one. These are all based on averages from all players in all competitions but there are always going to be outliers and they tend to be the more skilled players, which Arsenal have currently in their group of strikers.

asda
asda
1 year ago

I understand what you are saying and it makes sense, but the answer is no, not really. First, in the long run it’s pretty likely that even the likes of Barcelona 2015/16, and Suarez and Messi individually will score close to their xG, as can be seen by scrolling down here https://understat.com/league/La_liga/2015 (keep in mind that Opta above has probably much more precise data than the one on the page I’ve linked). Second, the inevitable variations tend to be relatively small. For instance, 17/18 city accumulated +14 over xG over the whole season, the Arsenal for this season is currently… Read more »

Hi-brid
Hi-brid
1 year ago

% of successful passes in opposition half under Wenger 17/18 that were in a horseshoe formation around the edge of the box – 95; % of successful passes in the opposition box under Emery 18/19 that actually carry some penetrative threat – considerably higher than last year.

asda
asda
1 year ago
Reply to  Hi-brid

From where is the 95% stat you mention?

Shire Gooner
Shire Gooner
1 year ago
Reply to  asda

Probably the 95% of statistics that are made up…
He does have a point in that the pointless horseshoe possession of late era Wenger was often, well, pointless.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter
1 year ago

Torreira wasn’t playing in the first couple of games, and he was eased in slowly. Emery is a new coach who implemented new ways. And new ways take time. Remember our goalkeeper and defenders playing out from the back in the first couple of games? That was quite scary!
That’s why I don’t care about these Wenger comparison stats. Let’s compare after twenty or twenty five games.

Shire Gooner
Shire Gooner
1 year ago
Reply to  Lord Bendnter

Well said. We need to give Unai at least two transfer windows before we begin to form any real judgement, until then, it’s just a work in progress.

Gunnerdog
Gunnerdog
1 year ago

The stats just look worse, but are a reflection of a more counter-attacking style of attack giving us better chances. We used to camp in the opposition box, creating numerous opportunities in a crowded box. The chances were more numerous but in less space. So the chances/finishing ratio was worse. With counter-attacking, we have fewer attackers in their half, so even though our aggressive defense leaves gaps, we have the numbers running back in defense rushing and harassing the opposition when they make a break. Result: more chances for the opposition but they are rushed and miss more. So it… Read more »