Arsenal assistant Steve Bould tears into 'irresponsible' squad
'You've been letting us down all season' screams Bould after defeat leaves Gunners in tenth spot
ARSENE WENGER may prefer the softly-softly approach in dealing with his disintegrating team, but his assistant Steve Bould evidently comes from the school of tough love. According to the Mirror, the Arsenal No.2 was unable to contain his fury after the latest Emirates embarrassment – a 2-0 defeat to Swansea on Saturday – and "tore into the players" in what the paper adds was a "furious dressing-room inquest".
It's reported that Bould, a no-nonsense defender who made nearly 300 appearances for the Gunners in the 1990s, let rip shortly after the defeat that leaves Arsenal stranded in tenth spot. "You've let us down and you've been letting us down all season," he allegedly screamed at his overpaid and under-performing players. "None of you are taking responsibility."
The Mirror says the dressing-room dressing-down lasted a full 40 minutes as Bould articulated what many fans had been shouting from the stands earlier in the afternoon as Arsenal slumped to a humiliating defeat against the Swans.
Apparently some of the Arsenal squad are feeling a little weary and have told Bould and Wenger that they feel "shattered" by a gruelling fixture programme. The Mirror says summer signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have found the number of matches a culture shock and are beginning to feel the pace.
As a result, Wenger may field an under-strength line-up in the Gunners' final Champions League group match on Tuesday against Olympiacos, although admittedly it's hard to tell these days what constitutes an under-strength line-up at the Emirates. Arsenal are already guaranteed qualification for the last 16 of the competition, although they could still finish top of the group, ahead of Schalke, if results go their way tomorrow.
Wenger is said to be more sympathetic to the players' complaints than Bould, whose values are more Old School than his manager and who endured the same punishing fixture list in his own playing days. The Mirror says he is also pushing Wenger to introduce "more specific coaching sessions and drills" in a desperate bid to turnaround Arsenal's awful season.
And there was more bad news for the Gunners on Sunday as the draw was made for the third round of the FA Cup. Arsenal must face Swansea once more, only this time they'll have to head to Wales on the weekend of January 5/6. The FA Cup was the last silverware Arsenal won, way back in 2005, when they had a side containing the likes of Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Cesc Fabregas.
How long ago those days must seem to the Arsenal faithful.