Backpage roundup: Gibbs acknowledges Bould’s impact, Wenger criticises heavy spenders, Diaby inspired by van Persie, Koscielny is ‘top class’ and more

Gibbs Acknowledges Bould’s Impact

Kieran Gibbs is completely sure that Arsenal’s newfound defensive solidarity owes everything to the appointment of Steve Bould as the club’s new assistant manager. (Daily Star)

The former centre-half replaced Pat Rice as Wenger’s deputy in the summer and the Gunners backline has transformed itself into an almost impenetrable unit since then.

While some believe that it is too early to give credit to Bould for Arsenal’s significantly improved performances at the back, Gibbs has no doubt that it is the impact of the 49-year-old that is causing all the wonders.

In a recent interview, the Arsenal fullback said: “You look at last season, we conceded too many goals and we knew we had to improve. We just looked at where we were going wrong – and attention to detail comes into it a lot with Steve Bould. He’s very focused on the small things. He played quite recently and we do a lot more stuff by splitting the team into separate training sessions. We are getting a good understanding.”

He further revealed: “Steve was the one who said to the boss to put me in to train with the first team for the first time. Now he’s working with us I want to show him my appreciation for what he’s done and how he helped me. I feel I want to give that back and show him he was right in what he did for me.”

 

City Draw Proves Arsenal’s Title Chances – Wenger

Arsene Wenger has said that Arsenal’s impressive performance in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Etihad Stadium proves that they can contend for the Premiership title this season.

The Gunners were the better of the two sides but they still went into the half-time break trailing 1-0. However, instead of rolling over, they fought back, found the equalising goal through Laurent Koscielny in the second half and could have taken all three points if it wasn’t for Gervinho’s wastefulness.

After the game, when Wenger was asked to comment on his team’s title credentials, he said: “What happened here should strengthen our belief. I hope the game reassured us about our potential in this league. It looks like it will be interesting. We believe it but it’s down to consistency.

We have the potential and the attitude. Can we keep the focus and continue to improve? Time will tell but at the moment I am very happy with our spirit and that is a good basis. We are not the perfect team yet, we have room for improvement. If we focus on that, we have a chance.”

Wenger Admits Gervinho Was Nervous Against City

Arsene Wenger believes Gervinho’s nervousness in front of the goal stopped him from netting the winning goal against Manchester City on Sunday.

The tricky Ivorian had two magnificent chances, one in each half, to get himself on the scoresheet but his poor first touch and his wayward shooting let him down on both the occasions.

Wenger chose not to criticise Gervinho for his lack of composure but said: “He had maybe a good game when a striker misses chances, he couldn’t finish what he created but he was still a danger – he was a bit nervous with his finishing.”

 

Wenger Delighted With ‘Top Class’ Koscielny

Arsene Wenger praised Laurent Koscielny and called him a ‘top class defender’ after the Frenchman’s second half strike earned Arsenal a share of the spoils against Manchester City on Sunday.

In an interview with Sky Sports, the Arsenal boss said: “I have no worries for Koscielny, he is top class defender. We have three top class central defenders and we will rotate them a little bit. It’s very, very difficult to put any hierarchy in there but all of the three are top class.”

 

Diaby Reveals RVP’s Help in Overcoming Injuries

Abou Diaby says that his former teammate Robin van Persie’s valuable advice on how to overcome the mental side of injury setbacks has helped him a great deal in getting his career back on track.

Van Persie was also a very injury-prone player earlier in his career, but he overcame those problems and went on to become one of the best strikers in the world.

Diaby, who at one point was considering retirement, says that he took inspiration from the Dutchman’s incredible transformation and wants to do the same with his career.

The Sunday Mirror have quoted the Frenchman as saying: “Robin [van Persie] helped me last season. We used to talk about my situation and what he had been through, and he would give me some advice. He would tell me to keep going and make sure I completed my treatment. It was ­helpful because he had the same experience as well.

He got over his injuries, kept going and at the end he became one of the best players in the world. It shows me what can be done and it gives me inspiration.”

 

Wenger Criticises Heavy Spenders Again

Arsene Wenger has once again criticised the heavy spending done by some of Europe’s wealthiest clubs and appealed to the game’s governing body to do something meaningful about it.

The Arsenal manager singled out France’s Qatari-backed club Paris Saint-Germain and said that clubs such as these are ruining the game for everyone in the region.

Wenger said: “In the end, football suffers. Look at what happened in the transfer market this summer. PSG are ambitious, they have resources, there you go. When someone [PSG] pays £36 million for a boy of 19 [Lucas Moura] you have to say football has become crazy.

We always say the same thing. Europe, it’s like the Titanic. But we carry on as if nothing matters. More than ever, we need to manage our clubs in a controlled way because otherwise everyone suffers.”

While UEFA has enforced its Financial Fair Play policy, some clubs such as Manchester City have found a loophole in the system. The Premiership champions recently signed a new £400 million per year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways, which is also owned by City’s owners. The deal is widely regarded as a way to bypass UEFA’s rules and Wenger is not happy about it.

If the sponsorship deals are just a way of getting around financial fair play, then it’s not financial fair play,” he added.