Wenger has let Bould off the leash, claims former Arsenal striker

Steve Bould Directs Arsenal Warm Up

Niall Quinn thinks Steve Bould has started to improve the Gunners' defence in recent weeks.

Former Arsenal striker Niall Quinn says that Arsene Wenger has let Steve Bould off the leash, according to talkSport.

Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show, the former forward said he believes Bould has finally been given the opportunity to restructure Arsenal’s defence, and that has been the force behind their recent upturn in form.

The Gunners have lost just one of their last six Premier League fixtures and sit fifth in the table, just a point off the Champions League place that is being highly contested this season.

Their last game saw them see off champions Manchester City in an impressive 2-0 victory at the Etihad, which has brought about praise for the side and been labelled one of their most impressive showings of the last few years.

Now Quinn, who played with Bould at Sunderland, claims the assistant manager is the driving force behind the reversal of fortunes and better defensive showings.

“When Steve Bould came to Sunderland he turned our dressing room inside out at the age of 36,” said Quinn.

“He played for two years with us and turned us into a team which finished in seventh in the Premier League table, two years in a row. He established this great defensive art between the young players who hadn’t learnt it before.”

The Arsenal defence has often come in for criticism in recent years, with Bould brought in a few years ago to help solve the problem. Recently, Wenger has admitted to Sky Sports that not signing another centre-back would be too risky, and the club have been linked with a number of targets in January.

Now, Quinn believes Bould can bring about the defensive stability that the club needs to be a Premier League force and challenging for more than just Champions League qualification.

“He can bring that defensive stability Arsenal were always famous for,” added Quinn.

"When you look back on the Arsenal teams over the years they have always been built on the likes of Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, George Graham and David O’Leary.”

“The collective desire [to defend well] has been missing recently. Bould may have just been allowed to say to the players, ‘defending is now an important factor’.”

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