Tag Archives: slack

Steve Bould admits Arsenal fans can feel frustrated

Of course the fans are frustrated! Arsenal No 2 Bould admits complaints are fair

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 24 October 2012

Arsenal assistant manager Steve Bould sympathised with disgruntled fans after Wednesday night's 2-0 Champions League defeat by Schalke at the Emirates Stadium.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay capitalised on slack defending to score in the final 15 minutes in the Gunners' first home defeat in the group stage for nine years.

Angry supporters left in their droves once Afellay had put the result beyond doubt and the few that remained booed at the final whistle.

Victorious: Schalke players celebrate their win

Victorious: Schalke players celebrate their win

With manager Arsene Wenger serving the final game of a three-match touchline ban, it was left to his No 2 Bould to reflect on a highly disappointing evening.

'We've lost at home and of course they're frustrated. We are as well,' Bould said.

'We don't like losing football games, but we have to pick ourselves up and start again.

'We haven't played anything like we can – that was the big disappointment.

'We haven't performed and we lacked confidence, for whatever reason.

'It's a tough competition and Schalke are a good side who beat Dortmund at the weekend.

'They're doing really well and a 0-0 would have delighted us. We looked like we were going to get away with it for a long time.

'We looked jaded – I don't why that is. Since coming off the international break we haven't performed.

'We were very sharp against West Ham but since returning from the internationals we've been jaded.'

Arsenal were restricted to just one shot at goal in the entire match and had to wait until stoppage time for that, with substitute Serge Gnabry producing a late attempt.

But their failings in their own area were more damaging with both goals – just reward for Schalke's second-half dominance – exposing a fragile defence.

'The lack of chances isn't worrying, but it's not what we want or are accustomed to,' Bould said.

'We normally create chances and now we're not, so we need to correct that.

Lacking: Mikel Arteta and Co could not not produce anything

Lacking: Mikel Arteta and Co could not not produce anything

'Their first goal was a poor goal – a great finish, but it wasn't great for us.

'Scoring first will be a major plus for us. We've gone behind in the last five games. To keep coming back is tough. An early first goal would really help.'

Schalke now top Group B, one point above Arsenal with three matches left to play, and Bould promised an improvement against the German club on November 6.

'There are nine points left to play for. Wherever we get those points from it doesn't matter, but I'm sure we'll perform a damn sight better than tonight,' he said.

Bould revealed Theo Walcott will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with QPR due to his bruised lung.

Fair enough: Steve Bould said the fans had a right to be frustrated

Fair enough: Steve Bould said the fans had a right to be frustrated

However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back from a hip problem while Jack Wilshere should be available for selection.

Schalke manager Huub Stevens took no satisfaction from masterminding Arsenal's first group defeat in Europe since Inter Milan prevailed 3-0 in 2003.

'For me it's not important how Arsenal are playing, but how Schalke are playing,' he said.

'Records are not important for me. For me it's important that the team is playing well.

'In the first half we didn't play well. In the second half we played a good game. We deserved to win 2-0.'

Ravi Bopara can"t duck facts

Struggling Ravi just can't duck the facts as curse of No 6 slot strikes again

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UPDATED:

21:12 GMT, 20 July 2012

At some point fate may cut Ravi Bopara a bit of slack. But not quite yet.

Arriving at the crease for his long-delayed return to Test cricket, he walked straight into the kind of perfect storm that is apparently etched into his contract: South Africa had shaken off the first day's rust, Dale Steyn was pawing at the turf, and the ball was singing songs under grey skies.

To his fifth delivery, Bopara narrowly survived Steyn's wild-eyed shout for leg-before. To his sixth, he thought about hooking the world's fastest bowler, changed his mind halfway through the shot, and edged the ball through to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers with the bat resembling a periscope.

Duck for cover: Ravi's wayward stroke saw him return to the hutch without scoring

Duck: Ravi's wayward stroke saw him return to the hutch without scoring

And that was that: in only his third Test innings since he was put out of his Ashes misery in 2009, and his first since last August's fourth Test against India, Bopara was out for a duck – his fifth in 18 knocks at this level.

It came with a hapless predictability, confirming his reputation as a man who might successfully avoid the cracks on the pavement and then trip over a black cat.

England's No 6 slot is the closest thing in this side to a poisoned chalice.

Eoin Morgan was dropped after a horror tour of the UAE, while Samit Patel wasn't even trusted to bat there in Sri Lanka, where Bopara picked up a typically untimely injury. Bopara is far from the default selection.

Steyn on his copybook: Ravi must wonder when his luck will change

Steyn on his copybook: Ravi must wonder when his luck will change

He has been in good form this summer, and looked the part in the recent one – day thrashing of Australia. He even picked up a few cheap wickets.

But he has spent most of his on-off Test career trying to come to terms with the fact that he followed three successive ducks in Sri Lanka in December 2007 with three successive hundreds against West Indies – and then a disaster of an Ashes series in which he managed 105 runs in seven innings from No 3.

If his Test career has been the story of an identity crisis, then at least most people agreed this time the stage was set. That, though, is when Bopara seems to run into trouble.

Ashes to ashes: Bopara endured a torrid time during the 2009 series

Ashes to ashes: Bopara endured a torrid time during the 2009 series