Who the f*ck is Steve Round?

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GOOD MORNING MY DARLINGS ARE WE STILL BUZZING LIKE WE ROLLED INTO WORK AFTER A 5AM FINISH?

That’s how damn hyped I am because I watched a video of Mikel Arteta teaching players how to pass.

Super basic, but I love to see it.

I couldn’t work out if the players were miserable or just focused, either way, who cares, just give us results on the pitch over the next few months.

“Four things: Ball. Teammate. Opponent. Space. That’s all that we’re going to be working on!”

That’s what they were working on at training. He’s clearly picking up where he left off at City, which works for me. The idea that great football can only work if it’s at the most richly assembled club in the world doesn’t rub for me. I think we need to aim high, no reason we can’t replicate the work ethic and strategies of better clubs and push forward. Gladbach are doing things this season and they are completely about the good stylings.

What I liked about the second interview Arteta gave on the website was his focus on being hard to beat, but also, controlling the game by having the ball. That’s where I want to be as a club. The toughest thing he’s going to have to deal with is a defence that look uncoachable.

I don’t believe that, but the evidence is stacked in the naysayer’s corner… which makes the rumour about Saliba being called back all the more tantalizing. The club rate the kid very highly, you’ve obviously read the reports, seen his power, watched him bully and purred at how good he looks. If we’re truly using this next 5 months to shape next season, why the fuck not have Saliba here now? Get used to the pace of England, ready to hit the ground running next season with Rob Holding as his partner.

The other story hitting the airwaves is that Steve Round is picking up the role of assistant. The story is unclear… he is ‘one of’ not ‘the’ so I’m not sure how that works.

I really don’t know a lot about him. A few people are jumping on this as a sign of Arteta being naive, I’m not so sure about that. Below is an interview he did for one of the GPS tracker firms. The interview is 28 minutes, I took the following things from it:

  • He was a trailblazer back in the day, one of the youngest coaches to pass his A licence.
  • He sees himself as an innovator. He was one of the first to work with Prozone. One of the first to embrace true video analysis, cutting clips himself in 1994 on a double VHS. One of the first to work in a modern football structure.
  • He’s very, very qualified. He took a degree in sport science, he loves psychology, he recently took a masters in sporting directorship (Is it too late!)
  • He speaks the language of Arteta. He is all about the high-performance culture. Creating environments that foster hard work, rapid development and results.
  • His view on training is that you have to bring players things that work (you lol, but Emery brought us Xhaka as captain in season 2), otherwise they won’t pay attention to you. One of his examples, when he was at Derby way back when, centred around him building out a player room with robot massage chairs, he’d use that dead time while they were relaxing to show the players clips. I thought that was cool. Arteta keeps on saying his job is to convince, which I assume means he doesn’t want to dictate things the players don’t want to do because it’s not clear. Little tricks like the above seem a smart way to foster engagement with new ideas.
  • He also spoke about the American model (2016 interview) of specialist coaches. Having specialists across defence, midfield and attack. I thought that was interesting, as European sport often borrows from the states in the end. The challenge, football is chaos and benefits from cohesion, so there’s a balance.

It’s a good 28 minutes. What I took from it is he’s highly experienced, he’s a very measured, he needs to be innovating to feel satisfied with his job, and he shares similar values to Arteta. The assistant is there to help the leader realise their vision. He’s not there as a yes man, he’s there as the operations guy that works the message through the groups.

I’m sold.

Right, a Christmas treat coming for you later, a full backs blog from my main man Mike McDonald, but before I go… why didn’t you listen to my podcast yesterday? Do you hate me? Is that fair? No. It’s not. Grow up. Listen to it now. Don’t make me call you a Christmas melt.

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189 Responses to “Who the f*ck is Steve Round?”

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  1. Marko

    Don’t get me started Unai. One of the biggest travesties and dumbest decisions by latter Wenger was signing Xhaka over Kante. What a stupid decision. He’d still be in a job had he made that signing…

  2. Marko

    he is going back in time with Arsene’s way. Thats fine by me.Back on track with Wengerism – Arteta style.

    And now people are turning against Arteta. Thanks alot

  3. Unai

    Possibly Marko although I think by then Wengers issues ran far deeper than the players, I’m not sure he’d have got the best out of him towards the end.

  4. Bamford10

    CG

    “Early days yet- but it seems Arteta is more Arsene than Pep.”

    Not at all. Arteta demands high-energy, high work-rate and high-intensity at all times and on both sides of the ball, and he is hands-on instruction-wise minute to minute, exercise to exercise. That’s Guardiola, not Wenger. Arteta is a micro-manager (in a good sense) just like Pep. He literally tells players how they should pass a ball in rondos (see his much-discussed conversation with Lacazette the other day in training, for example). He wants drones flying over training sessions. Arteta is very, very Pep and very, very little Wenger.

  5. Bamford10

    CG

    “[There has] never been a better judge of player than our Wenger. Too many to mention — from Anelka to George Weah to Cesc to Pires. Wenger was a genius in this aspect.”

    Hmmmmmmm ……

  6. KAY Boss

    Thomas Partey /Kalidou Koulibaly.
    These are the dream players I wish we go out for. With Partey’s release clause, we should be all over that deal. I’m unconvinced with any CB out there. It’s a position that seem to lack quality now in the game with exceptions like VVD/KOULIBALY.
    This thing about possession based players is thrash. I need a proper DM who is defence first before any other luxury addition.
    A proper RB should be targeted. Bellerin isn’t pulling any trees and hasn’t been after his break through season. He’s been average to below average at best since then.

  7. Marc

    Kay

    Er how many minutes has Bellerin played since coming back from an injury that used to be a career ender?

    He might not make it back but to say he hasn’t been pulling up trees – good grief.

  8. Unai

    Marko, I’m grateful for his first 10 years, you know, without the handbrake but not so much for his actions as cult leader.

    Conscious I’m giving CG what he wants now so going to avoid talking about Wenger, time for the club (fans) to step out of his shadow.

  9. Graham62

    Arteta is not “more Arsene than Pep”.

    His five years at Arsenal taught him the don’ts of management whilst the three years under Pep taught about the do’s.

    I would say Arteta will be his own man.

  10. Marko

    Hey look CG wanted the conversation steered towards Wenger I’ll give it to him. Absolutely useless ballbag at the end there and duly, rightfully and long overdue for that sacking. I hope to fuck that Arteta is nothing like him.

  11. Pierre

    All the signs are that Arteta will be his own man and will maybe have a touch of George Graham in his management style in the way he works the players.

    Repetitive drills until it becomes 2nd nature to the players .

    I think with Arteta , positional sense and anticipation is the key.

    Technique and ability on the ball of course is important , but for the first few months he will need to make Arsenal into a solid unit with all players knowing what is to be expected of them.

    He will be fair but ruthless , he knows that this is a massive opportunity to become a legend at Arsenal and will not want any passengers on or off the field.

    I wish him all the best.

  12. Unai

    If Arterta is going to be successful he needs to be his own man.

    He can borrow techniques and ideas from others but must have his own, clear, vision for how he wants football played.

    We need an innovator not a clone of someone else.

  13. CG

    Bam

    “”That’s Guardiola, not Wenger. Arteta is a micro-manager (in a good sense) just like Pep. He literally tells players how they should pass a ball in rondos (see his much-discussed conversation with Lacazette the other day in training, for example).””

    It always worries me if any coach (more so an inexperienced one) is telling a £50 million pound player how to pass the ball.

    I like Arteta. A lot.

    But he does come across a little too school mastery in his coaching. ( a refined emery???)

    the body language on the players -seem like they are bored by it all.

    I would have like Arteta to tell the players – you can have three days off and then come back for 3 games in 6 days.

    Bit like Big Ron would have done.

    I get the felling that mid season- Our players need more managing not more obsessive coaching.

  14. Unai

    “I would have like Arteta to tell the players – you can have three days off and then come back for 3 games in 6 days.”

    Why bother coaching them at all?

  15. TheBayingMob

    Fuck me still talking about a Wenger. He became an irrelevance at Arsenal, he’s shown he’s an irrelevance within world football by taking up a role with one of the most corrupt organizations in the world let alone football. He would have relegated us had he stayed on. Arsene Clough. Let’s move on.

  16. CG

    Unai

    “””Why bother coaching them at all?”””

    The coaching is done pre season

    the managing is done during the season

    Thats why we are 11th by the way,

    No one is managing Arsenal anymore!

  17. CG

    Baying Mob

    “”””He became an irrelevance at Arsenal, he’s shown he’s an irrelevance within world football”””

    Bit like Arsenal since he left- I guess

  18. Marko

    Forget training all together just let them show up on the day of the game and bobs your uncle.

    I would have like Arteta to tell the players – you can have three days off and then come back for 3 games in 6 days.

    Just took the job and you want him to give them 3 days off no training before his first game. That’s genius that. I mean it’s super smart and practical

  19. Ishola70

    No I am not comparing Coquelin to Ndidi or Fernandinho Bamford.

    You are another one that has a complete fixation on a DM baller.

    The last laugh remarks stands regarding Coquelin.

    Coquelin was laughed out of the club and he is now a regular CL player with Valencia.

    Arsenal playing Europa League.

    This is fact even if you did not rate Coquelin.

  20. Marko

    Idrissa Gueye was another one. No doubt that some might have turned their noses up at his potential signing despite him being consistently high up on the successful tackles ball recoveries stats every season. And now he’s at PSG. Reminds me of a convo last summer I had about selling Xhaka with Gambon (and Charles of course) and all they could talk about was replacing the fact that he gets 2,000 passes off every season and how that would need to be replaced. So I get where ishola is coming from.

  21. Ernest Reed

    Yup, good one Pierre. Arteta is his own man and his style is his and his alone. Anyone criticizing him at this point needs to take a big step back and sit down for a while and absorb whats going on.

    As for comments related to his attitude towards the players, they suck big time right now and pay packets aside, they need to go back to basics – so yeah, have a seat again.

    This is Arteta’s team now and things are going to be done his way, like it or not. And for those of you on here who are already criticizing him, head off elsewhere because the Arsenal that you are looking for were a shit bunch of toxic players who have no business being on the pitch. Enough already, the man hasn’t even managed his first game and some of you are already being asses.

  22. habesha gooner

    Sure Xhaka passes alright but how many of those are key passes or start counterattacks? He is slow and he moves the ball slower. Gueye was like kante but a little inferior. Would have wanted him if he wasn’t about to be 30.

  23. Wasi

    If you only want defensive numbers Phillip Billing at Bournemouth is racking them up. Been one of their best players this season. He is a bit like Nzonzi imo but with much more athletecism.

  24. TheBayingMob

    “ Bit like Arsenal since he left- I guess”

    Yup. That’s how far he took us down … for Arsenal there is a road back albeit long. For Arsene there is no road left. He’s now just an obscurity. A relic.

  25. Champagne charlie

    “Reminds me of a convo last summer I had about selling Xhaka with Gambon (and Charles of course) and all they could talk about was replacing the fact that he gets 2,000 passes off every season and how that would need to be replaced. So I get where ishola is coming from.“

    More nonsense from Marko, not shocked.

    The conversation was clear and simple, Gambon and myself said no problem selling Xhaka so long as whoever (or however) replaces him can replace his worth as someone who passes from deep through the pitch – him being the leader at this in the club.

    I know, super en vogue to claim all Xhaka has is a long ping in his game, but that’s where you get discussion of two levels. One, from guys that can appreciate a player for what they are irrespective of like/dislike toward them, and another who cannot remove an ounce of ill feeling in any assessment.

    The type of person for instance that claims Kolasinac utter garbage Uber dross, but here we are Napoli and Roma sniffing. Almost like he’s maybe not suited to a particular style/approach, but is still a good footballer with admirable characteristics.

    So yea, Romford mildly questioning N’didi as a distributor is perfectly reasonable chat, he’s a well-reasoned poster after all.

  26. Bamford10

    Ishola

    “No I am not comparing Coquelin to Ndidi or Fernandinho.”

    So you acknowledge that these players are better than Coquelin was or is?

    “You are another one that has a complete fixation on a DM baller.”

    I don’t really understand what this means. If you mean I think our starting CDM should be better on the ball than Coquelin, should be a better player, a more dominating player, a player more like Fernandinho, Ndidi or Gueye, then yes, I do believe this. But I fail to see what the problem with this view is.

    “The last laugh remarks stands regarding Coquelin. Coquelin was laughed out of the club and he is now a regular CL player with Valencia.”

    Yeah, I’m still not sure what your point is. Kudos to Coquelin for being a regular starter in a CL team. Sincerely. Good on him. But what are you suggesting, exactly? Are you saying, for example, that Coquelin is good enough for the top-four-competitive first-XI Arteta will be trying to build? If so, I think you’ll find that many here still disagree with you, no matter what Coquelin happens to be doing for Valencia. If not, no offense, but who cares? So maybe we should have kept him because he could have been a useful squad player for us? OK, but I fail to see why this is such an important point for you.

    If Coquelin were as good as Fernandinho, Ndidi or Gueye, few here would have said he wasn’t good enough for us. He wasn’t and isn’t, so we did.

  27. KAY Boss

    Distant, why should a team not win a league because of an injury to a player. We didn’t because of lack of depth and lack of better replacement.
    What’s this fixation with DMs being ball players? A DM should be protecting his defenders first before thinking of initiating attack. If he’s able to do both, kudos to him but his primary duty is to be protecting his goal. A DM and a B2B can complement each other. Signing specialists is good for the team than utility players.

  28. TheBayingMob

    “ Wenger was definitely a genius after 2006.”

    A genius? Fuck me …. no one, and I mean no one in football is a genius let alone the senile old cunt fuck, although you have to give it to them on some levels. A bunch of dim witted chavs taking us all for millions every year.