Opinion – No excuses for Freddie Ljungberg today

Freddie Ljungberg is a legend and deserves a chance but he had a very bad day.

There really is no other way of describing Freddie Ljungberg’s first game, it was horrendous.

If Unai Emery or dare I say, Arsene Wenger, had put that team out today they would have been torn to pieces. Now, it was his first game in charge but he knows these players, he was the assistant manager under Emery, he has seen with his own eyes how they have performed all season, he was not new to them.

I can understand that he needs time to implement his ideas and vision but that team selection defied belief, where has he been all season?

Then there were the substitutions. Why did he bring on Saka and not Pepe? If our record signing is not doing it in training or his confidence is shot then why make him a sub?

I love Freddie, I do want him to succeed and I want him to be given a few games to prove his worth but if he gets it wrong then we need to say so.

He does not deserve the benefit of the doubt because he must have known that team he put out was poor.

I actually understand the Mustafi selection, he had earned the recall but alongside Luiz? Come on.

Granit Xhaka had a half-decent game but was given no support and with both Willock and Guendouzi alongside him, that was always going to be the case.

Tierney was on the subs bench but he starts with Kolasinac instead. I struggle to find anyone that agrees with that.

Lacazette was having a bad game, he should have been subbed and Martinelli brought on much earlier.

Freddie got it wrong today and there is nothing to gain by saying it was his first match in charge etc. No, he was the assistant manager under Emery and if he did not know how poor that line up was then he is not ready for management at this level.

Hopefully, he will earn from today and get it right for the next Premier League game. If he is still in charge that is.

Final note, Freddie is a legend to me, I want him to get this right but he had a bad day. There are no excuses for that in my opinion.


  1. Everybody knows better than those appointed to the post. You can’t rightfully say how the changes might have effected the display. But hey, u you know best, you can I guess…

    1. You have done over 4700 comments on here and are you seriously telling me that not once you have given your opinion on team selection or formation or subs and never said it was wrong? Yeah alright.

    2. Arsenal players currently lack confidence and in football its not something you can just pick up. So we realistically can not expect perfection from his first game. There were encouraging igns though we forced our opponent to counter attak and not dominate possesion like in previous games this season.
      I liked the effort from the players today and the movement and organization in part.
      However as u pointed out the subs did not work at all. Saka has pace and skill but he lacks the physical strength right now, so he is a wrong choice to bring on when we needed to break down teams. I feel he will be a good sub in games were we are leading. I don’t feel Pepe is there yet too (I recall his game at Old Trafford) but Martinelli should have come on much earlier while Willock and Chambers should have been subbed off earlier too, they both gave away possession countless times.
      Norcich broke twice from Willock loss of possession and scored both times. This young lads nee to learn from the bench not start.

      By the way i think our deffence will become solid if only we can get an Ndidi in front of them, right now we are using two people to do his job and they are still falling short.

  2. Look, he is a former player, with no coaching experience at this level.
    How can you expect him to do it well?
    We need a proven top manager.

    1. Agreed. He was assistant coach under Emery and, therefore, part of the problem. BOTH should have left. Looking at his line up and subs today, he’s just continuing on with what Emery was doing. So much for new manager syndrome.

      1. QD, the same issues with the lack of a powerfull ball winning DM and substandard CB’s have plagued Arsenal for many seasons. You can only shuffle the cards so many ways.

  3. YEA i think so too he got his selection wrong ,Tierney, socratis and not starting a winger I mean Pepe and on top of dat bringing on saka instead of him but overall we didn’t have an horrendous game today, not up to standard at all but we played better today

    1. If Freddie didn’t like Pepe training, fair point. But bring on Saka rather than Martinelli first?

      First game for Freddie, but if production from the bench was his point, than Martinelli all day long, way way ahead of Saka.

  4. He isn’t an experienced manager so I’m not expecting much from Freddie

    Let’s see how he does in the next match

  5. Without new quality players the Managerial position is an irrelevance .Can you name any Manager on the planet who could convert our back four today into an effective defensive unit?It simply cannot be done.Let’s hope Bellerin, Holding and Tierney are soon fit to play in every league match.What is happening to Mavroponas and AMN who showed real promise last season?

  6. You can’t blame Freddie. Our defense is compiled of sub standard individuals. Mustafi turns away from every shot and they fail stop the attacking team from shooting! The most shambolic defending time and again..

    1. Exactly, GunneRay! Everyone wanted Mustafi gone.. then things became so bad with Sok/Luiz that some people wanted him back! We all know he has a brain fart in him, I’d say most of our defence do… they just alternate with who’s going to have it!
      I think some people were thinking Freddie would come in and turn everyone into Messi or Ronaldo!
      We all know we have some ‘average’ players.. but at least today we attacked more than we have lately..
      His substitutions may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but he’ll learn from this and it’ll probably be different on Thursday.

  7. Unfortunately Freddie can’t win either way if he does well people will say give him the job if not get a proven manager in defensively it’s such a shambles that we need new personnel to change in order to improve that aspect of our game think what we have is beyond trying to coach so may as well start again!!

  8. Ljunberg is a legend, has the Arsenal DNA and knows the players but he is inexperienced and new to the big role though he has a better start compare to Emry, but needs small time to be able pass on his idea of how he wants them to play so let be a bit patient guys.

  9. Freddie isn’t a newcomer to arsenal, he knows the players well. That’s why the lineup and subs were so underwhelming and disappointing. This is not a manager that still wants to get to know his players, we might argue that he’s trying to implement a new system but that would also be false. I saw unai’s diamond out there and playing out from the back, only difference was the managerial change seemed to give the players a morale boost and they played with a little more freedom. He deserves some time fair enough, but today was disappointing on so many different levels

    1. Freddie is a puppet who is being told who to play. I say so because he cannot seriously be his own man and pick Xhaka, Mustafi and Luiz, after watching them week in and week out and in training

  10. Leno

    Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney

    Ozil Ceballos

    Pepe Martineli

    My only regret is that it ain’t gonna happen.

  11. Arsenal should buy Ndidi,he is the player who will sort out our midfield,Zhaka is below average and same for Mustafi,both should be sold in January
    And I give Freddie a few games

  12. Freddie Ljuberg does not deserve any sympathy, he has been the assistant coach therefore must have known the capabilities and level of play of each player, or was he expecting Mustafi to become a world class defender or Xaka to become Ndidi overnight. The players do not even know what they are expected to do when defending , they are always all over the pitch when defending, their markings was horrendous.
    If he continues like this , I will be surprised to see Arsenal in Premiership next season

  13. I agree he has seen the performances over the past weeks and that makes me question why he started the team he did… I get the impression perhaps in training he sees them working and performing well, which then makes me wonder if this is purely a confidence problem with the team? A win against Brighton could maybe kick off a winning run for FL, there were definitely positives in the opening spell it was refreshing to see long diagonals sprayed from midfield

  14. I think Ljungberg didnt have enough time to change things, so he played the team and formation that Emery had already selected. The next few games should give us a little more insight to his thinking.

  15. I think we looked good at times today and then at times was same as usual but give the guy a chance if he tryed something new it will take a few games for the players to get it.

    Id take todays performance over last weeks and watford .

  16. First, let us give Freddie some time.

    I think Sokratis shouldn’t play again, he supposed to be on the bench.
    Pepe should be starting alongside Ozil and our team needs a HEART!!!

  17. Look how Jose changed the whole game with a single early Eriksson substitution ….That is what is expected from a manager. Did we spent 72m for a bench player? Then that amount should have been spent to enhance our defensive worries first. Signed one and loned back.. What a generous board…Whole lot of summer spending was waste or used to fill bench. This is going to be a hell..Balance of Emery philosophy ….

    1. Agree with your assessment, apart from Saliba, who Arsenal would not have signed without agreeing to the loan back. We have to wait until next season to see whether this was “good business”.

  18. I was surprised to see the team selection as well. Kolosinac over Thierny? Mustafi? No Torreira? No Pepe?

    Then I started to wonder is Emery was right. I could not understand why he didn’t play Thierny when he could. Well, Freddie doesn’t either. I could not understand why he didn’t play Torreira as DM. Well, Freddie didn’t either. Pepe? That guy must have been a mistake because why else would you give up on a 70 million player you bought to win more games on the road?

    Perhaps the players we as fans like to see are just not as good as we think.

    But one thing is for sure for me, our recruitment is horrible and this has nothing to do with who is the manager. For a club with limited resources the money we have wasted on Torreira, Thierny, Pepe, Mustafi, Xhaka is painful. These guys either sit on the bench or cost us games when they play. Yesterday neither Mustafi not Xhaka were blameless on the goals we conceded.

    1. Nice comment, Truth 👍 Surely after yesterday, Torreira will play from now on…
      As for Pepe, I would love to see PAL play, but Pepe hasn’t impressed me at all… so really needs to up his game to get a run in the team. Right now, I can’t help but think we wasted that 72m! Might as well have kept Iwobi 😩
      I think we’ll see changes on Thursday, Freddie put out a team he thought would win. Some were better than others, so barring injuries, we’ll see changes (Willock & Chambers!!)
      I agree, some are just bang average!

  19. No matter what the coach does,there will always be a million opinions out there of what he could have done better.Thats the burden that the coaches will always bear.Freddie was given the responsibility on friday.So he had friday and saturday to get the minds of players in the right form to perform away from home and dont forget how awful we have been away from home.I say this is too short a time to judge a man.Atleast for once in a long time i saw arsenal attacking the ball and for me that showed me a different arsenal.Also the quick switch from playing from behind to a long.Under Unai,whenever they failed to penetrate the midfield the would cross sideways or play backwards.Yesterday whenever the failed to penetrate,they would hit the ball over into the final third.

  20. I think the positive energy and slightly better forward playing is a sign that Freddie will turn things about. Realistically you couldn’t expect an overnight fix for weeks of poor performance and negativity. He only had a couple of days. I agree some selections are incorrect but feel that we can judge Freddie in time. Right now let’s try help him take the handbrake off so we can watch some proper arsenal football. That’s about best we can hope for this season. We must support the team. Hopefully the board will invest to revamp the midfield and defence. They need to dig deep

  21. My concern is our defenders allowing opponents to take shots on our goal unchallenged. It happens twice yesterday and both resulted in a goal. I agree totally with Admin that the team selection and substitutions were wrong.

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