There was improvement from Arsenal – But it wasn’t good enough

Things Change Yet Stay The Same by Dan Smith

It should be taken into consideration that Freddie has only had a couple of days to work with the Arsenal players and put a plan together in his new role. The decisions from him and the BFG show that they clearly didn’t agree with every decision Unai Emery was making.

While there was an improvement in our character and spirit, coming back from twice being behind, you have to call a spade a spade and say this wasn’t good enough. The opposition are second from bottom, yet it took Leno’s best performance of the season for us to get a draw.

It felt like in the first half Norwich scored with their only two shots as a result of us backing off. When Auba equalised the second time, instead of pushing on for the winner we seemed to tire.

It’s natural that our flaws are not going to disappear so soon, but the fact is; if the old manager had made some of his choices today gooners would have left Carrow Road angry.

I’m not going to be too critical of those frozen out previously being given a chance. It makes sense to try and take advantage of players who might have a point to prove.

Mustafi can no longer argue about not getting an opportunity. Today was a huge day in his career, with Sokratis finally dropped for his poor form. No coach is going to change the fact that defensively these players are not good enough for this level.

Ljungberg was always going to trust Willock due to their time together in the underage groups. I was more concerned by the substitutes which almost suggested we were happy with a draw. First Torreira came on when it could easily have been an offensive option.

Saka was seen as a better alternative to 72 million Pepe even though there is a lack of evidence he has any end product. Why our record signing didn’t get in the starting XI at all makes you question if something is going on with him behind the scenes? Martinelli was the final sub but only for a few minutes.

So it was not quite the attacking style Freddie had promised and If Unai had made those substitutions gooners wouldn’t be happy.

The difference has to be that Freddie learns from what went wrong, something Emery never did…

´Dan Smith


  1. I think we have to give freddie some breathing space. There is currently alot of rott for freddie to cut away. Remember he was only appointed a couple of days ago. I think next week we will see personal and formation changes.

    Going by his press conference freddie has perhaps told everyone look fight for your place. Hopefully we see players like luiz and xaka who didnt cut the mustard get replaced next game .

  2. Steps:

    1. Freddie and Per need to implement aggressive man marking. Zonal defense doesn’t work, it’s a damning legacy Emery has left us with. We have to get rid of it.

    2. Guendouzi needs some time out. The lad has been overworked in the midfield really.

    3. Torreira must start if Xhaka starts. That’s non negotiable.

    4. I would also bench Laca for either Martinelli or Saka. He isn’t looking quite sharp. Saka and Martinelli have good pace, so can come handy in transitions.

    5. Pepe should start. Like every game. He must play to gain confidence.

    6. Auba and Laca shouldn’t start together. We need just one lethal striker and every other attacking player needs to be good with the ball at their feet. So either Auba or Laca. And Auba or Laca, should always start as CF, not on wing.

    7. Willock needs to work on his energy. He played like he was hungover. That was very unlike him really. Usually he’s very energetic.

    1. Well I’m glad you know our players better than the coaching staff.

      I feel reassured knowing that Freddie and Per have the benefit of your infinite wisdom.

      FFS, you are a fan. If you were any good at coaching, you’d be a coach!

      I get that this is a forum and we all express our opinions, but that’s all it is… your opinion.

      1. Daulet, unfortunately zonal marking at Arsenal pre-dates Emery. I cannot ever understand why Steve Bould went along with it under Arsene Wenger.

      2. Anything constructive to say? Any opinions of yours regarding my opinions? Or do you even care? Why are you even here then? Everybody knows Coaches don’t hang out here. We’re all fans, who like to engage in discussions about our favorite club Arsenal in our own times. Anything less obvious to say than that? Anything regarding the topic maybe?

  3. Obviously Freddie, or whoever takes over, cannot just drop all the big names/reputations because they would quickly lose the dressing happen, but until that does happen/or they are sold/loaned out, nothing will really change.

    Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ozil, need to be dropped permanently. Some may add Sokratis to that list as well, as he has been poor lately, but that’s because he’s been asked to play it out from the back, which he clearly cannot do. I still feel he’s arguably our best defender though, although that isn’t saying much.

    1. Third Man, THE BEST OUT OF NONE(defenders) EH? THATS QUITE A FEAT! After over a decade with no proper defence I have given up hope thet the regim at Arsenal will EVER learn that defence is a vital department of every team. We do not ,in reality, have a defence at all. We have a gifted keeper and a a bunch of clowns disgracing our badge in front of him. I don’t call THAT a defence. Defenders defend, that is why they are known as defenders. I see no outfield defenders at all at Arsenal; only con men falsely calling themselves “defenders”.

  4. Roger’s has a 14milliom release clause let’s go n get him. I think he is very close to our club football philosophy that Wenger installed. He is well known for getting most out of his players as well. Most important he can communicate in English lol! and knows primer league inside out. It should be either him or Arteta if you want to go for young new manager.

    1. I would like to see how Rodgers does when he has to rotate due to playing in Europe.

      – Rodgers finished 7th first season at Liverpool when having to rotate due to EL
      – the next season they were 2nd while not playing in Europe — no need for rotation
      – the next season they were 6th while rotating due to CL
      – the next season they were 10th after 8 games while rotating due to EL – Rodgers sacked

      Now he is doing great at Leicester – again not much rotation due to not playing in Europe

      Do you see a pattern here?

      Leicester seems to be a club just right for his level. I guarantee you they will be mid-table next year if they have to play in Europe midweek and he has to rotate the team due to fatigue.

      Those stats are mighty worrying for a team like Arsenal (and don’t mention the one-team league because that is entirely irrelevant), especially long term.

  5. We don’t have a midfield. Getting rid of Ramsey was the biggest act of self-harm possible. How do we magically change Xhaka,Torreira,and Guendouzi into Ramsey, Cazorla and Wilshire (when he was fit) is the alchemical question. Lead into gold? Not possible. Then that defence? How do you change Socratis and Luiz into athletes? We are in big trouble. We maybe in deeper trouble than we comprehend.

    1. Sean, the failure to replace Gilberto Silva was a bigger mistake. The midfield you named of Ramsay, Cazorla and Wiltshire was often over run and bullied by teams having tall physical midfielders.

      1. True….. But going forward they each could unlock a defence in an instance.. something we sorely lack.

  6. There’s no other way to put it, our fans are morons.

    Freddie will have had only one session with the players, ONE.

    Yet he’s being criticised? FFS.

    You can’t polish a turd and unfortunately, Freddie and the subsequent full-time appointee will have several turds in the squad to work with.

    The fact that #freddieout was even a thing is depressing, despite some maybe using this in sarcasm (because we all know Twitter doesn’t do sarcasm very well).

    I despair of the short tempered, knee-jerk reactions of our so called fans.

    Did these people actually think that everything was going to miraculously be fixed after ONE training session?

    People moaning at Freddie’s team selection (like they know better!) need to get back in their boxes and let the coaching staff do their jobs, this isn’t FIFA or Football Manager. You don’t know what goes on within the club, you don’t know what slight niggles players have etc etc.

    1. True, but the most worrying thing Freddie did, which NO top manager does, was what he did after 75 minutes:

      We played with Auba, Laca, Saka, and Martinelli – basically 2 central plus 2 wide attackers.
      No top manager ever does that anymore because you immediately lose the midfield battle. Every. Single. Time. Unavoidable.

      So what happened? We naturally lost the midfield battle, and they were then closer to victory. I accept other issues, but that was a beginner’s mistake by Freddie, one which doesn’t bode well for the future.

  7. I am worried by the way Liunberg approached his first game as an Arsenal Head Coach. His team selection and late substitutions were shocking. Emery was a specialist in messing up his team selection while Mr. Wenger was famous in making very late substitutions. It seems that Freddie takes the wrong lessons from his predecessors. Arsenal should stop complicating things and hire their new Manager as soon as possible. Gzidis and his team passed through a looong recruitment process, produced over a hundred pages document and ended up with hiring Unay Emrey. But, We have seen how Spurs were reactive and quick in hiring their new Manager. Arsenal needs to take a lesson from their past mistakes and act quickly before united and other big Clubs joined htem in the search of a new Coach. In my opinion, since it is unlikely to get Rogers, they should focus on Pochetino, Naglsman, and Arteta, in that order.

  8. No excuse,the performance was bad,we have Leno to thank,if ljuberg want do well don’t need to please any players, lacazette,shouldn’t have been substituted for long but he completed the full 90minutes,Ozil should have been substituted earlier cos his impact was low,I don’t wanna talk about wilock,mustafi,chambers and the rest average players…

  9. We have got to improve our defence immediately. Socrates looks a better defender when he is asked not to play from the back. For me Holding/Chambers and Socrates should be our starting CB’s. As far as midfield is concerned Torreira should be a definite starter and Guendouzi should be given some rest. I agree Auba and Laca should not be played together and either one should play, which is also a good idea to give Auba some rest. All in all, I think Freddie deserves more time to stem the rot that Emery left. I am confident the Invincible will learn fast and start producing the results. For me, he should remain with us after he delivers the goods. Always loved his passion, commitment and style while he was a player and hope he will transfer the same characteristics to the players.

  10. We just don’t have an option, Freddie is head coach until we find a new one and I hope he steadies the ship until then. To say he had only been with the players for two days is not strictly correct, he has trained with them for the past 3 months.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors