24 Comments

No Quick Fix By Freddie As Interim Coach

In this latest edition of the Uncensored podcast, yours truly and Blackburn George conclude that so much damage has been done to Arsenal over the past 18 months, on and off the field, that there is no quick fix by Freddie as interim head coach. We urge cautious enthusiasm.

Here are some of the issues we discuss:

  • How Raul Sanllehi will affect Freddie’s appointment?
  • What must Freddie do to improve performances?
  • What are his chances of getting the job full-time?

Feel free to give us your feedback in the Comments section of the blog.

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24 comments on “No Quick Fix By Freddie As Interim Coach

  1. Lack of coaching/managerial experience would make it difficult for Freddie to bring back a former playing style, certainly in the short term.

    Mikel has had almost 2 years assisting in such an environment, and as such is probably further along the required path. Like Freddie, he understands the club.

    Hopefully, the club will make a much more calculated decision this time around.

    My personal opinion is that, get the right person and offer a 10 to 15 year contract, constantly changing managers has been proven not to work.

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  2. but Bob Freddie did have six months as assistant at Wolfsburg and was our U23 head coach for a year. When Freddie was let go to Wolfsburg Arsene Wenger said at the time it was on the understanding that he would return to Arsenal in the future as Freddie was destined to be a great coach/manager.

    It will be very interesting to see what Freddie’s first team selection will be, what formation, I expect it to be a 4-2-3-1, as this is what was used by him in the U23’s last season. If it is then comes some very interesting choices, will Freddie go for a number of those U23’s or will he be trying to guarantee a winning start by going for experience. I can’t see any of last seasons U23 defenders getting a game, Ballard is out injured and Medeley has not been starting for the U23’s lately after his injury too. So what are his U23 options in midfield and attack, Willock, Nelson, Saka, John-Jules, Maitland-Niles, I can’t see Oleyanka or Burton coming in to even the squad.
    So is either Nelson or Saka going to get a start ahead of Pepe, is Willock going to start ahead of Ozil, will John-Jules get in ahead of either PEA or Lacazette, will Maitland-Nikles start ahead of Bellerin, or Chambers at Right Back, or ahead of Xhaka, Torreira or Guendouzi in CM. Will Guendouzi start is another big question.
    What about who starts at CB, Holding, Chambers, Sokratis or Mustafi, I think David Luiz is out injured.
    Will Leno keep his place or will Freddie give Martinez his chance.
    Is it going to be PEA or Lacazette up front, will it be both, will PEA be squeezed on to the left wing again.
    New man, so it could be anything. It could be great, it could be a disaster, but its Freddie and we all love Freddie

    Isn’t there something reassuring when so many of us find it so easy to refer to our interim Head Coach by his first name, something we very seldom done for Unai Emery, we did it for Arsene, we did it for George, we did it for Don, we did it for Bertie, but we didn’t find it so easy for Terry, or Bruce or Unai.

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  3. If it’s a disaster, we are looking at a relegation battle.
    But I have confidence in Freddie, and also in the players some of whom reportedly love him, and will hopefully do their best for him to succeed, sadly , in contrast to what to me at least, they were appearing to do for Emery.
    We have a talented squad a bit suspect at defending as a team, but who can do a lot better
    Will be interested to see his formations, Ozil as a 10 , Torriera as a Holding mf, the restoration of Xhaka would be a start. And perhaps a little variation and unpredictability in playing out from the back, ie not trying it every single time.
    Then, there is Pépé, and the kids. Could be exciting if he gets it right.
    Ideal scenario for me, Fred does so well, they just have to consider him, and Raul is shown the door if he refuses to. But that’s a big ask.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Freddie Ljungberg: “It’s a great great honour, I feel this energy inside of me and it’s special. Of course there is sadness with what’s happened with the club, where we are. Then excitement for what we can do in the future.”

    “Sorry to say, not big-headed I hope but I was proud, honoured that they (the board) thought about me for such an important thing, that they trusted me to do that & deliver that. I felt excitement because I feel we have some very very good football players here.”

    Via @SkySportsNews

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Freddie Ljungberg has spoken for the first time after being named as our interim head coach.

    The Invincible led first-team training on Friday and is now preparing to take charge of the side against Norwich at Carrow Road on Sunday afternoon.

    We sat down with Freddie this morning at Arsenal Training Centre – and this is what he said:

    on what it means to him to lead the team…
    It’s a great, great honour. I want to do as well as I can for this fantastic club and that’s what I feel today. I feel excitement and I’ll try to do a good job.

    on his meeting with the players yesterday and what his message was…
    No, I think what I say in the dressing room always stays there. But in general terms, I think we have some great players and of course we’ve had some problems. We haven’t had some results and that’s what we’ve got to try to address. But how we address that, I’ll probably keep to myself.

    on whether he will be animated on the sidelines…
    Yes, of course. I think I get involved in the game. That’s who I am. But at the same time, I try to step back and analyse the games. So it depends a little bit, so it can be a calm man or it can be a not-so-calm man. It depends!

    on who will be assisting him…
    That’s something I will work on a little bit and we’ll let you know when we feel we’re ready.

    on whether he has interest in a more permanent tenure…
    For the moment it’s for the future of the football club. I’m here to help the club as much as I possibly can and try to get a good atmosphere around the club and with the supporters and that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment and then we’ll see.

    on his experience in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg…
    That every manager is different. Different teams, different things and different ways to handle players, exercises and what they think is important and how their plan thinks. So for me, all those things are just learning points and that’s what I’ve been trying to do, in my coaching life at least. To get points here and there and of course Bundesliga has a different football, so then you learn what the culture is from that country and what they think is important. It’s just ‘knowledge in the bank’.

    on what his priorities are and what changes he will make…
    Of course small things will change. I’m not going to do anything radical because I don’t think that’s the best thing to do. I’m not going to just go and smash things up. But I’m quite clear with what I think I want to try. At the same time, we have one training session until the game tomorrow so we have to be intelligent with what you try to change because it needs to stick as well.

    on how he would you describe his approach to the game…
    I’ve been at Arsenal for a long, long, long time, I like entertaining football but of course at the same time you can’t concede goals. That’s a tricky balance to find. For me, happy footballers play the best football. That’s a part I learnt as a player, there is a time to work hard but at the same time we need to enjoy what we’re doing. Often the players we have enjoy playing offensive football which makes them happy.

    on whether his under-23 team scoring 48 goals in 22 games tells us about his style of coaching…
    We looked in 2019 at some stats as well, I remember we kept a clean sheet in five games out of nine, as well, so we tried to defend as well, there are different ways of doing it.

    on whether his experience of playing for the club will help him now…
    There’s a game tomorrow, I hope I have the values of the club, I understand the club, I think from the inside. That gives me a help, 100 per cent. I have been here for 20 years, so it’s very special to me. That’s why I’m saying it’s an honour to do this. When the club asked me to help them of course I said that’s a given, I will try to help them as much as they need. We will see from there.

    on what his message to the Arsenal fans is…
    They are amazing fans, they are. We need them and the players need them. That’s the main thing that I can say to them. We as players and coaching staff will do everything we can to make them happy, just enjoy the game.

    on how confident he is about restoring a positive feeling around the club…
    Of course I am confident, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken it when they asked me to help. If I didn’t feel I could help them I wouldn’t have done it, so of course I am confident in that way. I really feel that this club can all be brought together and put some smiles on to people’s faces again.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Freddie and Per in the dugout! Love it already!
    Of course even legends like those two bring no guarantees of success, and they need time to turn this shit show around, but Whatever happens, I am sure they will work to try and do things the Arsenal way. I think the players will also respond to such figures.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The problems cannot be that of ability, we know these guys can play. So what’s left? Mentality mainly. They play with a swagger, and keep their heads if something goes wrong and they’ll be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Think a big part of the mental and tactical problem was being forced to constantly play out from the back Steww. I was at the Southampton game, the defence constantly did it, Soton just put a couple mega quick wide men to press, and created havoc, yet emery didn’t instruct them to stop doing it from I could see. So predictable.
    Also caused problems for the MF, meant they were dragged back and couldn’t get balls to the forwards. Some of our defenders really not comfortable playing this
    There are of course other issues, but convinced this is one of them

    Liked by 1 person

  9. former Arsenal player Josh DaSilva scored a hattrick for Brentford in their 7-0 win today over Luton

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  10. well not a bad day for AFC so far, 2 teams above us lost, Burnley and Chelsea, with CFC now 8pts ahead of us, so we can close it to 5pts with a win tomorrow. Sadly spurs won to move 2pts above us, and Palace drew level on pts with us
    Man City drew so are now 11pts above us

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  11. wolves and sheffield utd, 2 teams above us play each other tomorrow, so a draw there combined with an AFC win would see us up to 5th from our current 9th place, a defeat could see us go as low as 11th

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  12. Robert Pires on Canal+: “Freddie’s first full training session went very very well.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. seems Josh Kroenke addressed the first team squad today at training

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  14. Pires on whether he has been given a coaching role: ”Right now it is not on the table but don’t worry if anything changes you will be the first to know!” [Canal Plus]

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  15. Following the appointment of Freddie Ljungberg as interim head coach, Josh Kroenke spoke to us on behalf of the board and owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

    He explained the reasons behind the decision to replace Unai Emery and outlined the next steps.

    Here’s a transcript of the interview:

    on how the decision came about…
    Like all of our fans and supporters around the globe, we’ve been concerned about our recent string of performances. We wanted to support Unai and his staff until we decided it was time to make a change and ultimately we came to that decision over the last several weeks as a group between myself, Raul, Vinai and Edu.

    on how difficult the decision was…
    Very difficult. First and foremost Unai is a good man, someone that we all respect very much. His work ethic on a daily basis between him and his staff was fantastic. Ultimately we started to fall short of several goals that we set. We still feel that we can achieve those goals this season, which is why we decided to make the change now.

    on Freddie Ljungberg taking over…
    First and foremost Freddie has Arsenal DNA. Obviously he was a player here for a number of years, the supporters know him very well and he’s worked diligently behind the scenes for the past several years, including the last year and a half or so with Arsenal again. So it’s been great to have him around, he knows the club’s DNA and we feel he is the right person in the moment to take the club forward.

    on his message to Freddie and the players…
    My message to Freddie and the players was let’s get back to basics and most importantly let’s get back to having some fun. I think footballers are at their best when I see smiles on their faces and going out there and winning matches. That’s a winning formula to me.

    on the process now…
    Our process is already underway. It’s going to be led by Raul, Vinai, Edu and Huss here internally. I look forward to getting with them and working closely with them throughout this process.

    on a timescale…
    Because of our confidence in Freddie we’re very fortunate that we’re going to be entering into our process and doing a thorough search and it’s about finding the right candidate, it’s not about finding the first candidate.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

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  16. well if Josh Kroenke sees the head coach having Arsenal DNA as something important then can we expect who ever they appoint full time will be a former Arsenal player, that would cut down the possible list, Freddie of course, Arteta, Vieira, Van Bronckhurst and God forbid Henry.
    or would Arsenal DNA just mean an attack minded coach, maybe the Ajax guy or the like

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  17. just one thing in that interview with Josh, on the sacking of Emery, the Board had no say in it at all, so really is no surprise that their has been rumors of late that Sir Chips and Lord Harris and others considering stepping down. What is the point in them being on the Clubs Board when they have no say what so ever on decision making at the club.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. would add that there is no better time for the figureheads on the board to step down, and for the club to actually replace them with guys who they would allow to have an actual input into the running of the club.

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  19. on his message to Freddie and the players…
    My message to Freddie and the players was let’s get back to basics and most importantly let’s get back to having some fun. I think footballers are at their best when I see smiles on their faces and going out there and winning matches. That’s a winning formula to me.

    oh brother, yep thats how Weng kept it going all those years. HAPPYDAYSTOYTOWN newspaper smiles, lean back clap twice and twist for a while, when your untogether and feeling out of tune start fkin smiling and well av a right old laugh son.
    So all budding managers out there: get back to basic and start smiling , its a winning formula.
    Bit like going over the top on the 1st of July 1916, keep on smiling and you’ll win.Keep smiling through, when the bullets are killing you…

    on Freddie Ljungberg taking over…
    First and foremost Freddie has Arsenal DNA. Obviously he was a player here for a number of years, the supporters know him very well and he’s worked diligently behind the scenes for the past several years, including the last year and a half or so with Arsenal again. So it’s been great to have him around, he knows the club’s DNA and we feel he is the right person in the moment to take the club forward.

    So does that mean the permanent new manager must have AFC dna too? Or will we be breeding with some strange dna that Boris wont approve of?

    on the process now…
    Our process is already underway. It’s going to be led by Raul, Vinai, Edu and Huss here internally. I look forward to getting with them and working closely with them throughout this process.

    EH? Oh you mean long lingering lunches of 25 courses and cigars and discussing agents…without Stan and with Bomber Harris and Goodbye Mr Chips?

    on a timescale…
    Because of our confidence in Freddie we’re very fortunate that we’re going to be entering into our process and doing a thorough search and it’s about finding the right candidate, it’s not about finding the first candidate.

    Really? What a bizarre statement it doesn’t make any sense. Whats Freddoe got to do with the scavenger hunt? And all this about searching, what under stone and in strange foreign lands, under the hills and over the dales and up the garden path. Well it wasnt very through last time was it?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. well Mills having happy smiley players can mean that they will play better and get better results if they are enjoying the type of football they are being asked to play, or allowed to play, both in games and in training.

    the Arsenal DNA one is the big question, does it mean the next guy will be an ex Arsenal player, or just someone who, like when we appointed Emery, thought would play Arsenal type attacking football. If its former AFC player, I really do fear it would mean Thierry Henry getting the job, been rumors for 18 months now that Josh wants Henry as our head man. For me maybe Arteta with Freddie as his assistant would be a good way to go.

    As far as the decision makers go I feel its time Sir Chips, Lord Harris, Ken Friar or anyone else on the Board who KSE don’t trust enough to allow them to have a proper say in the decision making at AFC are let go and KSE appoint the men they will allow to have a say in all matters AFC, to the board of AFC, even if that means the board is the likes of Raul, Edu, Famhy, Vinny and the two Kroenkes, as there is no point what so ever having mere figureheads as members of the board.

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  21. To add to yours Ed imo no player plays with smile, all the most successful players are deadly serious, yes they smile when they score, and maybe they looked more relaxed when they are thrashing a team. Ok maybe some smile, Ive never seen them,or hens teeth, but I have seen hair on my palms but that doesnt mean they dont but this is a man whose just talking abou things he doesnt know. What can we expect from that if they calling policy?
    However letting a team train and play to its full potential, allowing for understanding, stable line-ups, and developing intuition and a combination of individual flair and unity will mean the players potentially can do will, lifting their moral. Maybe that’s what Josh meant as getting back to basics? If it was then say so or say something that addresses the problem in another way. To me theres no formula in football, as every player is different, and endless combinations and potentials. To me formulas are the attitudes of people like Mike Love.
    I dont think footballers are at their best when they have a smile. They are at their best when they are playing as one and two but not one and not two, yet spirt and/or psychological clarity these are other things. I dont even know what he means by Back to basics, sound like some kind of limiting ideology to me or some daft word like “real”. As for lets have some fun, yets lets all dress up in fancy costumes and do a polka at HT.
    Im sure Freddie was grateful for the message from Josh.
    We’ve seen plenty of smiles at the training ground, and a poor product on the pitch. The Soviet union photographed everyone with a smile, and quick skim of Russian history from 1924 through to 1990 will show it was all a façade.

    How many players can really claim to have Arsenal DNA? What does he mean? Why does an Arsenal manager need Arsenal DNA? What so they can get sucked up into the drama of the NLD? What Arsenal DNA did Wenger have? Herb Chapman? Bertie Mee or Billy Wright?Zilch? And what was Terry Neill doing mixing up the Spud and Gun DNA? Herb was the same! Now George Allison who was an AFC DNAer and did well so theres the counter argument.

    Anyone can believe all this Arsenal legend and DNA stuff, but it doesnt stand to reason its just myth making, memes, and false scales. How can anyone say whose a legend when most people haven’t a clue who played in the period 1886 to 1989? There are more legends and DNAers than the GG and Wenger years in my opinion. Many of our greatest players dont have statue as many wouldnt know who they are because for them theres not much before Harry Potter.
    Dont get me wrong, Im not saying having ex players/club staff isnt a good idea, it is. It worked well at Liverpool. Like you I dont want Henry and was totally irritated today seeing some stream on YT from Sky sport where they were going on about Viera coming in. Im also really pleased Freddies coming in ( but similar arguments can be put against Freddie for not haven’t glowing managerial record). But Freddies shown hes a good coach with the under 23s, Arsenal DNA or not, leading and constructing a team is what counts and hes shown in a small way that he has the potential. My question is why has he got our belief and hope at this moment? Seems to me we are being lulled into the notion that a successful Wenger era style of play might be back.
    Emery messed up because he isnt too hot a coach, regardless of AFC DNA. Im sure Piers and that bloke at AFTV must be also perplexed as they wont Poch in( I dont) and he has no Arsenal DNA in him. He has the DNA of the pullet. Als Toy Barn.

    Just wondered how you envision an Arsenal with Raul, Edu, Famhy, Vinny and the two Kroenkes? The Kronks aside why should the others be on the board, even Edu doesnt deserve that. Why arent KSE trusting them. Mr Friar has worked for over 60 years at the place more than any other.

    Anyway, I have no faith in our board or those running the club or their speeches. Its like the old JFK speeches about Ik bin ein Berliner, some people need that stuff. It was always a bit of a joke in Berlin though as a Berliner is a doughnut.
    I was hoping the age of rhetorical patronising of us masses and little folk was over, but it isnt.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. so for today’s first team training session Freddie was joined by Per Mertesacker, and Strength and conditioning coach Sam Wilson, Sport scientist Tom Allen, our head fitness guy Shad Forsythe and goalkeeping coach Sal Bibbo

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  23. well Mills I really don’t have a clue what Arsenal will become under KSE, and my point about having Raul, Viny, Edu, famhy on the board with Stan and josh, is that its clearly these handful of guys that are making all the main decisions off the pitch at Arsenal and isn’t that the role of the Board, so they should be the board and at least fans can be clear that its, as they like to say in troubled times, “The Boards Fault”, Sir Chips, Lord Harris, Ken Friar, all Arsenal supporters, but they have no more power or say than you or I, but they seem to be there to distract fans eyes away from those that Josh has so openly stated make the decisions. The whole refusal to allow David O’leary to be appointed on the board so as they would have a football man to analyse the decisions of Edu, Raul and co, showed that the old boys on the board are clearly only figureheads.

    A figurehead without power is worthless, except to those who actually are the power holders who need someone to hide behind.

    As for all the PR speech, the back to basics, the Arsenal DNA, its all simply that PR, and a nice way to hint Emery was not doing things the right way, without actually saying it. For example Back to Basics and putting a smile on the players faces, could be PR speak for saying Emery flip flopped so much he had players confused and unhappy, and his tactics were too negative as we see Arsenal DNA as being an attack based way of playing, (which is something Ivan Gazidis basically stated was the Arsenal way), in many ways Josh is probably trying to claim that what we would call Wengerball, is Arsenal DNA, but you see they fear making this clear, as it might lead to them being questioned on why Wenger was dumped, or why wasn’t Wenger moved into an off field role to ensure Arsenal DNA continued.

    Having watched much of the U23’s last season under Freddie, I would say that they played something akin to Wengerball, so that suggests that as a coach Freddie has Arsenal DNA, and we must remember that Freddie was coach to our U15’s when Wenger was here, and Wengerball was the sort of football we tried to play at all levels at the club. So maybe that is why so many of us hope Freddie will bring back a form of Wengerball, but it would be called Freddieball, if it goes wrong it might be called Zoeball

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